Updated: Aug 3, 2020
Slowly, but surely, my circle of friends is trading Saturdays at our local hangout for Saturdays at Mommy and Me yoga. The time for adulting has arrived. Several weeks ago, I met my best friend at our favorite coffee shop for our bi-monthly cheat breakfast: crusty, buttery croissants.
Over a steaming mug of java, I posed the question, what do you think is the appropriate age to begin discussing money with your kids? As a new mom, perhaps she had an interesting perspective. She shrugged. “Truthfully, I haven’t given it much thought.”
What do you think is the appropriate age to begin discussing money with your kids?
I mulled over the thought as I enjoyed the flaky treat. I doubted many parents had given it much thought. Maybe that’s the issue. According to bankrate.com, the average American holds over $90,000 in personal consumer debt, and 78 percent of us are mired in the paycheck to paycheck lifestyle. Granted, much of that personal debt is claimed by student loan debt--a quagmire we’re all too familiar with. How did we get here? More importantly, how do we get out?
One nation under debt? With liberty and high interest rates for all?
I’m hesitant to toss blame on the elder generation. Still, how many of us can claim our families provided us with a thorough education regarding personal finance? Although money was discussed in my home as a child, I’d still only give my own education a mediocre rating. Post high school, I realized my understanding of credit scores, mortgage rates, and higher education loans was riddled with holes. The numbers indicate I’m not alone.
Why don’t we discuss money with our kids?
Like sex, death and bathroom habits it doesn’t seem to be a topic for polite conversation, but what if we normalized the subject? What if sound saving, budgeting and investing habits were introduced along with potty training?
Research finds children as young as three can begin to understand basic money concepts, and much of their learned money habits are ingrained by age seven. SNL teamed up with financial guru, Beth Kobliner, to drive the point home in this video.
Comical, yet effective. Similar to potty training, establishing positive financial habits for your kids requires time, attention and practice; and the studies suggest, you should start sooner rather than later.
Imagine a future generation harnessing the power of compound interest
I often imagine how differently my early twenties may have evolved had I been equipped with adequate, accurate knowledge regarding my own personal finances. Maybe my IRA would have another 0 at the end. Maybe not. Still, imagine a future generation harnessing the power of compound interest and what that could create for their future.
Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it ... he who doesn't ... pays it. - Albert Einstein, quoted by a wise parent
I suspect a significant reason most parents do not discuss money with their children is simply because no one discussed it with them. We’re the blind leading the blind into a cesspool of debt. Alas, generational curses can be broken. You, yes you, soon-to-be-super-money-savvy-parent can ensure your bundle of joy is a personal finance guru. Common Cents will provide all the content, lessons and activities to make this a fun and interactive journey for you and your kids. If the thought of discussing money makes you queasy, you’re not alone. Yet, rest assured, we will guide you every step of the way ensuring you are well equipped to have the difficult, yet vital, money conversations with your kids. Personal finance never sounded so fun!
Ca$hing in on change,
The Common Cents Crew
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