When I became a parent, there was so much I was looking forward to teaching my daughters, including how to use their money wisely. This may seem odd to some of you. Money lessons aren't typically listed as a top priority in many child-rearing magazines or books. But I wish it was. Every single person handles money, and their ability to make good decisions with their money affects their financial well-being.
The good news is more people are starting to embrace the need for financial literacy, partly because of their own money mistakes. They realize what a difference learning how to handle money as a child would have made. So many young adults leave home ready to conquer the world, but their lack of money knowledge hampers their long-term financial success. Too often they don't even realize it until much later, and some spend years fixing their money mistakes.
One fear that holds parents back from talking to kids about money is their own past mistakes. I get it. It's not easy to admit our mistakes, but I strongly encourage you to not let your money skeletons prevent you from having these important conversations with your children. Keep them simple and positive, and it will be a conversation you won't regret.
Look for Teachable Moments to Share Money Mistakes
Money lessons don't need to be formal lectures or sit-down conversations. I love finding teachable moments to use as a springboard for these discussions. For example, if one of your money mistakes was playing "keep up" or comparing yourself to everyone else, then look for those moments when your kids do the same.
The girls had a playdate with a friend who happens to live in one of the most beautiful homes in our area. After we left, we talked about how much we loved their home and I could sense some disappointment that our perfectly fine home didn't quite measure up any longer. I wanted to nip this in the bud immediately because I didn't want them to grow up to chase after homes they couldn't afford to impress (or keep up) with others.
I told the girls, "Their home is so beautiful. It was so nice of them to invite us over and share their home with us. I love our home too, because it's the perfect fit for us. We wanted a home where we could start a family and still be able to do the things we love, like traveling to fun places with you. Their home is perfect for them, just as ours is perfect for us. Don't you agree?"
Of course, they both agreed and my youngest offered to live in a tent if that meant we could travel more. :) While my husband and I didn't actually make a money mistake in this situation, it could have turned into one for my daughters if I ignored their growing "keep up" urges. As a Certified Financial Planner, I have seen the financial aftermath of people who get hooked on playing "keep up" and it isn't pretty. It's a game I don't want my daughters to play. Instead I want them to focus on creating the life they want for themselves, just like their Mom and Dad did.
Success Tip: You'll notice that I didn't pass judgement on whether or not their friend's home was a smart financial purchase. I have no idea if it was. My goal is to teach my daughters to determine what means the most to them, so their goals can guide their decisions. Judging how others choose to use their money — good or bad — brings us right back to comparing ourselves to others. I say put your energy and focus on making the best money decisions for yourself.
Making Money Conversations Fun and Easy
Financial literacy is my passion and it is easy for me to talk to my girls about money, but I know it's a struggle for some parents. One easy and fun way to help you start these important conversations and shape how your kids think about money is through my children's picture books.
I'm pleased to offer Tackling Our Debt readers an exclusive coupon code TOUR3114 for $3.00 off my new book, The Lemonade Stand.
About the Author: Shannon Ryan is a Certified Financial Planner and a Mom on a mission to help busy parents teach their children simple, value-based principles that guide their money decisions and support their long-term financial well-being.
The Lemonade Stand - iPad Mini Giveaway
July 14 - 31, 2014
Sponsored by: The Heavy Purse
Co-hosted by: Are Ya Gonna Eat That, Broke Millennial, Budget and The Beach, Budget Blonde, Budgeting for More, Busy Mom Budgets, Cash Cow Couple, Cents and Sensibility, Club Thrifty Color Me Frugal, Debt Debs, Debt Roundup, Disease Called Debt, Eat Laugh Purr, Enemy of Debt, Eyes on the Dollar, Femme Frugality, Financially Blonde, Frugal Rules, Living Richly Cheaply, Luke 1428, Making Sense of Cents, Money Saving Dude, Monster Piggy Bank, Not Now Mom's Busy, Reach Financial Independence, Shoeaholic No More, Tackling Our Debt, The Broke and Beautiful Life, The Finance Girl, The Frugal Farmer, The Random Path, Thrifty Dad, Young Adult Money
We're Giving Away an iPad Mini to One Lucky Reader!
Help us celebrate the release of The Lemonade Stand and join Shannon in her mission to increase financial literacy in both children and adults.
"Everyone handles money. Unfortunately, not everyone does it with confidence. Money has long been a taboo topic in many homes, which makes it even harder for parents to know where to start or what to teach. So I created a series of children books to help parents ease into these important conversations. Financial literacy is one of the most loving gifts you can give your children, and I encourage you to make money conversations a priority in your home."
The giveaway runs from July 14-31, 2014 and is open worldwide.*
*A winner located outside of the United States will receive a cash equivalent prize via PayPal.
Disclosure: Tackling Our Debt was not compensated to host this giveaway, and is not responsible for prize fulfillment.