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Spotlight: Talking to Your Kids About Money Isn’t ‘Kid’s Stuff’

Having money conversations with your kids is important. Teach them money management strategies at a young age and they'll be better equipped for the future.
171011 NCU: TalkingToYourKids

Tell me if this story sounds familiar to you parents out there — my family was finishing up with dinner. As the kids and I were carting the dirty dishes to the sink (my wife did the cooking that night, so she got off dish duty), my 12-year-old son excitedly told me that the new iPhone was about to drop. He paused for a moment, putting on that big, bright smile of his and concluded by asking me what were the chances that he could get one?

I couldn't help but laugh at that, though my son failed to see the humour in any of it. But the way he posed his request made me think about how important it is to get kids to understand not only the importance of money, but how to manage it and how hard it is to earn it. “Spending four figures on the latest smartphone isn’t all that smart,” I explained to him. “Not when we have mortgage payments, groceries, insurance, car payments, his hockey and his sisters ski season to pay for…the list goes on and on.”

Now don’t get me wrong. Inundating your kids with all this information probably won’t be effective, and it also isn’t fair. There will be plenty of time for them to get serious about their bottom lines. However, getting your kids to recognize what goes into funding your household is vital. And the earlier you start, the more they’ll appreciate budgeting and saving for the future.

Using my son as an example once again, I make a point to sit down with him several times a year while I go through the monthly bills, showing him how much we spend, and on what. And while he’s got a better insight into how much money it costs for us to live, that still didn't stop him from asking for a new iPhone. Kids, right?

But seriously, having money conversations with your kids is important. I strongly recommend sitting them down now and again when you or your significant other is paying the monthly bills just like I do with my son and his younger sister. Or, show the kids the weekly grocery bill, and get them familiar with how much it costs to go to a movie, fill up the tank, eat out. You get the point.

Considering the younger generations’ affinity for watching videos, you might want to hop online and check out some related topics like remaining debt-free, the pros and cons of credit cards and the importance of saving. It’s a good place to start to get them to appreciate the finer aspects managing their money.


About the Author

Geoff Phillips has been helping Northerner’s reach their financial goals for over 20 years. With offices located across Northern Ontario, he currently leads a team that provides a member-focused approach to developing customized financial strategies. Tax efficient income and legacy protection with a focus on risk management allow members to pursue their goals.

Discussion Question

How do you get your kids involved in the finances in your household?

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