Finances can be very private, but that doesn’t mean they should be. Talk openly about money with and around your children. Let them see you paying your monthly bills, budgeting, and saving. This will help them learn how adults manage money.
Start a Conversation
- Why do you think it’s important to keep track of money you earn and spend?
- When you are a grown-up or living independently, what are some expenses you might have?
- If you want something, but you can’t afford it yet, what do you do?
- Why is it important to know the difference between needs and wants?
Do an Activity
For older children and teens:
- Help your child create a budget for a short- or long-term financial goal. This could be the newest pair of sneakers, an event with their friends, or college. Have them research how much this goal will cost and then work with them to plan out a budget so they can get there. Talk about how they can earn and save the money they’ll need. Write the plan down! This greatly increases the likelihood of the goal being accomplished.
- Involve your child in the day-to-day financial activities, like paying bills or depositing and withdrawing money from the credit union.
For younger children:
- While shopping or in the checkout line, help your child sort the items in the cart into needs and wants. Talk about what makes each one a need or a want.
Good day-to-day money management, like budgeting, is how people keep on track with their financial goals. It supports emergency savings, vacations, home-buying, and retirement. It is one of the most important financial skills you can teach your child and one that you can practice together every day.
It’s completely normal to find talking about money intimidating or uncomfortable, but you don’t need to know all the answers to start your child off on the right foot. Simple conversations lay the groundwork for open communication and lifelong learning.