Did you know that kids start forming financial habits from the age of 3, and by 7-years-old their money attitudes and habits are set?
Yep, no joke. That's what the research has found.
I don’t know about you, but when I first saw that research, I felt worried. My thoughts started running wild and I noticed my inner little voice freaking out, saying things like:
What are my kids learning about money right now?
Are they picking up money stuff from us and others?
If so, is it good stuff or bad stuff?
Are we doing the right things?
What are the right things to do when it comes to money?
I don’t want them inheriting my negative money beliefs… I don’t want to stuff my kids up!
I’m sure if I shared these inner thoughts with someone at the time, they would have reassured me that it was a very normal parental response. No parent wants to screw up their kid(s), so of course thoughts like that will show up.
In situations like this, as parents and carers, do we do something about these concerns, or not? Two common ways we could respond are to:
A) Avoid broaching the topic.
Quietly try to alter our behaviour around money, and hope the kids only pick up the ‘good stuff’ we’re role modelling (and fingers crossed not the bad stuff!) Or
B) Face it head on.
Call it all out, get responsible for our own relationship with money, and have open conversations about money matters in our homes (regardless of whether or not it feels comfortable or easy to do so).
While I was nervous and unsure, I ended up taking option two, and we started having open and honest money chats as a family.
Did I know exactly what I was doing at the time? Not really.
But I figured it was just like every other parenting challenge we’ve faced when we haven’t known what to do…
We’ll give some things a try and figure it out as we go.
Over the years of trial and error (and my fair share of freak out moments), when it comes to money conversations in our home, I’m happy to report that we’re now in a sweet spot.
Money is not taboo here and we talk about it as a family candidly, with ease, and regularly.
It’s now an everyday conversation that we no longer identify as separate, significant, or hard. The topic of money is now just another thing we talk about - like going to the park or figuring out what we want to eat for lunch.
"I don’t believe there is a ‘right way’ to talk to kids about money. I believe there’s just talking - freely and openly, with the intention of letting kids in the loop - so they can start to feel capable and confident about money."
If we grownups can bring ourselves to share with kids our personal experiences with money - what we’ve found works and doesn’t work - I believe we make talking about money easy and safe for them to talk about as well. We can create a safe space for them to be curious - to explore, ask questions, discover and learn more about a topic that traditionally has been hush-hush. When we share openly (and in age-appropriately ways), we invite our kids to foster their own financial awareness. And over time, they’ll acquire money attitudes, behaviours, knowledge, and skills that will build their financial resilience and help them create financial wellbeing - where they can have money confidence, security, and peace.
As their parents and caregivers, we get to make the conscious decision to start their financial education journey sooner rather than later (and not leave it to chance, leaving them to figure it out on their own).
We get to instil important money lessons, effective money habits, and share helpful tools with them that will empower them, now and into their adult lives.
That’s why it’s important that we talk to kids about money. In fact, we need to!
Being proactive and making sure they’re taking in money lessons that will serve them (rather than hinder them), outweigh any discomfort we may feel about talking about it. And the good news is, we can learn how to talk to them about money (YAY!).
Even better, it’s never too late to start talking about it… So don’t stress if your kids are older than 7-years-old - you haven’t ‘missed the boat’ - there’s still plenty of time, and you can start money conversations today.
Here are three things we do in our home to get money conversations going:
1. We ask the kids questions about money and invite them to ask us money questions too.
Questions offer opportunities for them to explore things they haven’t thought about before, and they allow them to get curious about money. Prompts and money questions are a great way to introduce new money concepts - like how to save money, spend it, give, invest, manage it, or what debt is, to name a few. It’s also a chance to share different points of view, and get a window into how your kids think about money too.
2. We keep money conversations casual and light - weaving them into everyday conversations as much as we can. The more frequently we speak about it, the more freedom they have to grapple with it, question, discover, learn and grow.
3. We keep it real and are open about times when we’ve made mistakes with money.
Again, keeping it light and matter of fact, if we’ve experienced money mishaps or blunders, we’ll share that with the kids too (without drama or emotions, and of course in an age appropriate way). The intention of sharing our money mistakes isn’t to burden or worry them, but rather to show them that it’s okay to make mistakes. Mistakes are one of the ways that we learn and grow.
By sharing openly with them, they get to learn from our mistakes, avoid making them in the future themselves, and they learn that we are a safe space that they can turn to when they make mistakes too. Because if we can be vulnerable and share our mistakes with them, they’re safe to do the same as well.
You may have sensed this already, but in case you haven’t…
I am super passionate about this topic - the importance of talking to kids about money. That’s why I’ve created a guide for parents on how to do it. It’s got a really creative name too. I’ve called this guide: “How to Talk to Kids About Money: A Simple Guide to Kickstart Money Conversations at Home and Feel Confident.” Yep, not a whole heap of creativity in that title LOL - it’s pretty straightforward and to the point. Which is exactly what the guide itself is like too. As parents in 2023, we’re all super busy and pulled in many different directions. That’s why I wanted to create an easy to digest, quick and simple guide that you can sink your teeth into and apply to your life in conversations with your kids straight away.
I also want you to feel confident and good about the money conversations you’re having with your kids too - free from overwhelm or stress. That’s why the guide includes 32 scripts, prompts, questions and activities that cut to the chase - I’ve done all the heavy lifting for you. All you need to do is read it and then speak it… kickstarting money conversations in your home with ease and confidence. If you’d like to learn more about this guide, click the button below to head straight there:
I love having these kinds of money conversations with our kids, and I'm confident that with this guide, you will too. So head on over and grab a copy of it today!
It’s time to ditch the money taboo and transform the conversations we have with our kids about money. I know you’re going to rock this!
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