How do we make money conversations less tabooed?

I wrote several articles that outline the long-term benefits of teaching healthy money habits to youth and I will keep writing on this subject because it is one of my favorites!

Developmentally appropriate personal finance activities allow youth to engage in hands-on experiences and share what they already know about money. For example, I've taught high school youth who were very interested in understanding why they have to pay taxes. They were curious as to why money from their future paychecks goes to the government. I had conversations with K-5 youth who explained that they wouldn't spend their allowance on toys because they would want to have more fun with their money. These types of questions and statements show how they think about money at different stages in their lives. Their interest in money topics and openness to learning more about these topics is a huge motivation for educators. They are aware of and have some degree of understanding about the role of money in their everyday lives.

Financial professionals understand the importance of introducing financial concepts and having money conversations early with youth. Unfortunately, these conversations may be happening later, and many youth struggle to manage their finances as adults. As an educator, I like to explore new and interactive strategies to teach youth about money management.

Te'eni-Harari (2016) found that when young children are involved in saving money, they express more positive attitudes and behaviors towards savings. Therefore, finding ways to start conversations early support better outcomes in the future. For parents, caregivers, and other adults in youth's lives, there are different approaches you can use to start and continue these conversations:

  • The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) offers a Money as You Grow Bookshelf option that provides resources for parents. The bookshelf includes books on financial topics for children ages 4-7 and guides for parents that outlines how to have money conversations around a story.
  • Depending on your child's age, ask their opinions, get them involved in planning family activities such as creating a shopping list or saving for a family vacation.
  • Teach them the value of coins by getting them a piggy.
  • Open a savings account in their names. Start little. Many banks and credit unions offer children's savings account with no minimum balance requirement.

When we introduce youth to different financial concepts, we help to demystify myths or misconceptions about money and financial management. Remember that children's involvement in saving money has positive outcomes later.

Facebook Live Event!

University of Illinois Extension Consumer Economics team will be hosting a Facebook Live Event on Wednesday, March 13 at 12:00 P.M. CST. Join us on University of Illinois Extension Facebook page

  • Our topic is Money Smart Kids! Come with your questions and comments!

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Te'eni-Harari, T. (2016). Financial literacy among children: the role of involvement in saving money. Young Consumers, 17(2), 197-208.