I hear a lot of reasons from parents on what’s preventing them from having money conversations with their kids.
It’s easy to talk to your kids about their favorite toys, shows, and video games. However, it’s never a walk in the park to talk to them about money.
Sure, teaching them how money works while you’re at the grocery store is easy. It is teaching the difficult concepts of budgeting, loans, interests, and all those other terms that’s complicated.
No matter the excuse, the point is, money habits start at home and it starts with you. Don’t let these 5 excuses sway you from finding the time to incorporate good financial basics with your kids.
Reason 1: “The Kids Might Find It Difficult to Understand”
Most parents think their children will find the concept of money complicated. However, if your children are already playing mobile games on a smartphone or tablet, it’s highly likely that they will grasp the idea quicker than you might expect.
Most mobile games require players to use a number of resources to “buy” certain assets in the game. How many times have your kids given you a headache because they stumbled upon “premium” paid features that required real money?
In short, they do learn about monetary value and budgeting through these passive activities. You can even use these games as an analogy to real-world spending and budgeting.
Reason 2: “They’ll Learn This at School Anyway”
In some states, they teach financial literacy in high school. However, in the majority of states, it is not taught at all.
Even you as a parent know that we never had financial literacy education in elementary school, middle school, or high school. It just wasn’t part of the curriculum.
You can call your child’s school and ask if their curriculum includes financial education. Many colleges offer financial literacy courses as well. You can choose to enroll your children in these courses.
But why spend more money when you can teach them yourself?
Reason 3: “I Don’t Think I’m an Expert on the Subject”
I’m pretty sure you’ve read a financial expert’s guide on budgeting or investments or a similar topic. If you can remember, they usually start with their personal experiences.
In fact, most of them tell the story of their biggest financial blunders. Then, they talk about the solutions they developed to manage the situation. Most of the time, you’d realize that the solutions they formulated were simple but useful.
Likewise, you can use stories of your own failures, struggles, and recovery as examples. Unless it’s a financial topic that is too specific or academic, you don’t have to be an expert to teach your kids about money.
Reason 4: “I’m Not Sure When and Where to Start”
Often, parents think they aren’t qualified to teach their children about money because they themselves didn’t have the “money talk” with their own parents.
As mentioned, personal experience is the best way to teach children. However, each child learns in different ways depending on their age. Children aged 3–5 can grasp the idea of monetary value. As they get older, giving them money-related responsibilities, such as picking out items on a grocery list, is a good exercise.
You can help them learn more about budgeting by playing board games that involve money or resources. Giving them a period-set allowance gives them the opportunity to learn monthly budgeting for their personal needs and wants.
The process of financial learning does not need to be too academic. If your children understand the basic concepts, they will easily figure out financial discipline and organization too.
Reason 5: “We Might Give Them the Wrong Idea”
There is no right or wrong idea about money unless you’re promoting overspending and other practices that can get you in debt. In fact, you’re passively educating your kids if they see you not following your budget to the letter or spending more than you can earn.
If you can manage money well, the practices you’re imparting are likely the right ones. In showing your children that you can confidently manage your finances and their needs, they will learn to manage their finances in the same way.
Keeping your budget afloat is enough to teach children about the right way to manage money. Do not doubt yourself.
Truth be told, parents who intend to educate their children on finance only need to shove doubt aside. While there will be challenges in helping children understand financial concepts and guiding them on the right path, they will grasp your ideas with continuous education.
To efficiently teach them about finance, use concepts, logic, and themes that are familiar to them. Making lessons fun through games and other creative methods is the best way to teach children about money.
Don’t be afraid to talk to your kids about money. The lessons they learn from making $20 mistakes as children will help them avoid making $20,000 mistakes as adults. Investing early in their knowledge definitely goes a long way.