Managing Money Well: Talk About It

Mother and son out shoppingCan We Talk About Money?

When asked to describe her conversations at home about money, one teenager said: “I ask my mom for money for shoes. She says, ‘No.’ End of conversation.”

It doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, when we get comfortable talking about money with our kids, we can help them learn positive skills and values that can last a lifetime. And by talking about everyday money issues, you’re better prepared to tackle the bigger money questions and challenges when they come up.

Discussion Starters with Your Kids

Use these discussion starters to explore your family’s priorities, habits, and challenges when it comes to managing money.

  • Think about recent generations of your family (including grandparents and, if possible, great grandparents). What stories do you know about how they have handled money? What money attitudes have you picked up from them?
  • When you think of how you and your family handle money, what are you most proud of? What are some of the challenges you’re dealing with?
  • How does money make your family life better? How does it make it harder?
  • Who have been some of your best role models when it comes to managing money?
  • What is the best money management tip you have ever received?
  • What does it mean to you to be a financially responsible person? Who are some people you know who you see as being good role models of financial responsibility?
  • If you could change just one thing about how you or your family manages money, what would you change?

Discussion Starters with Other Parenting Adults*

Use these discussion starters to talk with other parenting adults about how to work on money issues in your families and with your kids:

  • In what ways can money become an issue with your kids? How does money help or hurt your relationships with them?
  • What are money topics we’re most comfortable talking about with our kids? What are topics we’re not comfortable talking about?
  • What are you most proud of when it comes to money and your kids? What worries you the most?
  • What are some of the toughest money lessons you’ve struggled to impart to your kids? What made them hard? How have you worked through it—or what are you still struggling with?
  • What are some of the biggest barriers you see in dealing more effectively with money in your family and with your kids?
  • How do you personally deal with money stresses? How do you deal with them together as a family? Are those approaches working (or not) for you?
  • As you think about your kids and their futures, what do you most hope to pass on to them when it comes to managing money?

* These parenting adults may include your spouse or partner, extended family members, friends who are parents, or a parent group or class.