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Kate Hawkesby: It's surprising parents don't talk about money with their kids

Kate Hawkesby,
Publish Date
Tuesday, 10 September 2019, 9:51AM
Surely part of our role as parents is to teach our kids about money?

In these enlightened times, nothing seems off the table for discussion. In fact, we’re encouraged to talk more than ever before.

Yet, this new research around money this week shows Kiwis would rather talk politics, drugs or alcohol than talk about money.

So why is money such a dirty word?

Is it because talking about money is rude?

It’s stressful?

You’re not ‘supposed to’?

I can understand friends not discussing money – 35% of friends would rather talk about alcohol, 31% would rather talk politics.

But I don’t get the couples who don’t know what each other earns or declare their savings to each other.

I mean what’s that about?

Surely one of you is paying the bills, you're usually sharing a mortgage and either of you are going to notice if the other one rolls in with a new car, not naming any names.

So who the spender and the saver is in a couple is usually pretty apparent.

But parents not talking to their kids about money, that’s the surprise.

Surely part of our role as parents is to teach our kids about money?

To talk credit cards, loans, debt, saving, Kiwisaver, budgets and mortgages?

But this survey by the Commission for Financial Capability, showed parents would rather cover drugs and alcohol with their children, than talk about how much they earned or discuss the risk of personal loans.

I appreciate the sensitivities around not telling your kids how much you earn, but not talking to them about how debt works or how to budget? That’s weird.

Teaching our children the value of money should start from the day they earn their first dollar of pocket money.

Surely that’s part of our job, to equip them for the big bad world of finances.

For a lifetime of mortgages and interest rates, budgeting for rent and food.

Apparently, ‘children start to form their attitudes and habits around money from the age of seven’.. so ideally we need to get into this with them sooner rather than later.

I’m also an advocate for kids learning more about money at school. Useful basic money skills for everyone.. not just accounting or economics students.

Maybe if the taboo around talking about money was broken not just at home but also at school, kids would be better equipped to manage themselves long term, and be less afraid of 'money chat'.

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