do your kids know about your money issues?

>> Wednesday, January 21, 2009

It never ceases to amaze me how perceptive kids are.  Many kids know their family’s biggest secrets.  Unfortunately they aren’t old enough to understand that it’s not something to tell the neighbors about.  My kid just described my daily meditation as medicating.  I'm sure his teacher will love to know his mom "medicates".  I can hear the rumors now. 

One of the most private family matters-money is something kids are naturally interested in at an early age.  They see how shiny coins are and are told not to rip up paper currency because it’s worth something.  They get piggy banks for their birthdays.  They see parents buy things with cash.  Many kids get allowances. 

To teach children about money we show them how to save money and donate to charity.  Maybe we even discuss investments.  We also work on budgets and financial planning, i.e. saving up for something they really want.

And how many times have you told your child that something is too expensive? This is how kids learn the relative value of money. 

All of these are great ways to teach kids about money.  However, in doing this, our kids can readily pick up on money problems that are going on at home.  Even if you never directly link things together.  For example, can’t sell house=two mortgages=using college fund=worry about future.   A child would even be able to link this to a vacation the family won’t be taking.  In fact, my kid did just that the other night at dinner.  He wanted to know if we sold the other house, could we go to the water park hotel.

Hey, it almost broke my heart.  But then I thought, this is a teachable moment that he may remember for the rest of his life.  I’ll be saying, remember the time we couldn’t afford to go on the water park vacation?  This is actually a good thing.

It's been a good thing for me,too.  I really think it's been good for me to have to live meagerly.  I have learned what is really important to me and had to figure out how to pay for it on one income and with the two mortgages.  I am making plans (maybe you could call it dreaming with this economy) to continue to live poor once the house is sold and everyone is working.  We'll be able to save up for some really fun things.

And my kids will live and learn about money and saving.    May I never have to bail them out when they are older; of course I'll have the savings to do so if I must. 


Sheila@Simple Indulgences January 22, 2009 at 5:13 PM  

I just typed a comment and blogger ate it..!
I'm too challenged to remember what I said, but I agree. Children can never learn too early about the value of money..

Maggie Madison January 22, 2009 at 6:32 PM make me laugh. Maybe one day my kids will buy blogger and find your comment for you! LOL

Coachdad January 23, 2009 at 12:46 AM  

Yes, Yes and Yes...I just wrote a post about money and kids a week ago. Good job!

MudIsland Mike January 23, 2009 at 3:01 AM  

Saving money is something I need to learn - ah, in London it's almost impossible!

Have a good weekend!

Maggie Madison January 24, 2009 at 7:33 AM  

@mudisland mike. Thanks for visiting and following!
It's pretty much near impossible here, too. But just think of what wonderful people we are for being poor. :D

Maggie Madison January 24, 2009 at 7:34 AM  

@coachdad I think there is a special place in heaven for those of us who try to teach kids about money when we are broke. Thanks for all your comments!