Money is a touchy subject. Throw some family members into the mix, and there's a good chance most Americans will avoid the topic entirely. In some families, it's off-limits. But those conversations can help kids become financially healthy adults. Here are a few ways you can talk about money with your family.
Keep Your Family "In the Loop"
It's easier to talk about almost anything other than family finances. Thankfully, you don't have to share every aspect of the overall budget, but it is good to get everyone involved. Ongoing topics include:
- Monthly expenses. Share what you spend on water, food, electricity, streaming services, and more. Ask if anyone can suggest ways of saving money.
- Household income. Your family benefits from your hard work. Showing them what you earn can help them better understand the family budget. It can also help form positive, lifelong opinions about money and happiness.
- Saving and Spending. Involve everyone in saving for the next family vacation or big expense. Hold monthly meetings to show everyone how much has been saved and how long it will take to reach the goal. This can help kids of all ages understand the importance of financial planning.
- Good and Bad Debt. Share how much you spend every month on the mortgage, car, and credit cards. Talk about interest rates and how the money you borrowed has a cost. Healthy conversations about debt can help kids make good credit decisions in the future.
Instead of saying that the family cannot afford something, help them understand the value of money. Using phrases like, "That's not how we choose to spend family money," or "What if we save for that together," makes them part of the conversation. It can also help them feel less anxious about money matters.
Focus the Conversation
Depending on the age of your kids, try to talk about money in terms they will understand. Some age-appropriate topics and activities can also help.
- Young kids. Basics include identifying coins and paper currency, pretend shopping at home, letting them help comparison shop at the grocery store, and starting their own savings account.
- Tweens. Help them open a checking account and learn how to use a debit card. If they have an allowance, teach them about budgeting. Include spending, saving, giving, and investing in the plan.
- Teens. Building credit is essential as teens get closer to life after high school. Help them open and manage their own credit card. Teach them the importance of paying off that card every month. Additionally, talk to them about retirement planning, paying bills, and doing their taxes.
Celebrate the Wins and Talk about the Losses
Don't brush financial losses under the rug. Talk them over. If you lost money buying a used car or didn't plan for an expense, share what happened. The conversation will help them with future financial decisions.
Take a Quick Online Course
Having proactive, honest conversations about money with your family can help reduce stress and improve their financial future. This Cent$ible Start online course can help make it happen, including how to talk to specific family members, how to keep things constructive, and how to be a positive influence.
Connect with One Nevada
We offer advice and planning tools to help you and your family build financial confidence. That includes the BALANCE financial fitness program; Keeptrack® which helps you track spending, set financial goals, and stay on budget; as well as online courses from Cent$ibleStart that help you, and them, live financially fearless.