Talking to Kids about Money

by Stacy Francis, CFP®, CDFA

During a dinner party last weekend, a woman told me her son had taken her by surprise by asking “are we rich?” She said she was dumbfounded, and as she had no idea how to respond, she mumbled, “no.” Her son got extremely anxious, and she spent the rest of the evening trying to comfort him. Below is some advice, so that the rest of you can be prepared in case your son or daughter . . . pops the question.

If you do have a good amount of money, tell your child that you have enough to be comfortable. If possible, avoid going into sums and too much detail – most children won’t grasp them anyway. They just want to know that you are OK.

If, however, your child insists and starts asking for numbers, tell him or her that you are doing better than most. This should still his or her curiosity.

If, on the other hand, you are not doing so well, the situation gets a little trickier. You don’t want to worry your child, but at the same time you don’t want to lie. Tell him or her that you are doing alright, and hopefully will do even better in the future.

As a general rule, stay as close to the truth as possible and avoid details.

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