Good Reading, Inane articles

Kids’ questions about money

First off … the disclaimer: I don’t have kids, unless you count that four-legged beast of a cat who thinks that he is human. So I’m just throwing this out there because this recent column in the New York Times spurred a pretty decent amount of debate and conversation between readers and the post’s author.

Ron Lieber writes a column for the New York Times called “Your Money.” Recently, he posted an item “Kids’ Money Questions: Why Don’t We Have a Summer House?” I could have left it at that and not felt the need to write about this section, but the first comment from one of his readers just slayed me: “You’ve opened up so many forums for this that I am thinking you have a problem at home with yourself or your kids that is best dealt with via a professional therapist.” The snarky side of me got a really good chuckle out of that one, as did the author’s reply to the comment. Beyond the snark, in the nine comments that made up the debate in the article were interesting and enlightening.

I don’t remember the conversations that I would have had with my parents about money. I don’t think that any of my friends had summer homes unless we counted the tents or the treehouses that we had in our backyards. Later in life, I realized that there was some desparity between my college friends who came from bigger cities and I when it came to what was a reasonable amount of money to spend on things like meals out, drinks at a bar, etc., but that was simply geographical – the pint of beer that cost $2 in rural Iowa would set you back $5 or $7 in Minneapolis.

So yeah – to my parent readers out there – and I know you’re out there … what kinds of questions do your kids ask about money? How do you answer them?

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1 thought on “Kids’ questions about money

  1. Question usually vary by age. 6 year olds ask – “Can I have that toy”, “When can we go to Disneyland?”, “Why can’t I fly in an airplane?” We are honest that things are expensive and take time to save up for. We don’t say “We don’t have enough money for that.” That tends to cause anxiety and worry in the child…(if mom and dad can’t afford this toy, then what else can’t they buy?)
    There’s usually other reasons why we don’t have things or go places….ex. – we don’t have a wii because we don’t want to spend out spare time on video games…..we aren’t going to Disneyworld because little brother isn’t old enough to enjoy it. etc.
    The best way to teach kids about money is for them to see you stick to a budget, and give them cash to learn it for themselves. $2 a week for garage sales is a great lesson for a 6 year old. Some things turn out to be a good buy, some things don’t.

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