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Financial literacy, your kids & a chance to win a Flip camera!

by Karen on August 10, 2011

Sorry, entries for this contest are now closed. A winner has been chosen, and I will be announcing as soon as I’ve received the prize from T. Rowe Price and contacted the winner. Thanks for participating!

When I was a kid, my parents were a pretty open book. We talked about money just like we talked about everything else. My parents never kept us in the dark. We understood the financial choices they made, and they shared things with my sisters and me candidly.

Now that I have a baby of my own, I’ve already put thought into how I’d like to educate him about money. I think it’s important for parents to talk to their kids about money from an early age. The lessons should be age-appropriate, of course, but I think we’ll start Judah’s financial education pretty early.

We plan to ask Judah to put aside a portion of birthday and Christmas money given to him by grandparents into a savings account. He’ll be allowed to make choices about how he’d like to use the money, but we’ll talk with him about the value of saving money and spending it responsibly.

I’m not sure where I stand on the topic of giving an “allowance.” My sisters and I were given an allowance off and on throughout childhood, and it was usually tied to completing certain household chores. I think kids should learn that contributing to the household by doing chores is part of their responsibility as a member of our family — not an incentive for money. However, I think there’s value in teaching kids that work = money, and if they want to earn an income, they have to work for it.

Most importantly, Tony and I plan to be open with Judah and future children about our financial situation and choices. When they’re old enough to understand, I’d like to teach them about paying bills each month and show them how much things cost. I’d like to go over the family budget with them to show them where our money goes and discuss our emergency fund, savings, and other financial choices in depth.

I want to encourage our children to work part-time after school when they’re teenagers, and give them financial responsibilities of their own like car insurance, gas, and spending money. I was given financial responsibilities as soon as I was old enough to work, and I think it taught me a lot about money management and responsible spending habits.

As part of their financial literacy campaign, T. Rowe Price asked me to write a post about talking with kids about money. According to a recent survey conducted by T. Rowe Price, they discovered that parents found it more difficult to talk to their kids about money than talking to them about dating, drugs, smoking, or alcohol. That sort of blows my mind. I think money is a topic that you can begin discussing with children at a much younger age than I would bring up those other topics.

It doesn’t have to be complicated. It can be as simple as playing “store” or “restaurant” with a young child and teaching them to exchange play money for toys or play food. The lessons can grow with your child as you discuss more complicated financial issues like budgeting, saving, and investing.

To help parents start talking about money with their children, T. Rowe Price and Disney have teamed up to launch the Great Piggy Bank Adventure, an interactive website designed for children ages 8 to 14 to teach them about important financial concepts like saving, spending, inflation, and more complicated investing concepts. In addition to the website, T. Rowe Price is also the sponsor of the Great Piggy Bank Adventure experience at Epcot Center at Walt Disney World. There, children and their parents can learn more about financial planning in a hands-on, interactive environment.

I love the idea of the Great Piggy Bank Adventure, because I think it makes financial literacy fun for kids and parents. There’s no reason to feel overwhelmed about teaching your children about money. It can even be a game!

As part of their campaign, T. Rowe Price asked me to talk to you about how you talk to your kids about money. In exchange for your participation in the discussion, you’ll be entered to win a Great Piggy Bank Adventure Flip camera provided by T. Rowe Price. Here’s how to enter:

Write a comment answering one or more of the questions below. For each question you answer, write a separate comment. Each comment will be counted as a separate entry.

That’s it! It’s easy. The winner will be chosen randomly on Friday, August 12 at 9 p.m. EST, so you have until then to enter.

Here are the questions:

  • Is it easier for you to talk about drugs and alcohol than your family finances? If so why?
  • Why do you think it is easier for parents to talk about drugs and smoking than family finances with their kids?
  • Was the topic of money “taboo” in your family growing up?
  • What advice would you give to other parents talking to their kids about the family finances?

Good luck!

Disclosure: In exchange for writing this post, T. Rowe Price provided the Flip camera for this giveaway and also provided me with a gift card for my participation. T. Rowe Price is not involved in or responsible for the outcome of this giveaway.

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{ 21 comments }

1 Annie August 10, 2011 at 9:42 am

It was taboo to talk about money in our household while growing up. I think it was largely in part do to my parents feeling they were more vulnerable by disclosing that information.

2 Kim August 10, 2011 at 10:59 am

I find it easier to talk about drugs and alcohol, this is because I feel bad about our financial situation at the moment. I try to explain the kids, but sometimes we treat them and then they don’t understand why we can’t do something else.

3 Kim August 10, 2011 at 11:00 am

I think its easier to talk about these thing rather than money because there are so many families struggling with their financials right now.

4 Kim August 10, 2011 at 11:01 am

I don’t think the topic was taboo, just I didn’t pay attention or they just didn’t discuss it around me.

5 Kim August 10, 2011 at 11:02 am

I think that it is important to discuss the family finances ( I just wish it was easier), because as they grow-up they need to be prepared to struggles and understand how to manage the financial aspect of their lives.

6 April August 10, 2011 at 11:24 am

Money talk was not taboo at all in my house. My dad was hurt on the job when I was 9 years old which sent my family into a rough several years financially. I think when the struggles are as difficult as ours were it’s hard not to be completely truthful and honest with your kids about finances. I’m grateful for it because I think in the end it really taught me the value of saving and planning ahead for the what-ifs in life.

7 Erin August 10, 2011 at 11:56 am

My parents were really open about money. Earning, saving, spending and going in debt were all discussed. My dad also taught us about business and what it takes to be successful. It doesn’t seem like it should be that difficult to discuss, even though I’m not yet a parent.

8 Corinne August 10, 2011 at 12:47 pm

In my house money wasn’t a taboo topic, it just wasn’t really talked about. We were given money when we “needed” it. I don’t even think my mom knew what was going on finance-wise. My sister and I both had debt problems, she especially blames my parents for not teaching us about finances. As for myself, it was more of a lack of income issue.

9 Mrs. Money August 10, 2011 at 6:09 pm

Talking about money is easy to me, but I work at a bank and blog about money! I’m a little uncomfortable telling people my savings account balance and certain other things sometimes, but otherwise I love talking about money! I think it’s easier than drugs or alcohol. You never know who you’ll offend with your views on those.

10 Mrs. Money August 10, 2011 at 6:10 pm

I think it’s easier for parents to talk to their kids about drugs and smoking because it’s so widely known now. They have many commercials talking about how drugs and smoking are bad, but no commercials about how to handle money!

11 Mrs. Money August 10, 2011 at 6:12 pm

The topic of money wasn’t taboo growing up, but I never knew how much money my dad made, how much they had in savings, or anything about budgeting. I did know that they were good with money and that my mom was very frugal, so I picked up on that. I think my parents were a very good example of how to save money and live a good life; they just didn’t sit down and discuss specifics with us. I will admit- any time I wanted to go out as a teenager I’d just go see my dad and he’d hand me a $20.

12 Mrs. Money August 10, 2011 at 6:14 pm

Parents should talk about money with their kids from when they’re little! I think it’s a great idea. I think talking about budgeting and saving is especially important. I was always taught not to live above my means, and I’m very thankful for that.

I also think kids should not automatically get an allowance. That doesn’t happen to adults!

13 Kacie August 10, 2011 at 7:54 pm

So I already have a Flip, so if my number comes up draw again, k? But I have opinions on the topic.

I think I will need to switch to cash instead of debit all the time for awhile to show my kids how this works beyond just swiping my card.

As far as allowances go, I don’t think I’m really a fan of doing it for doing their chores. They gotta do their chores no matter what. But I do think we could give them money for them to use to budget with and buy things that they wanna and save and give.

I do plan on teaching them about money. A lot. Playing “store” and all sorts of money-related games come to mind, as do just general conversations about money.

And we’ll also start talking about their college savings when they are older.

14 Dawn g. August 11, 2011 at 5:07 pm

My parents did not discuss finances with us when we were kids. As a parent of a teenager now, I am really feeling like I am trying to teach him financial responsibility “late in the game”. I wish I had started sooner. I have never shared too much detail about my finances because a) I felt that it was private, and didn’t want him sharing that info, and b) I didn’t want him to worry or stress about it. It’s tough to get the right balance.

15 Jennifer August 11, 2011 at 5:18 pm

My parents NEVER discussed money with us when I was growing up, so I make sure to talk to my kids and teach them, all the time.

16 Kasey Powers August 11, 2011 at 6:22 pm

Since our baby is only a month old we haven’t had any discussions yet. But I think it will actually be easier to discuss money than drugs and alcohol. We have more experience with debt, getting out of it, and making good financial choices and not so much with drugs and alcohol. We will talk about the risks and why those are bad choices. But I feel like if a kid is going to drink etc. it’s less likely that will be an open discussion whereas finances can be.

17 Kasey Powers August 11, 2011 at 6:26 pm

I think my parents found it easier to talk about drugs and alcohol for the same reason I think it’s more difficult. We talked about why you shouldn’t and them as long as my parents didn’t know it wasn’t happening. My mom once said I know you will I don’t want to know don’t get caught because if you do I know it’s not the first time. And I think we didn’t talk about money because my parents didn’t really understand it.

18 Kasey Powers August 11, 2011 at 6:31 pm

I dont know that I would say it was ” taboo”. But just wasn’t talked about. I didn’t know how much my parents made until I was out of college and asked because I had to list salary requirements for my first job applications. My mom grew up without a lot and didn’t want us to ever worry about money so we probably always lived slightly above our means but if my parents had trouble I never knew about it. I did have a savings account my grandparents set up for me. But can’t remember a conversation abou how it really worked.

19 Kasey Powers August 11, 2011 at 6:36 pm

The advice I have is what I wished I would have known from my parents. 1) known that credit cards were really loans 2) understood what interest was 3) been a part of the process with student loans for college – that was a huge surprise $17 k handed to me a year or so after graduation. We plan on being open with our finances and talking about the family budget. We need to talk more about what else we will do. I don’t love the idea of an allowance but maybe. You’ve outlined some good ideas for thought here.

20 joanna August 12, 2011 at 11:09 am

For my husband & I, we talk about finances fairly often. It’s important for us to be on the same page. It will probably spill over to us talking to our kids about finances, too, continually- while drugs and alcohol will have more of a one-time “Talk”

21 joanna August 12, 2011 at 11:13 am

Growing up in an upper-middle-class family, it’s funny- we got plenty of education about higher financial concepts- I knew about investing and saving and giving, but the practical day-to-day “What does the electric bill cost?”- I had no idea. For my husband, whose family struggled with money, he got the opposite education. He knew the cost of day-to-day expenses, because the family was pinching pennies trying to make ends meet to pay bills, but he didn’t have a savings account until halfway through college. I hope to give our kids a more rounded financial education than either of us received.

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