TALKING TO YOUR KIDS ABOUT MONEY ISN'T 'KID'S STUFF'

Tell me if this story sounds familiar to you parents out there — my family was finishing up dinner. As the kids and I were carting the dirty dishes to the sink my 12-year-old son excitedly told me that the new iPhone was about to be launched. He paused for a moment, putting on that big, bright smile of his and concluded by asking me what were the chances that he could get one?

I couldn’t help but laugh at that, though my son failed to see the humour in any of it. But the way he posed his request made me think about how important it is to get kids to understand not only the importance of money, but how to manage it and how hard it is to earn it. “Spending four figures on the latest smartphone isn’t all that smart,” I explained to him. “Not when we have mortgage payments, groceries, insurance, car payments, his hockey and his sister’s ski season to pay for…the list goes on and on.”

Now don’t get me wrong. Inundating your kids with all this information probably won’t be effective, and it also isn’t fair. There will be plenty of time for them to get serious about their finances. However, getting your kids to recognize what goes into funding your household is vital. And the earlier you start, the more they’ll appreciate budgeting and saving for the future.

Using my son as an example once again, I make a point to sit down with him several times a year while I go through the monthly bills, showing him how much we spend, and on what. And while he’s got a better insight into how much money it costs for us to live, that still didn’t stop him from asking for a new iPhone.

But seriously, having money conversations with your kids is important. It is strongly recommend that you sit them down now and again when you  are paying the monthly bills just like I do with my son and his younger sister. Or, show the kids the weekly grocery bill, and get them familiar with how much it costs to go to a movie, fill up the tank, eat out. You get the point.

Considering the younger generation’s affinity for watching videos, you might want to go online and check out some related topics like remaining debt-free, the pros and cons of credit cards and the importance of saving. It’s a good place to start to get them to appreciate the finer aspects managing their money.