By Karen Richardson, FPSC Level 1™
Kids 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.”
This 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.