So… my kids have always heard me talk about money. While grocery shopping, I can usually be found talking out loud about prices & quantities to the girls. If we are out for the day, and I am asked to buy just one more treat, we start conversing over what I have already spent so far. If they get pushy with their endless ‘wants’, we’re having a conversation over how I work hard for my money. Therefore, I get to choose what I spend it on, which may not always add up to what they want. Bottom line is we’re talking about money in a relaxed way, sliding it into our daily routine without the little monsters even knowing!
I think it is so important to teach our kids about money from the get go. What use to be a taboo conversation in households, is now necessary in today’s society. With the world changing, for better or worse depending on your perspective, we need to arm our children with all the tools they need to succeed. Money, personal finances, and the emotions linked to money are all required in their future years.
When my first daughter was born (Peyton), the first thing I did was open an RESP. I knew I wanted to save for her education, even before I knew what I could afford to tuck away each month. In my mind, this little one was brand new and I knew our household finances would change, so I figured why not make the RESP a part of the planned budget from the get go. So, I set the RESP up, with an automatic withdrawal amount I knew I wouldn’t miss, and away it went.
As Peyton got into the toddler years, her auntie bought her an adorable piggy bank for Christmas. This became her first stepping-stones into ‘money talk’. We would throw spare change in it around the house, or holiday money etc., and chat about how she was “saving” her own money to spend on herself and she loved watching it fill. We continued this for about a year, and she was very proud of herself when we rolled all her ‘coins’ to exchange for bills. As she got older, it gave me the opportunity to talk about the value of money. By allowing her to have her own money, she now gets choices in what she wants to buy and she has to decipher just how bad she wants it. She knows mommy & daddy do not buy toys etc. unless it is a special occasion, and if she really wants something, she needs to use her own money to do so. Now do not get me wrong, I do still spoil my kids, however, they don’t always expect me to say yes.
Peyton is now six, and I love to watch her mind work when dealing with her own money. We have since opened her own bank account in which she can make deposits into. She now receives a weekly allowance of $5.00 to keep her room straight, along with a few other chores to help with around the house and she is currently saving up for a scooter.
A couple weekends ago, we went to a park with her cousins and everyone was spending grading money. Peyton knew mama wasn’t buying anything and she also knew if she spent her money, she would have to wait longer to purchase her scooter. She was very open talking about the debate going on in her head with everyone, and decided to refrain from spending money in order to get the scooter faster. When everything was said in done, papa did end up sneaking her a little something, however, at this point it was more a reward for working out the pros and cons in her own way.
Now, I am not saying every kid needs a piggy bank, allowance, etc. but I am totally saying everyone needs to be vocal about money with their kids. Peyton is constantly asking me now if I can help her get into school so she can get a good job to buy a house, a car etc, as she grasps the concept that money is something we work for, and realizes these are larger purchases most of us need at some point in our lives. It also has opened up the opportunity to talk about education, relationships, and life choices. I have literally a zillion olive branches coming off this topic now with her, and love that she feels comfortable speaking her mind about all of it. It goes from asking me if I can help her get a house to finding a good husband lol!
It doesn’t matter how you chose to bring money talk into your household as long as you do so in a positive manor. Kids are literal sponges and it is our responsibility to fill them up. So, make it fun, start it early, and let them lead the way!