Having The Talk with Your Kids

Do you (or did you) dread that day? You know, the day you knew you had to sit down and have “the talk”? Yes, I’m talking about the money talk. This has been a hot topic in my household lately. Our three kids are certainly old enough to be helping around the house.

And so the debate was tossed around the house recently. Do we pay for chores? If so, how much? How many chores should we pay for?

If you’re having trouble getting into the money conversation with your kids, Jean Chatzky, personal finance book author, is spearheading a site just for you.

Her website, moneynighttalk.com, walks parents through the how-tos of a money talk. [The site's] focus [is] on Chatzky’s sample questions and answers, such as:

If money is tight in our house right now, what do I say? “That money is tight in your house right now. Believe me, your kids already know this. They sense the tension. You can bring down everyone’s blood pressure by talking and empowering your kids to help you save on the family budget.”

How long should a money talk last? “Don’t force yourself to adhere to a timetable. Even a 15-minute conversation over dinner can make an impact . . . and assuming it goes well (which it will), you leave the door open for follow-ups.”

What if I’m asked a question I don’t want to answer? “You mean like, `How much do you earn?’ It’s OK to dodge that one, because you don’t want to be the cause of competitive earning in the neighborhood. Twist it, and say: `Let’s talk about how much it costs us to live as we do.’ ”

I came from a household that was mum on most financial topics. It wasn’t until after I started college that I began to understand the depth of my ignorance. I didn’t know how to write a check much less how to create a plan for my money. Money was one of two thingsā€”in my wallet or not in my wallet. And when I had it I usually didn’t for long.

If you have kids or are planning to, check out Money Night Talk.

Read more at the Miami Herald.

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