Whether you like it or not, your children are already having the “money conversation”. The question is, would you like to be a part of it or not?
You can often tell the kind of relationship a parent has with his child based on the types of conversations they choose to have.
Toddlers often run to their parents to talk about their imaginary friend, ask for a new toy, or describe their best friend at school. Teenagers usually avoid their parents, forcing the latter to walk over and bring up awkward but essential topics such as puberty, sex, and values. Before long, your child comes of age, packs his bags, and moves out to make his own way into the world. It’s usually at this point where the parent wonders if there was anything else that he could’ve mentioned or taught to his child. And, among these topics, money is usually among the ones left off the table.
There’s a tendency to oversimplify what it takes to become financially stable, or even successful. Just like how romance novels and Disney movies oversimplify love and relationships, financial success is often believed to be a natural result of hard work and dedication. While both of these qualities are more than enough to allow you to get by, simply embodying these two characteristics is usually not enough to make you truly successful. On the other hand, complementing these two with proper planning and sound advice will get you further.
How then should parents start the money conversation with their kids? In today’s world of iPads and social media, striking a discussion about a topic as dry as finances can seem near impossible. But, as unlikely as it sounds, your children may already be getting ideas on how to handle their money from the least credible sources possible. Songs, television shows, and social media all collectively glorify the Hollywood lifestyle of living fast and large without shedding any light on the amount of work and planning it would take for an average person to achieve such a lifestyle. What this shows is the fact that your children are already having the money conversation, albeit with the wrong people, whether you do anything about it or not.
Fortunately, its never too late to start turning things around when it comes to educating your children about money. And, while having “The Talk” with your kids in person could be seen as the best way of having this conversation, there are also several reasons why this could not work for you. It could be that some parents are far too busy to have this sort of discussion. Other parents could lack the confidence or knowledge to educate their kids about money properly. Whatever the case may be, we understand that not everyone is in a position to help their kids when it comes to their finances.
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