Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Communicating with our children about money

I am determined that my husband and I will communicate well with our own children about money, partly because my own parents did not do this.

I started considering this before the wake-up call about our own finances, partly because my son (age 7) is completely obsessed with business and money (and Star Wars, of course).   My daughter (age 5) is completely uninterested in money except in play, but she will learn.

One thing we do, is just make sure to talk openly about the fact that although we might want lots of things, we don't always buy them. This is because we are being careful with our money and want to make sure we spend it on the most important things.  I think it is important to talk about the feelings of wanting something and yet deciding not to have it. We acknowledge that this is hard for everyone and is not something that goes away.

I also got a few books about money for the kids to read.


Show Me the Money by Alvin Hall. My son loves it.  It not only covers some personal finance questions but also has lots of interesting chapters on economics, business, and currencies.  It is colourful and engaging,, and dips into lots of areas.  He will probably get more out of it when he is a little older, but we chat about it together sometimes and I help explain difficult concepts to him.

The Everything Kids Money Book by J.D. Brette McWhorter Sember.  He's enjoyed this too although I haven't spent much time looking at it with him yet as it is a newer purchase.

It's Not What You've Got by Dr Wayne M. Dyer.  This is a little flaky in some ways, and the rhyming is awful and often doesn't scan, but it raises the emotional and social side of money in a way that the other books don't.  I want my children to keep money matters in perspective, to realise that money is not the most important thing in the world, and to recognise that other people are less fortunate than we are.

This conversation is not over. There are a lot of life-skills around money that have to be taught over a number of years, changing as the child grows.  But this is a good start.

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