Chances are your typical family dinner table topics of conversation do not include financial planning. But they should! Talking about money with your children might seem like a daunting task but it's an important one that can profoundly impact their lives. So where (and how) do you start? Thankfully these are just the questions Beth Kobliner answers in her new book, Make Your Kid a Money Genius (Even If You're Not), along with sharing many more valuable pieces of advice and information parents need to know.
I'll admit I have not always been the most financially responsible person. I'm a bit impulsive, and I like to shop, so my spending habits were a little out of control when I was younger. Becoming a parent made me realize I needed to change my ways pretty swiftly. I wanted to spend the first few years at home with my son. When my husband and I decided to make that work we had to sit down and make some serious decisions about how to manage our money better.
Oh how I wish I had grown up with the guidance that Kobliner gives in this book! Growing up, we didn't talk about money in my family. Maybe it was because we didn't have very much, or maybe just because my parents were raised with the notion that it's not polite or appropriate to discuss money. Maybe they thought the concept wasn't something children should be concerned with.
Make Your Kid a Money Genius (Even If You're Not) addresses all the reasons why it's so important for parents to teach their kids about money, and early on. Parents are the number one influence on a child's financial behavior. More importantly, this book breaks down how to teach your child these valuable lessons at any age.
I was impressed with the simple, practical ideas Kobliner suggests for engaging my preschooler in conversations about money. Talking to a three-year-old about saving and spending wasn't something I had previously considered to be an important lesson on our list. After reading this book I realized that it's just as important for setting him up for success in life as learning his ABC's.
One of the things I loved most about this book is how Kobliner makes it easy to understand and apply her methods to real life situations. Her advice is sensible and simple so it doesn't feel like you're in over your head, and her voice is one of reassurance. You feel positive and empowered as a parent after reading this book, no judgment or shame for mistakes of the past. I've dreaded other books in the past that make finance seem like a difficult life course.
A few of the book’s prime points for teaching young children about money:
Define “wants” versus “needs.” Kobliner advises having clear conversations with your child when shopping by labeling the things he wants (candy, a cupcake) as different from the things he needs (milk, apples).
Explain how advertising works to your child. Make sure when a commercial comes on featuring your kid's favorite character that you explain how and why it's made that way.
Don't avoid the “dreaded no.” It's an important opportunity for children to learn to handle disappointment. Use your “no” wisely and with authority.