Talking about Finances with your Kids

Finances are a tricky conversation for our kids, though it is something that should be discussed so it doesn’t feel taboo. I remember growing up and my parents always going to the other room to discuss money and me wondering what was happening. There was no concept of needing to work to earn money to pay for things I wanted. I thought mom and dad just wrote out a check and that was that and now kids think we put our debit card in the machine and money magically appears.

Kids don’t need to know all the ins and out of finances, but the basics would help them wrap their heads around money. If a child earns five dollars and they want to purchase something worth six, they need to understand there isn’t enough money and they need to do more chores to be able to afford the item. I often made a mistake when my daughter wanted something that was more than what she had, and I usually just covered the difference. While my heart was in the right place, I was doing her a disservice in that she would think if she wanted something beyond her means, that she would be bailed out. I now have her plan what she wants and make sure she has enough money to spend. When kids begin to learn adding and subtracting, this would be a good time to teach them not only addition and subtraction but how to manage their money.

When I was in school, many years ago, we weren’t taught how to balance a checkbook and how to budget so we don’t go into debt. Credit card companies and loan servicers make it very easy to fall into debt, especially for students. Kids are starting off after college in more debt than they can manage. Putting a savings and spending plan in place can help avoid these pitfalls.

Talking about money and how it is used, saved and worked with will take away the mystery. It’s not a scary conversation if you make it a natural part of talking to your kids. If you are uncomfortable, there are many resources available at Saddleback or with well-known financial specialists like Dave Ramsey.

We are stewards of God’s money, so we need to be respectful of what He has given us. It is a great lesson for our kids so there is a healthy respect of what God has provided to us. Looking forward to the financial life lessons ahead for you and your kids together.