The answer to that for every parent is YES! You should have “the talk” about money as soon as your kids understand what money is and start asking for it (or treating you like a never-ending golden stream of money). Making sure your child has a mature and caring understanding about money is a very important part of parenting.
My parents never had “the Talk” with me, and I had to learn a lot of what I initially knew from magazines and on the street, or worse from the school of hard knocks. If you think you are a Subject Expert then by all means have that conversation. If you know someone who is more skilled at the financial arts, bring them in and discuss things frankly and with an open mind with your kids.
Point out that there are many ways to save money, and there are even people who go with Alternate (financial) lifestyles, and even put their money in Dividend Paying stocks (on purpose), not that there is anything wrong with that. As I have always said, “To each his or her own”, who am I to dictate how people should save, as long as they are happy doing it, and aren’t harming anyone.
With no understanding of how money works, the real danger for your child is (naturally) debt. Without “the talk” kids might think you could only get into debt from having the wrong purse, from begin victims of identity theft, from using public ATMs, or other uninformed ideas. Without a good understanding kids are much more likely to end up in debt, and once that happens, will they be able to get out of it?
Am I being facetious and mocking Sex Education? No, I am just pointing out that most parents worry a great deal about their kids learning about procreation, sex and such, but not many seem to spend much time teaching their kids about money (nor do they seem to care if the education system does either). Without any financial education your kids are almost as likely to bring home a bundle for you to help take care of, a large debt!
Talk about Sex but Not Money?
Most parents will make sure their son has a condom when they go out on a date, but don’t seem to worry when they get a credit card and go out for the night? Think about it, it might keep them from moving into your basement, permanently.
We talk a lot about expenses because many kids seem to raised in a vacuum about the real costs of day to day living. So when the property tax bill arrives, it gets mentioned. And when we grocery shop, we talk about whether we should stock up on bagels or tea because they’re on sale and won’t be on sale again till it cycles around in 3 weeks. At this stage my goal isn’t to get them to understand debt: it’s to get them to understand the value of a job (any legal self-respect-keeping job!) that pays well. And to hopefully plan on getting one some day.
Mine is 10 years old and we involve him in most of our discussions about money and finance. he may only understand some of what we are talking about, but when he does the questions certainly start rolling… Better to set in motion good habits than trying to undo bad ones. – Cheers.