Have you had the talk?

Posted on: April 8, 2015

By Karen Richardson, FPSC Level 1™

Family Saving Money In PiggybankKids are surrounded by sexy advertising everyday. And although you think you are being discreet, they see all the plastic cards in your wallet; credit cards, debit cards, even loyalty cards. You know it’s just a matter of time before they get curious and ask: “Where does money come from?”

You’ll want to mumble something vague about the bank, but you can’t avoid the subject forever. Do you want your kids learning about interest from a department store credit card? Do you want their future compromised because they created debt too young?

You need to have the talk.

Ok, so I may have made the “money talk” sound like the sometimes awkward, “birds and the bees” talk, but that’s because talking to our kids about money can be awkward, and parents sometimes feel ill-equipped to give good advice.

Three years ago, The Canadian Foundation for Economic Education (CFEE), with the support of BMO Financial Group, designated the third Wednesday in April as “Talk With Our Kids About Money Day.”

In a video press release CFEE president Gary Rabbior says, “The world of money is becoming quite complicated, and it’s pretty challenging for many young people. They are going to need help as they face their financial decisions and responsibilities in the future.”

kids and moneyThis year “Talk With Our Kids About Money Day” falls on April 15th, and grade 7 teachers across the country are being encouraged to teach a lesson that day, in their subject area, that relates to money. The media has also been asked to participate by doing interviews and producing stories to support the initiative. But the biggest role of all really falls to us as parents, as we have the opportunity to speak directly to our kids, in a personal, direct way.

I often tell parents who are unsure of where to start, to begin with the language and tone they use when talking about money. This is something you can do whether you have toddlers or teens. If your children hear you stressing about money, or if your talk around money tends to be negative, such as, “No, we can’t afford that,” as opposed to “I can see why you would like that, but we have other priorities right now, like saving for a family vacation,” then they are more likely to develop negative feelings around money instead of seeing it as a tool that supports their goals.

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Category(s): Kids and Money, Money Coaching
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2 Responses to Have you had the talk?

  1. Kim Reynolds says:

    My daughter is 18, we talked about money when she was little in regard to saving for things that she wanted, when she started her first job we talked about saving for school, needs and wants etc.. so I kind of thought we were done, lol, but recently, she told me she worries about handling “real” money as an adult, she already wonders when she should start an RRSP, she asked what a TFSA was, and how do people manage to buy a house and all the stuff needed to fill it… I don’t think those things were on my mind at 18, I think I just stumbled around learning through mistakes. I’m glad that I’ll be able to help my daughter avoid some of them, my parents never talked about money with me.

  2. Heather Kirkpatrick says:

    Since attending your workshop last year about teaching kids about money, I have spoken with my 7-year-old about money. Actually, she brings up the topic now and then. When she was 6, she wanted to save up for a lawnmower (?!), as she thought that she would need one for when she got her own house someday. (She likes to plan ahead…I did convince her that she would have enough money when she was older to buy one and that she could save for more immediate things.) It is interesting to hear what is going on inside her head. She handles her money using the GISS principle that you mentioned (Giving, Investing, Saving, Spending). At first we were giving money based on jobs completed, which backfired when she did not want to do the jobs. Now we are giving a small allowance, which has been terrific, as she diligently makes sure to do her daily jobs. I am amazed at the initiative that she is showing at doing small tasks that are her responsibility. When we first mentioned the idea of allowance, she said incredulously, “You mean I get money for doing ABSOLUTELY NOTHING? Ok.” Hmm, perhaps we should add more jobs into her salaried position…

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