Thursday, 2 February 2012 12:40
There are a lot of important conversations that you have as a family that sets the stage for expectations, goals, and values that you want to live by. One of those conversations should be about money, but how do you tackle the subject?
What’s the hold up?
In a culture that says it’s impolite to talk about money (how much you have, how much you make, and how much you spend), it feels unnatural to discuss finances. We are also so busy with day-to-day activities that it is hard to carve out time to chat about anything that takes more than 5 minutes to discuss.
Even if your family is just made up of you and your spouse whether newly married, no kids, or empty nesters, you should take the time to discuss your finances on a regular basis. If you have children, include them in the discussion no matter what age and gear the conversation toward their age group.
What’s there to say?
While you don’t need to disclose everything and list out your budget line-by-line, it’s a good idea to discuss in general terms where you stand financially. Use the time to gauge how much your children know about money. You may think they are learning about it in school, but they may not be. You will also want to talk about your financial values including charity and, if applicable, tithing.
What do you want to accomplish?
First, you want to establish an open door policy and become comfortable talking about money; this will help children understand that there are limits to what you can afford to spend on their “wants.” Have each member of the family set goals and hold each other accountable.
Determine if there needs to be more one-on-one discussions with any member of the family, for example, a teenager who is opening their first checking account will need more personal instruction. Make it a point to discuss on a regular basis, even if it is just once per year. Use every opportunity to teach more, like when someone asks for something when you don’t have the money.
Click here for additional resources on teaching kids about money.