Talking to my kids about money

I think about money and financial planning a lot, because it’s talked about all the time in the offfice.  That’s one of the things about working for a financial advice firm.  It’s great though, I’ve learned so much.

Lately I’ve been thinking about my kids.  If they do their chores (my daughter has to make dinner on weeknights and my son has to do the dishes and clean the kitchen on weeknights), they earn $40 a month ($10 a week) to spend, and an equal contribution to their savings.  They both have other chores that aren’t paid, such as doing their own laundry, emptying the rubbish bin (trash), keeping their bedrooms in an acceptable condition, contributing to caring for the pets, and helping to keep the lounge and dining areas tidy.  My daughter is pretty diligent about earning her money, but my son is hit and miss.  If we end up doing the dishes, he misses out on that portion of his money.  Last month, he didn’t earn anything.  So far this month, I think he’s earned about $12.

Before our UK trip, it was pretty straight forward.  They knew they’d be allowed to withdraw their savings to spend in the UK.  Not a moment before.  What they chose to spend it on over there, that was up to them.  It eased some of the burden on us in terms of the money we spent over there, because they had their own spending money.  When we came back, I told them they could set another goal.  It had to be a goal I approved.  Therefore, not a waste of money.  An experience (like saving for a flight somewhere) or a new computer or whatever.  Once they reached their target, they could withdraw their savings and pay for whatever the goal was.  So far neither of them have set a goal.  Or talked about a goal.

I’m torn between the idea that saving just for saving’s sake is a good thing, and the idea that saving for a goal is a good thing too.  There’s probably no right or wrong answer there, huh?  Well, no wrong answer.  There’s a reason one of the goals on my bucket list is ‘Regularly contribute savings for a year and make no withdrawals’.  In my entire life, I’ve never managed to save without spending those savings.  Another goal on my bucket list is to have a contingency fund equal to one month’s salary.  Another thing I learned from working for a financial advice firm.  I’ve never had this either. We live from month to month, pay to pay.  It’s ludicrous.  And because I have such terrible financial habits, I am desperate to teach my children better habits.  There are two key things – financial literacy, which I am now learning as part of this job, and good financial habits, which I’ve never had and kind of despair of having.

I am doing much better since I set up my bill accounts.  Every pay I now transfer a set amount of money into an account for house bills, an account for online bills, an account for school bills, and so on.  What’s left is spending money.  This means that when my car needs registering once a year, or my rates need paying every three months, that I am not scrambling for funds.  It’s awesome.  I wish I’d been doing it for years, but at least I’m doing it now.

Today I was introduced to the Juno investing magazine through work, and I found some awesome articles.  I’m feeling all inspired again.

How to talk to your kids about money – without nagging.

How much pocket money should you give your kids?

Money smart: how financially capable is your child?

Do you talk to your kids about money?  How do you teach financial literacy and good financial habits to your kids?  How were you taught?

Author: Elle

Hi, I'm Elle. I'm based in Auckland, New Zealand. I'm a moderator at Writing.com, the mother of two gifted children, the wife of a Twitch gaming streamer and the Queen of Unfinished Projects. I've been reading since I was 4 years old, writing poems (badly) since 1994, blogging since 2001 and I started studying photography in 2010. This blog will contain poems, short stories, photos, book reviews and my thoughts on a variety of topics. Hope you enjoy it.

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