Money – The Last Taboo
A quarter of parents are worried that it will be easier for their children to get into debt than it was for them. Even though we are hearing evidence that the banks have battened down the hatches when it comes to lending, and that bankruptcies are at a high, not to mention the most incredibly well publicised global financial fallout the world has probably ever seen, we still think that our children will not have learnt the lessons.
Why might that be? A quarter of mums and dads spoken to by M&S Money are concerned that their children will find it easier to get into debt for than it was for them, and a third think they will be less able to manage their money than the parents can. One in five think there isn’t enough guidance in schools, and there is too much jargon to wade through.
Well, here is a radical thought. Why not talk to your own children about money, rather than leaving it to the schools? You have the birds and the bees talk with them, why not have the ‘pounds and the pence’ talk too?
It might be because so many people feel out of their depth when it comes to finance, that they do not feel they could speak to their children about it. But really, if you don’t understand money yourself, you should try to. It is a lot easier to do something other than read about finance, but remember MyMoneyDiva is here to help you get to grips with all the concepts in plain English.
I have heard so many different mistakes made by parents when they are talking about money. Some have been corkers – like one lady talking about borrowing from the bank, and saying that she didn’t have to pay it back because the bank was ‘giving’ it to her. She had no clue about debt or interest, even though she had and would have been paying plenty.
A group of people Liz and I were doing a lecture for were convinced that discount vouchers were a scam, and that they shouldn’t use them. They couldn’t understand why a company would offer a discount voucher to them to get some money off, even though it was obvious to us that you would be tempted to go to the shop or restaurant, whereas you may not have been tempted to before. Also, once you had gone and had a good time, you might even go back. Not to worry you too much, but these were actually teachers – the very people that if you leave the ‘pounds and the pence’ talk to the education system, would be explaining finance to your children.
On the other hand, a good friend of ours had a brilliant approach to finance with her children when they were growing up. She would take them shopping with her for the groceries, and if they pestered her for something they wanted, she didn’t say no – she would simply show them the shopping list, show them how much she had to spend, and asked them to decide which item they would replace their demanded item with. It was effective too – not only did they usually decide they didn’t need it, it made them understand there was a sense of responsibility for the family finances that they needed to be aware of.
The best thing you can do is talk to your children about money, explain it to them day by day, give them the chance to make financial decisions – small ones, not major ones – for the family as they are growing up. It will help them to get a greater idea of how money works, and the quid pro quos you have to go through to balance the family budget. You have to work hard to make sure that money isn’t the last taboo.