Children and Money

Your Guide to Raising Financially Confident Kids: Part 1

Your Guide to Raising Financially Confident Kids | www.TheHeavyPurse.comYou learn a lot about human nature when you witness firsthand how people perceive money. How their perceptions, whether real or not, color how they think about and use their money. There are many reasons why some people have a better relationship with money than others. And it doesn’t just boil down to who has the most either. Yes, if you are struggling to pay your bills and to keep a roof over your head, then more money will absolutely make a huge difference in your life. However, everyone has a point, which may differ from one another, where it becomes less about how much you have and instead more about how you use your money that determines your level of financial happiness.

Many people struggle with finding financial happiness because they are working through so many money hang-ups. Some are due to trying to please or meet expectations in a world where people over-share, especially what many consider the best part of their lives — the things they buy or do. When you consider that most adults grew up in homes where money was a taboo topic, it just magnifies the problem as their kids inherit their hang-ups and continue the cycle, often to more dire consequences.

Raising Financially Confident Kids

Even before I had my daughters, I wanted to help other parents break the money taboo cycle and raise financially confident kids, which is why I created The Heavy Purse. It’s been one of my greatest privileges to be able to help so many parents start having regular money conversations with their kids. To hear your success stories as your kids build a healthy relationship with money and learn how to make confident choices. Money is a life skill that all kids need, but currently few are taught. You are changing your children’s lives.

Today, instead of sharing something new, I went back into the vaults of The Heavy Purse and put together a guide on raising financially confident kids. Whether you are a new reader or a long-term reader (and thank you for spending part of your busy day with me), this will be a post you’ll want to bookmark (or pin!) to refer back to again and again.

Busting Money Myths that Hold You (and Your Kids) Back

I hear a lot of reasons why parents can’t talk to their kids about money. So to begin, I’m going to debunk a few those myths I regularly hear.

[one-third-first]Money Myth: Kids Don't Care About Money |[/one-third-first][one-third]You Don't Need to Be Financially Literate to Teach Kids about Money[/one-third][one-third]Kids Should Be Kids AND Learn about Money |[/one-third]

How Our Money Silence Hurts Our Kids

Money is a taboo topic in most homes, which oddly enough, most parents don’t even realize. Money wasn’t talked about in their home growing up and they followed the example set by their parents. My father broke with tradition and helped me develop a healthy relationship with money. It’s a lesson and gift that I paid forward to my own daughters. I understand that many parents are unaware of the need for these talks, but there is a price to our silence and our kids are paying for it.

It’s not too late to help your children avoid becoming a statistic on debt and/or financial illiteracy. Talk to your kids because, trust me, they are watching you and will grow-up to mimic your money behaviors.

[one-third-first]A Good Versus Entitled Life |[/one-third-first][one-third]The Slippery Slope of "Don't Tell Mom or Dad" |[/one-third][one-third]10 Money Mistakes Parents Make with Their Kids |[/one-third]

Breaking the Money Taboo Cycle

Hopefully by now you are convinced that money conversations don’t ruin childhoods and actually not having them hurts kids, especially when they leave home ill-prepared to manage their money. Let’s take a look at how to break the money taboo cycle and how to be a good financial role model.

[one-third-first]I Resolve to Break the Money Taboo Cycle in my Home |[/one-third-first][one-third]Be a Good Financial Role Model |[/one-third][one-third]Don't Let Fear Prevent You from Talking about Debt |[/one-third]

Let The Money Talks with Your Kids Begin

I know it can be intimidating to have these kinds of conversations with your kids. You may be concerned that they might ask you a question you don’t want to answer (especially around debt) or don’t know the answer. And that’s okay. On Friday, I’ll walk you through on how to have these important talks with your kids, whether they are toddlers or teens.

Did your parents talk to you about money growing up? What made you decide to talk to your kids about money? What has been the biggest a-ha from doing so?



1: Credit Card Debt Among Young Adults via Life 123.
2: Student Debt Is Creating A Wealth Gap Among Young Adults via Huffington Post.
3: Capital One’s Annual Back-to-School Shopping Survey Reveals Gap in Budgeting Priorities and Communication Between Teens and Parents via Bloomberg

November 2, 2015  •  25 Comments  •  Children and Money

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  1. Monday, November 2nd, 2015
    My parents taught me the basics, about banking and managing a check book, but I don't think the understood the finer point of investing and debt to pass it along. I want my three children to understand as much as possible as they begin their financial journey. Understand saving, debt, investing etc as a teenager will give them an incredible head start in life.
    • Shannon Ryan
      Thursday, November 5th, 2015
      It absolutely well, Brian. They will be leaps and bounds ahead of their peers.
  2. Monday, November 2nd, 2015
    Great refresher Shannon! That last stat sums it up in my opinion...we think kids would rather not learn about money but I think we do them a disservice through that assumption and associated silence on the topic. My parents did very little in teaching me about money. The main thing I remember was them saying if they had $50 left over after paying bills at the end of each month they wondered who they didn't pay. Not too surprisingly, they dealt with debt for years. It was during my years of paying off my own debt I committed to any future children having a far different experience. It may not always be easy to know where to start - but there are opportunities everywhere. You just need to start. :)
    • Shannon Ryan
      Thursday, November 5th, 2015
      Thanks, John! And yes, starting is the key. You don't have to know all the answers; you can learn together. Your children will definitely leave home knowing how to make good decisions with their money through all the guidance you and Nicole are giving your kids.
  3. Monday, November 2nd, 2015
    I had a client ask me last week when they should start talking to their kids about money. Their kids are in high school and college. I wanted to say 15 years ago! Your blog is exactly what parents need to be reading. Money is a part of life and that means you should start teaching your kids about it early on, just like you would manners, respecting others, etc. Unfortunately, so many parents don't do this!
    • Shannon Ryan
      Thursday, November 5th, 2015
      I get that question a lot too. So many parents wait and end up running after their kids as leave home for college. While it's still better late than never, their ability to help shape (or let's be real – reshape) their money mindset is limited. The best way to help your kids build a healthy relationship is start when they are young and be their biggest influence.
  4. Monday, November 2nd, 2015
    Money was a largely taboo topic when we were growing up, except that we knew well that there wasn't enough to go around. This is why we started talking money with our kids when they were barely 3. So far, it's working and they're all competent and responsible money managers. It's such a relief, knowing we really have changed our financial family tree.
    • Shannon Ryan
      Thursday, November 5th, 2015
      You and Rick have done a tremendous job changing your financial story and your kids have watched and learned and be actively taught. You truly have given them a wonderful gift and changed your financial family tree.
  5. Monday, November 2nd, 2015
    I keep posting your articles on FB in hopes that my friends with kids pay attention. It's too late for me (lol!) but I do witness some things that my friends are doing which make me kind of cringe. But I try not to judge because I'm not a parent. I just think the best thing is to lead by example. How can you teach your kids about money if you are behaving in an opposite kind of way, and I think kids can see and sense that.
    • Shannon Ryan
      Thursday, November 5th, 2015
      Thank you for sharing my posts on Facebook. I really appreciate it, Tonya! It is hard to witness conversations and actions that make your cringe (I experience the same thing) and I agree - the best way to teach - is to lead by example. Parents need to be good financial role models.
  6. Monday, November 2nd, 2015
    Great post! We are already making sure our kids are exposed to money conversations and we will be teaching them more and more as they get older. I don't think you can start too early. Part of it is just not being embarrassed to talk about money with you spouse when your children are around.
    • Shannon Ryan
      Thursday, November 5th, 2015
      Great point, Cat. Chris and I make a point to have money conversations around the girls, so they can witness us talking about money and not keeping secrets from one another. Too many kids only witness money argument, which is unfortunate. And I agree - you can never start too early. Even if your kids don't grasp what you're talking about, it's still good for you and your husband.
  7. Monday, November 2nd, 2015
    We didn't talk about money in our household growing up. The only thing I remember with clarity involving money, was when the recession hit in 1990 and 1991. Money was tight and spending was reigned in and everyone was having problems. I remember in school, some kids not being able to bring a lunch to school because their parents just didn't have any extra money.
    • Shannon Ryan
      Thursday, November 5th, 2015
      It tough (and scary) when the only conversations you ever witness or experience are when money is in short supply. It is a reality, but it doesn't paint the whole picture of money, nor does it help kids learn how to truly cope in those situations, which they will experience to varying degrees in their lifetime.
  8. Monday, November 2nd, 2015
    Money was not something we talked about growing up, which is a shame. My parents did a great job with work ethic but money was something grown ups worried about. The problem is that kids will someday be grownups and it's much easier to start learning money basics when minds are young and malleable.
    • Shannon Ryan
      Thursday, November 5th, 2015
      So many parents use the excuse money is a grown up concern, which is true, to a degree. I don't want the girls to stress over whether we can pay the bills either, but as you aptly pointed out - kids will be grown-ups and need to know how to manage their money too. And it is so much easier to instill good money habits and help them build a healthy relationship with money when they are young and malleable.
  9. Monday, November 2nd, 2015
    I couldn't agree more. While my parents shared a few things finance-related, I did not get many answers to questions that I raised. I think that really impacted my view of money, for better or for worse. I learned a lot about money from random books I read at the library about finance, but I'm not sure that was such a good thing. I hope that when I have children I'll be able to pass down the truth and not reinforce the many financial myths that exist in society today.
    • Shannon Ryan
      Thursday, November 5th, 2015
      I'm not sure how money ever became such a taboo topic in our homes but it has really affected us. I have no doubt when you and Victoria became parents that you will help them become financially literate and be great financial role models for them.
  10. Tuesday, November 3rd, 2015
    My parents never talked to me about money and they are still weird about talking to me about money. We have been including Will on money conversations for years now and I love that he's a part of it. The other day he said the words "If it's in the budget" and I almost cried tears of joy. We all have to live on budgets and it's important for our kids to understand the consequences of the choices we make and why we make them. Having that foundation is huge for them making their own smart money choices.
    • Shannon Ryan
      Thursday, November 5th, 2015
      When the girls say things like that or confirm with me that I pay the credit card bill in full every month so we don't waste money on interest charges makes me so happy too. They, like Will, really like being a part of the conversation and they are learning so much from being a part of it. Like you said, this foundation we are giving our children will make a huge difference in their lives and it's a real shame more kids don't leave home with this knowledge.
  11. Wednesday, November 4th, 2015
    Great post! My parents were good financial role models and encouraged us to save and invest. But we didn't really talk about money much either. I think most parents don't feel like kids understand those issues, or they themselves don't feel confident to talk about money matters. However, kids are a lot smarter than we give them credit really is very important to involve them in discussions about money.
    • Shannon Ryan
      Thursday, November 5th, 2015
      Kids are so much smarter than we give them credit for and they really pay attention to what we do and say. Many parents don't feel very confident about money, which is a huge part of the problem. However, I firmly believe it's okay to not know everything and to learn together. These conversations help everyone, parents included.
  12. Wednesday, November 4th, 2015
    Children are going to learn about taboo subjects one way or another and I'd rather be the one to explain it and teach the "why" about everything in life than other folks. Have to invest in teaching your children or they will likely pick up poor habits. A little bit of extra time would likely save a lifetime of trying to catch up from being in debt. Challenge is most parents are in debt as well.
    • Shannon Ryan
      Thursday, November 5th, 2015
      I want to be the one to explain it too. Being in debt, definitely makes parents concerned about the kinds of their questions their kids will ask. And I get that it is hard and likely uncomfortable. But even more so, the kids really need to have these kinds of money talks with parents to avoid repeating the same mistakes and to understand how they can help too
  13. Friday, November 6th, 2015
    I am always a role model to my kids so that they learn money values and skills in a natural way. And, whenever they ask questions, I try as much as possible to put it in a lower shelve for them to understand and apply it in real life.
  • 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