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How To Talk To Your Kids About Money - Without Nagging!

Who remembers the fights they had with their parents over money? If you have kids of your own, you’re probably struggling too. Massey University’s Dr Pushpa Wood has some tips.

29 October 2021

Why won’t my kids listen?

Talking to your kids about money can get really heated, especially if you’re trying to offer them some advice.

It may be because:

· You’re undermining their intelligence, and not giving them enough credit about their own savings plan.

· You’re always repeating the same messages.

· Kids have their own pressures. Maybe you don’t understand the demands of their social life.

· They might have everything under control, but you don’t know, or you don’t agree with where they want to spend their money.

· You see them spending money on unnecessary things, and you want them to learn from your mistakes.

The way forward

Turn it around to the positives.

Rather than nagging, a great strategy is to sit down with your kids and talk honestly and seriously about their dreams, their life goals, and how much it’s going to cost to achieve those goals.

As a parent, you can only guide them, be available for them when they need you and, above all, love them unconditionally.

Unfortunately, you can’t live their life for them, or shelter them from the shocks of life.

As a parent myself, I know it’s a hard pill to swallow, but we’re living in different times and our children are fiercely independent. Except when they want you to pay for things!

Tips to stop fighting over money

Make time to sit down with each child and have the important ‘money conversation’. This could be:

· Setting some great goals for the next year – general goals and financial goals. This conversation needs to be exciting, not a boring lecture. Make it a family activity and work together on preparing a dream board – for the family, and individually for each member.

· Introducing the idea of writing down their goals. It might be useful to turn them into a SMART goal.

· Talking about how much it’ll cost to meet those goals – whether it’s buying new clothes or a new phone, or planning for their studies.

· Helping them work out the difference between spending on ‘needs’ versus spending on ‘wants’. They don’t have to go without, but they can cut down some of the spending.

· Talking about how they plan to pay for all the things they need to or want to buy. In other words, who is going to pay for it all?

· If your kids are doing some part-time work while studying, talk about how to “maximise your income”, instead of asking, “How are you spending your money?”, or “Where is all your money going?”.

· Tell them how important it is to save some money for a ‘rainy day’. Tell them how you used to spend your money when you were their age, and about some lessons you learned the hard way.

· Try not to undermine their intelligence! They need a guiding hand in managing their money, not a lecture.

What if you’re the one being nagged at?

So, what if you’re the child reading this article, and you’re sick of fighting with your parents over money?

No matter why your parents are nagging, your reaction plays an important role, along with your ‘relationship with money’ in their view.

Remember, they’re your parents. They might be paying some, if not all, of your bills, including your board and food.

Above all, they may be trying to teach you some good money habits that’ll help you in the future. They have your best interests at heart, even if you can’t see it now!

First published 15 August, 2018.

Story by Dr Pushpa Wood

Dr Pushpa Wood is the director of the Westpac Massey Fin-Ed Centre, a research and education centre based at Massey University that aims to help improve the financial wellbeing of New Zealanders.

JUNO does not contain financial advice as defined by the Financial Advisers Act 2008. Consult a suitably qualified financial adviser before making investment decisions. This story reflects the views of the contributor only. Content comes from sources that JUNO considers accurate, but we do not guarantee that the content is accurate.

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