Video: How To Break the Money Taboo Cycle

Video: How To Break the Money Taboo Cycle | www.TheHeavyPurse.comPeople often ask me what they can do to reverse the growing problem of financial illiteracy affecting this country and beyond. The answer is simple: break the money taboo cycle. In order to help our kids learn how to handle money well, we need to start talking about money within our homes. Unfortunately, many parents don’t realize that they have made money a taboo topic or the damage it causes.

Every single child grows up to handle money and it affects every aspect of their life, including their relationships. According to Women and Money Magazine, 25% of married or partnered adults report that financial concerns have had an impact on these relationships; 33% have difficulty discussing money with their spouse or partner; and 25% often have heated discussions with their significant other about money and household finances. It’s no wonder money is often cited as the leading cause for divorce.

It doesn’t have to be that way though. It’s been my experience the money hang-ups that adults face today were typically formed in their childhood from observing our parents and how they handled their money. This creates three major problems:

  1. Kids quickly learn money equals power but because we are so secretive about money, they don’t know how to wield that power responsibly.
  2. They mimic our money emotions, sometimes in the form of loud, scary arguments or guilt or shame or jealously or giving away our money power.
  3. They don’t always fully understand what they see, so their imagination fills in the blanks and not always correctly.

While I cannot prevent my daughters from ever making a money mistake, I can do everything within my power to help them build a healthy relationship with money, including how to talk to loved ones about money. Just as my father broke the money taboo cycle in our home, I am doing the same in my home. I hope you’ll do the same.

The Key to Financial Happiness

In today’s video, I share the key to financial happiness, for both the young and old, and demonstrate how to have these important money conversations with your kids.

How are you breaking the money taboo cycle in your home?


April 20, 2015  •  18 Comments  •  Videos

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  1. Monday, April 20th, 2015
    Great points on the problems Shannon! I think too often we think we're helping out our children by not making them "deal with money" but it has the opposite effect. It stands to reason that if we're keeping something secret from them then they're going to learn about it by how they see us as parents, as well as others, deal with it. This does not create a good foundation for them and leaves them open to forming ideas/habits that aren't going to benefit them. We aim to counter that by having those conversations, taking advantage of opportunities that arise and sharing with them the "why" behind decisions to help them begin to have a good relationship with money.
    • Shannon Ryan
      Thursday, April 23rd, 2015
      I agree. Most parents I talk to believe they are doing their kids a favor by not talking to them about money, but unfortunately that isn't the case. Add in the fact that everyone will handle money and make decisions on how to use their money as an adult, it magnifies the problem. I think talking out loud to our kids and helping them understand our thought process on how we use our money in alignment with our values is so critical. So glad (but not surprised) to hear that you do the same, John!
  2. Monday, April 20th, 2015
    The subject of money was SO taboo in our home, but us kids always knew that we constantly struggled for money. That combination of messages made me fearful about money for years. I always assumed that one had no control about whether or not they had money.
    • Shannon Ryan
      Thursday, April 23rd, 2015
      Unfortunately, what you experienced, Laurie, is so common. Parents don't talk about money, but kids still know and it often makes things worse. I'm sorry you had to go through it, but I know you and Rick are helping your kids build a healthy relationship with money with them firmly in the driver's seat.
  3. Monday, April 20th, 2015
    We are breaking the money taboo in our home by actually talking about it with our son. Since he was 5 we started talking to him about money and we specifically include him on many money conversations we have around the home so that he can witness our process and ask questions and learn about the choices he will make when he is older.
    • Shannon Ryan
      Thursday, April 23rd, 2015
      Love it, Shannon. It's what we're doing with the girls too and they constantly amaze me with how much they understand. And how good they are making wise decisions with their money.
  4. Monday, April 20th, 2015
    I've said this a million times but I wish as a family we were way more open to talking about money. I really do think that would have made a difference in my adult life. At least I probably will never have kids so I won't screw them up. lol!
    • Shannon Ryan
      Thursday, April 23rd, 2015
      I absolutely believe parents talking about money with their children will make a difference in their child's life. Through your blog, you're helping parents become financially literate and gain that confidence to talk to their kids.
  5. Monday, April 20th, 2015
    We are trying to break the taboo by discussing money the same as we would any other topic. Hopefully, we can make budgeting, spending, saving, and earning something we'd talk about and study the same as we would do with homework or other activities. Maybe if it becomes second nature, our daughter won't have to struggle to figure it all out like her parents did.
    • Shannon Ryan
      Thursday, April 23rd, 2015
      Money is a subject that should be as comfortably discussed as anything else we teach our kids. For whatever reason, talking about money intimidates many so they struggle to discuss it openly. By doing so, I know your daughter won't struggle to figure it out, putting her leaps and bounds ahead of many of her peers.
  6. Monday, April 20th, 2015
    Excellent topic, and a very taboo one ;) This is one area that I hope I can 'be different' in. I want my kids to understand finances and especially want them to understand business and entrepreneurship at a young age. I think it'll have a huge impact on them and really help them view the world through a different lens.
    • Shannon Ryan
      Thursday, April 23rd, 2015
      I have doubt that when you and Victoria decide to become parents that you'll raise very financially confidence children who will be spreadsheet gurus and little entrepreneurs. Doing so will absolutely have a huge impact on them and what they believe they can accomplish.
  7. Tuesday, April 21st, 2015
    Personally, I have been open to talking about money to my kids because I know for a fact that the early they start learning the basics the better. I started this when my eldest kid asked why I have a piggy bank filled with coins in our bed room. To parents, just still be cool when caught in such situation and you talk about money.
    • Shannon Ryan
      Thursday, April 23rd, 2015
      I agree, Jayson. The earlier you start talking to kids the better. Plus, it's actually easier when they are small and you can learn together too. Kids are really hungry for this knowledge too.
  8. Tuesday, April 21st, 2015
    The money topic was definitely a taboo in our home. When I have kids, I'm going to be as open as possible with them. Great points Shannon!
    • Shannon Ryan
      Thursday, April 23rd, 2015
      I'm happy to hear that, Anum. I have no doubt when you have kids that you'll raise financially confident kids. :)
  • Meet Shannon

    "As a Certified Financial Planner, it is my passion to help individuals and families build a healthy relationship with money. I look forward to helping you raise financially confident kids.” - Shannon Ryan