Have you had the money talk with your kids yet? This is a good time to start the conversation.
Money is an important topic to address because, naturally, kids learn their personal financial values from their parents. As a parent, you are a primary influencer over their attitudes and behavior when it comes to money. So, the earlier you start talking to your kids about money, the more influence you can have on their future financial habits. Especially in these uncertain times, it’s important to be transparent in your conversations with young people about money and matters related to saving, bills, budgeting, planning and investments.
Getting past hesitations
However, talking about money and finances with kids may be easier said than done as there are some common stumbling blocks to getting started. For some people, talking about money may feel as uncomfortable as talking about the “birds and the bees.” Some may think you need to be a financial expert to give advice. Others are embarrassed about financial mistakes they’ve made in the past. Some just don’t know how to engage young people in a money conversation.
Point here is, if you want your children to have good financial habits in the future, you can’t afford to not talk to them about money now. By sharing your financial values, approach to money and lessons learned throughout the years, you’re passing along a wealth of information, so to speak, that can help them build the practical know-how they need toward building financially successful future. Getting beyond misconceptions to get these conversations started with your kids or grandkids. It’s not as daunting as you may think; take it one conversation at a time.
Four conversation starters you can use
1. “Saving money has allowed me to …
2. “If I could go back in time, I would tell my younger self …
3. “The biggest money lesson I learned from my family was …
4. “When I’m deciding whether to buy something or save money, I …
Keeping kids engaged in the conversation
Of course, you can adjust any of these conversation starters to best fit the age and lifestyle of your family members. Think about ways you can make these “teachable money moments” age-appropriate, engaging, and a regular part of your family’s routine (for example, turn Monday family dinners into “Money Mondays” where you plan talk about a single topic).
Planning a set time to talk about money in smaller, “snackable” bites can help make your conversations less overwhelming for kids. They may end up being something your family looks forward to each week.
In time, having consistent money conversations sets a solid foundation for a more open, comfortable, ongoing dialog of valuable financial lessons for a lifetime, from elementary school, to college, all the way through career and retirement planning.
Another good thing about sharing your wisdom
There’s an additional benefit that comes with teaching your children or grandchildren about finances. Otherwise known as the “protégé effect,” it’s a concept that has been around for thousands of years. It was the Roman philosopher Seneca who said, “While we teach, we learn.” So, keep in mind, as you’re sharing your financial wisdom with your loved ones, you may just learn something yourself. It’s never too late to learn.
Moreover, it’s never too late to plan your financial future. And as we so often say here at Reiner Financial Group, “planning makes it possible.” If you’d like a professional perspective with messages tailored to your family, please reach out to me. I welcome the opportunity to help you and the young people in your life get these important conversations started.