Tuesday, June 7, 2011

What's stopping you from talking to your kids about money?

You don't know where to start.
Sure you do. While watching the NHL playoff game last night my daughter and I talked about how the Vancouver Canuck's horrific loss translates into huge financial gains for the owners, players and collateral businesses. This morning on our way to school, we talked about our summer budget. There is an opportunity for my daughter to go to a horseback riding camp but I explained that the $150 required to pay for it would have to come out of our Europe vacation budget. She got it. We can't afford both.

You are embarrassed because your finances are mess.
Chances are that if your finances are a mess, your kids already know it. They eavesdrop on our conversations and see the lines of worry on our faces. They know when we are stuck in our heads and floundering in a sea of negative thoughts. They know because they see that while we are in the room with them, we really aren't all there at all. Is hiding the mess really better than talking about it and modeling recovery? I don't think so.

You think that money is the root of all evil.
Think about your tongue. Do you use it to encourage and build up those around you? Or do you natter, criticize and tear down? Your tongue isn't inherently evil, neither is money. What matters is how you use it.

You assume they are learning about money in school.
Don't assume. Ontario is the only province in Canada that has made financial education a mandatory part of the curriculum. That's just getting underway in September and will include grades 4 to 12. So if you're in Ontario you can breathe a bit easier. As for the rest of us, we have to do the teaching at home if we want our kids to be financially literate.

You think that kids should figure it out for themselves, like you did.
I had to figure out the basics of personal finance on my own, but that's not how I want to parent. So about a year ago, I decided to begin debt-proofing my daughter by making her aware of the decision-making and self-control aspects of finance. I hope this awareness will help prevent her from developing habits that could lead to financial self-harm down the road. It seems to be paying off. After our conversation this morning about our summer vacation budget, she turned to me and said that maybe we shouldn't spend the $150 at all. "We could save it, Mom," she said.

Copyright 2011. Laura Thomas. All Rights Reserved.
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