Money and stress go hand in hand. Many of us are uncomfortable talking about money, in general, and, in particular, with our families. In short, money is a touchy subject.
But not being able to talk about money can lead to big problems, especially in families with children. We develop our attitudes and beliefs about money in childhood. Talking often about money, and modeling good money management habits, is one way to set your children up for a future of financial success.
Most of us appreciate the importance of discussing money matters. All of us agree it’s important to talk to kids about the need to be careful with money. Yet we don’t do much to, actually, help our children become financially literate. We leave that to life and later.
Fact of the matter is, individuals must start planning and saving for retirement decades in advance. But planning is not an activity that’s easy to grasp or communicate to people, especially to family members who may not be financially savvy.
The good thing is, with a little planning, you can talk to your children and the rest of the family about money in healthy, helpful ways.
For one, do include the entire family in financial discussions. You may want to avoid the word ‘budget,’ since it makes people think about cutting back. Instead, sit down together to develop a family spending plan.
A simple way to develop a spending plan is to focus on what expenses are important to your family. Doing this will help you naturally find ways to cut back on items you care less about.
Then, consider making a collage or bulletin board to represent your family’s financial goals. A daily reminder of the vacation you’re saving for or the house you’d like to buy helps the family keep big-picture goals from getting lost in the day-to-day shuffle.
When you decide to save for something as a family do it in a visible way; such as in a big jar, so everyone can see the savings grow and grasp the concept of a how to build a corpus.
Parents often find themselves saying, “We can’t afford it.” But that can send a confusing message to kids. Some might worry that their family doesn’t have enough money for necessities. But often, they know you’re not being completely honest.
Instead, try saying, something like “That’s not how we choose to spend our money.” or “We can’t buy it now, but we can talk about how we can save for it.” This helps kids think about what they value and learn the value of patience – both extremely important tools for turning savings into wealth.
Finally, if you’d like help managing financial stress and your family’s financial behaviors, consider talking to an expert. Some investment advisers do provide financial education and help to add meaning to the finances for binding the family together.
(Inspired by APA)