The talk, the “money talk”, that is it’s just about as frightening as the sex talk with your kid and just as important because if you get it wrong, the consequences can be dire so talking to your kids about money is very important. In fact, a major study conducted by Chase and Center for Research on Consumer Financial Decision Making at the University of Colorado discovered that Boomers put more value in having the “money talk” with their kids than “the talk” about “the birds and the bees”.
As far as I’m concerned, especially since my children are of the snowflake generation and they believe life is fair and they get everything they want just for the simple fact that they exist, it’s never too early to start talking to kids about saving money, being financially savvy with their futures and planning for the future. And as everyone knows, knowing is half the battle. How can we expect our children to make good financial decisions if we don’t talk to them about it? As uncomfortable as talking to your kids about money may seem, it is necessary to boost financial confidence and preparedness in our children.
I grew up very blue collar. We did not have a lot of extra money. There were no grand vacations and elaborate luxuries. Our family lived on a budget and we knew it. Everything we had, for the most part, was a necessity. Luxuries for when you were old enough to get a job, work hard and pay for it yourself. Which is what we did. But we were taught from a very early age to save our money because we didn’t know when we would get more. There was no allowance for us.
Luckily, our girls have never personally known what it feels like to be poor or go without. But I’m not sure that is a good thing either. I think we’ve created a false sense of security. They have everything they need and most of what they want and they’ve never had to go without. This makes me feel happy that we can provide this ideal childhood for our girls but on the other hand, I feel like I am doing a major disservice to them because am I really teaching them to live in the real world? I don’t think so.
So, the Big Guy and I have put into place an allowance system. The girls do chores to earn their allowances. It’s $20 a month and it is theirs to do with as they please. We cover the necessities but if the girls want an ice cream cone and I had no intention of buying ice cream or if they want a Chapstick and they already have 3 or a new shirt and they absolutely don’t need one, they have to buy it themselves.
We explained savings and interest and the value of saving for something that you really want versus buying everything you see. Impulse buying is a fleeting feeling of fulfillment. There is no way you are going to enjoy that giant stuffed animal as much as you will love having the money to spend on vacation on something special. But the only way to teach them is to ultimately let them make their own decisions.
In the beginning, I won’t lie, they just spent money like it grew on trees, like it wasn’t real because they hadn’t earned it. Believe me, I understand this concept because I did the same thing in college with my credit cards they were handing out in the quad. It wasn’t “real money” so I just spent it like it was monopoly money. I’d pay it back “someday”. BAD IDEA!
Lately, I’m noticing the girls are shopping much more carefully. They are putting stuff back. They are asking themselves, do I need this? Do I really even want it? Is it worth all the cleaning I did to earn it? More often than not, the answer is no. I’m seeing a trend of saving for bigger things. They are loving the freedom that having their own money comes with. For instance, they know that if they want to buy ice cream, they can whenever they want. But they now ask themselves, is today the day I really want the ice cream?
Now, not all Hispanic families grow up poor but a lot of us are direct descendants of immigrants and when you make a move like that, to an entirely different country, you learn a little something about the importance of saving money and the value of a dollar. A recent study showed that Hispanics started saving for retirement at age 27 vs. age 31 for the general population. Also, Hispanics are more likely to spend on ‘things’ over ‘experiences’, while Americans would equally spend on the two (60% vs. 50% general population). Things are tangible expressions of financial wealth, whereas experiences are not.
However, this is not true for me and my immediate family. I definitely believe that experiences are priceless. For example, for me, travel and showing my children the world and other cultures is more important than having all the coolest things. Of course, that is coming from a perspective of privilege because we do have all the things we want now.
That same study showed that Hispanics are especially open with their kids about money. I think this goes back to the fact that, most of us, have at one point not so long ago struggled financially. It might not have happened to us directly but it happened to a family member who is still alive and able to serve as a cautionary tale of struggle.
I think these all have a lot to do with the focus Latinos put on family. We are very open with our children and the first person we turn to in a crisis or for advice is our family; brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles and grandparents before we would ever go to a professional because a family member is always going to have the best intentions for you.
Chase understands the importance of learning more about each generation’s financial habits, which aids them in providing even more sound financial advice. The findings from the study reinforce the importance of having open and honest conversations about finances, no matter where you are in your life.
How open are you with your children about money? How important do you think talking to kids about money is?
To learn more about the study and follow the Generational Money Talks series, please visit Chase.com/LaCharla.
How are you talking to kids about money and teaching your children the value of money and saving for the things that matter the most?
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Chase and #WeAllGrow Latina Network. The opinions and text are all mine.