The birds and the bills: having the money talk with your kids
Teaching your child good money habits can be an important part of their childhood. The knowledge and values your child develops will stay with them long after they’ve entered adulthood. As a parent, you play an important role in guiding their ability to grasp basic financial concepts, helping them understand core money values like distinguishing between needs and wants, and developing confidence in handling risk and reward. But most importantly, start teaching these lessons early on.
Money is a part of everyday life, and your family routines provide good opportunities to start a conversation about money. Here are some ideas:
- Let them play with coins and bills – this can help teach them about the different denominations.
- Go shopping together – have your child compare prices for similar products and choose the best deal.
- Talk about work – teach your child about the relationship between work and money.
Check out Money as you grow for a timeline for sharing specific financial ideas with kids as young as 3 and all the way up to those 18 and older.
As your child gets older
As your child starts to have their own money, whether through gifts, an allowance or a job, watch how they use it and make money a topic for regular conversations.
- Help them use their money – if they get an allowance or gift money, have them divide it into amounts to spend, save and shareShare A piece of ownership in a company. A share does not give you direct control over the company’s daily operations. But it does let you get a share of profits if the company pays dividends.+ read full definition (for example, give to charity). Help them understand the difference between wants and needs.
- Put responsibilities in their hands – Give them a sum of money and have them manage it to buy groceries for lunch for a week.
- Use a budgetBudget A monthly or yearly estimated plan for spending and saving. You work it out based on your income and expenses.+ read full definition – help them build their own budget. As an example, show them your budget and how it works.
Giving your child the right information at the right time and in the right tone can go a long way to helping them make good money decisions throughout their lives. There are a wide range of activities you can use to teach your child about money as they get older and resources that can support you along the way.
3 key points
- Start teaching your child early on
- Make money lessons fun and engaging
- Teach by example