Parents, Stop Making Money a Taboo Subject

September 23, 2014

by Michelle Perry Higgins

Start Shopping for Long-Term-Care Insurance at 45I believe the dumbest financial mistake parents make is failing to talk about finances with their children.

Unfortunately, personal finance is not taught, or taught well, in our public-school systems. I am shocked by the number of students that start college not understanding how to balance a checkbook, pay their credit-card bills, and get online to view their savings. They have no idea how to set and stick to a budget. Money should not be a taboo subject. I often hear parents in stores say, “No, we can’t buy that.” But the conversation ends there. I urge parents to take the conversation a step further and say, “No, we can’t buy today because it doesn’t fit into our budget.” You can follow up in private with a discussion about how a budget works and why it is important.

Many children under 10 years old may be able to understand the concept of a budget. Children over 10 years old can start to learn about savings, investing, debt, and other planning items. Tell them about the financial mistakes you have made or the lessons you have learned. The more you talk about your experiences, the more comfortable your children will become in asking questions about their own finances.