“Are we poor, Mom?” It is a jarring question to hear out of your kid’s mouth, especially if he or she has never brought up your financial status before. You might think your child is too young to notice financial things, but little kids pick up on more than adults give them credit for. If your kids are asking about money, take it as an opportunity to begin teaching financial literacy. Here are some questions you might hear.
“Are we rich or poor?”
Your children probably have a different definition of these terms than you do, and it likely has nothing to do with your bank account. Instead, they might equate rich with being able to have everything they want. You need to shape your child’s opinion of what it means to be rich or poor. Emphasize that your family is rich in things that money cannot buy, such as faith, kindness, and peace.
“Why can’t I have that? Billy has it.”
As your kids reach school age, they will start to notice their classmates’ clothing and possessions. They will feel and express envy at Billy’s expensive new sneakers or Sarah’s brand new Barbie collection. Spend some time explaining the difference between need and want, and offer examples of needs that cost nearly the same price. Lego sets are cool, but some cost the same a monthly electric bill. Perspective changes everything.
“How much do you make?”
Answer this question with how what you make contributes to the family’s needs. This may also be a good opportunity to start teaching your kids about making and saving their own money.