Talking about Money with Your Kids
Talking about money with your kids can be an overwhelming or frightening task. Especially if you don’t feel qualified to answer their questions or if you are still trying to figure out things for yourself! As part of our focus on youth-centric content during the month of April, we have put together a list of ideas and strategies for tackling “The Money Talk” with your kids.
Maximize on Teachable Moments
Weave money lessons into day-to-day life. When bills come in the mail, let your kids look at them. Walk them through the decisions you make at the grocery store—explain why you might buy items on sale or spend more for foods that are organic or allergen friendly. Explain why you are doing research before making a big purchase. Helping them see how you have to make financial decisions every day will help them start to recognize these moments without any prompting (and prepare them to make these kinds of decisions themselves).
Lead by Example
A study by the University of Cambridge found that a person’s money habits are formed by the time they’re 7 years old. That doesn’t mean it’s too late for your older kids to learn! But it is an important reminder to set a healthy example for your kids, starting at a young age, and they’ll be much more likely to follow it as they get older. They are watching the ways you spend, save, and share your money.
Make learning about money a family affair! If your kids ask you a question that you don’t know the answer to, take the time to look it up together. This helps show them that it is okay to not have all the answers AND help them learn reliable sources to turn to when looking for a money question solution. (Like the MFCU blog…just sayin’)
Budget and Save for Things Together
Whether it’s a family vacation or Christmas gifts, set a goal and figure out how to work toward it together. If the family needs X number of dollars by a certain date, what is something each family member can do to help reach the goal? For younger kids, this may mean going without a smaller toy so there is more spending money on a trip. For an older child, it may mean saving some of their own allowance money to put toward an activity on vacation that they’ve pick for everyone to do.
As kids get older, getting their own checking and savings account can be a great learning tool. Members First offers debit cards to qualifying members 13 and older to help teach them the responsibility of using their money wisely. Having to put money away into a savings account isn’t always a glamorous thing, but can prove very helpful when saving for something like a car, laptop, or college. It also provides a great opportunity to sit down with your child and help them make their own budget. Encourage them to use our financial calculators to predict how much money they need to be putting away and what they can afford to go out and spend with their friends on a night out.
Talk about money openly and honestly
The easiest way to avoid “The Money Talk” is to talk openly about money with your kids from a young age. It won’t take long for these kinds of conversations to become a part of your everyday vocabulary. And the more these honest conversations are a part of your kids’ everyday lives, the more likely they are to retain the information and be able to implement it as they start to make their own financial decisions.
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