We’ve all been in a store when a child goes into a nuclear meltdown over a toy he wants. He shouts “I want this” while his parents try to calm him down. Sometimes we give them a nod of sympathy and understanding. Other times we are just grateful that it’s not our child screaming on the floor. When a child is in the midst of a full-blown tantrum, it can be very hard to rationalize with him or her. This is why you do the legwork beforehand, so you can minimize these situations in the future.
My girls, Lauren and Taylor, are now 10 and 8 years old and I started talking to them about money when they were toddlers. As a Certified Financial Planner (CFP®), it’s probably not surprising that money is a popular topic in our home. But it goes deeper than it being my chosen profession. I made the conscious choice to start talking to my children at such a young age because I wanted to help shape their money habits and beliefs before they had any negative associations with money. Now I can help them build a positive and healthy relationship with money, which is key to their long-term financial well-being.
One of the first lessons I wanted my girls to understand was the difference between a want and a need. Now I know that may seem like an impossible task: everything is a need to a child! And that is why it’s so important to start talking to them about wants versus needs at a young age. They don’t outgrow that mindset unless you help them.
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