Money Shouldn’t Be a Taboo Subject with Kids

A Taboo That's Meant to Be Broken

One of the most important lessons you teach your kids about money is how to talk about it. Money shouldn't be a taboo subject.

You should start when the Tooth Fairy first visits. Receiving that cash will raise all sorts of questions for and by your child.

And the conversations should never end. You'll still find things to talk about even after they've become adults raising families of their own.

One of my favorite writers in the personal finance field, New York Times columnist Ron Lieber, shared one dad's tactic. Realizing that kids are visual learners, he went to the bank and brought home his monthly pay, in a bag, in dollar bills. He gathered the kids around the kitchen table, opened the bag and placed the piles of cash on the table. Wide-eyed, the kids watched as he counted out piles for the mortgage, auto, food, utilities and so on.

Would your kids be surprised at how much you spend on them? Not just for clothes and toys, but on the household’s total lifestyle?

Kids are involved with money even at very young ages. They help Mom choose cereal. They get allowances. They want to buy things. They see some friends living extravagantly, and others going hungry. Your kids will anguish over which college to attend and how to pay for it.

It's nonsense to think you should avoid the topic of money. Don't treat it like a taboo. Teach your kids the value of money, and how their decisions will impact their lives.