Tax season is upon us. I know for many of you this season can bring anxiety, especially right now. Many Americans did not make as much money in 2020 as years prior due to layoffs, businesses being closed, and kids being at home. But just because money may be a stressor right now, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t talk to your kids about money.
Money is often a topic we get wrong with our kids. We don’t know how to talk to them about it, at least not in the right way. So many kids end up in college or in jobs after high school with little know-how on how to save and manage their money. College debt is higher than ever right now, but kids have no clue how to pay it off.
Fortunately, you can start instilling good money habits in your child right now. Kids learn about money from what they observe in their parents, whether you’re talking about money with them or not. Because of this, it’s important to both talk to your kids about money and model good money habits.
Here are a few tips for how you can navigate the money conversation with your child in a way that will leave her feeling equipped to handle, manage, save and spend her own money one day.
Talk about it, but don’t complain about it.
The first rule about talking to your kids about money is simply that: talk to them about money. When parents keep money a secret or don’t bring it up around their kids, it confuses them. They know money is important, but if their parents never talk to them about why it’s important, how to manage it, and how to spend it, they may think understanding money isn’t important. Then, when their money doesn’t simply manage itself one day, they will feel even more confused.
On the other hand, if you talk about money too much around your kids, this could cause them anxiety. If money is tight and you’re constantly talking about what you can and can’t afford, or you’re arguing about it with your spouse, your child will feel pressure and fear when it comes to money. She could develop an anxious attitude toward it and take on a feeling of responsibility—the family’s money—that isn’t hers.
Talk about money with your child in a reasonable and healthy way, and save the stressful conversations for after bedtime.