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How much do you share with your children about your personal financial situation?
75 replies to this topic
Posted 28 July 2019 - 04:55 PM
DS (early teens) has been asking questions about our financial position (eg how much does my job pay me, how much do we have in savings etc) and I'm not sure the best way to answer these.
I haven't shared details about our finances with him in the past - when I was a single parent, DS was too young. And then I didn't want to worry him with concerns about paying mortgages etc. Now, having recovered financially from my divorce, career has done well, remarried, etc things have changed. To date I have explained that we are ok financially, have more than enough to pay bills and that we are very well off compared to many people (eg not everyone has a house or a car etc.)
But he is a switched kid and has started asking more pointed questions about whether/how we can afford certain things. In some respects he's always been aware of money (he asked me when he was about 8 if DH and I would move out of our house and let him and his wife and kids live here as he didn't think he'd be able to afford to buy his own place - both hilarious that he wanted to evict us and sobering that he was thinking about this at 8 years old).
How much do you share with your kids? While I want to be honest and think giving him a financial education is important, when he asked me how much I earn, I was surprised by how uncomfortable I felt by the question.
How much do you share with your (older) kids about your personal finances?
Posted 28 July 2019 - 05:04 PM
I am 100% honest with our kids about our financial situation. My parents were quite wealthy and didn’t like talking about money as they found it too common, however I want my kids to have very realistic knowledge to as to how much you need to earn, as to what you want so we have always discussed earnings verses consumption.
Posted 28 July 2019 - 05:19 PM
That's a good point, knowing how much you need to earn to be able to afford the things you need/want.
My mum - a single parent for most of my life- didn't share much about finances at all. I learned a lot of things (eg how to manage a credit card) the hard way.
Posted 28 July 2019 - 05:26 PM
I'm pretty open with our kids about how much things cost etc and how much we can afford, but I don't tell them how much we earn, how much our house is worth etc because I don't want them to inadvertently bring it up when talking to others.
I try really hard to teach them the value of money and how hard it is to earn it.
Posted 28 July 2019 - 05:28 PM
Mine are both in their early 20's and share more now than mid teens. As he has been worried about being able to buy a house in the past, he might be looking more for how much you earn compared to how much you pay for a house. When my kids were younger and things were tight we would tell them we can afford to pay for house payments, bills and groceries but extra spending there just isn't anything left over once the necessities are paid. When we moved and sold our house we had more disposable income.
Posted 28 July 2019 - 05:46 PM
I’m self employed so my income fluctuates, but my kids know roughly how much I need to earn to pay mortgage and what our bills are. I’m going through super and investing now, and my 11 year old understands shares and bonds a bit. (He and I are learning together). They were quite shocked with how much holidays can cost relative to my income, and stopped bugging me for hot chocolates and ice creams all the time.
Posted 28 July 2019 - 05:57 PM
We are honest too with what I earn and how much for living and school fees. We show them the school fees and tell them to try hard and get involved with what school offers.
We also went on our first overseas holiday this year. We saved for two years for it. Back at school kids said to my kids that we must be rich to have gone away. My kids all replied that we are not rich but worked and saved hard.
The kids also worked toward the holiday (cashing cans, work around the house etc) and they appreciated the holiday too
Posted 28 July 2019 - 05:59 PM
DS, while young, has a pretty high EQ and is discreet, so I have no doubt that when we say things stay just in our family, he abides by that. We also have social network that varies widely in terms of socio-economic backgrounds, so I suspect DS is starting to pick up on some differences.
The thing that I think is influencing me is that I have some (distant) family members who are materialistic (or pragmatic - there's an argument for both descriptions) and who are quite open about the inheritances they expect. It just feels so distasteful to me, I think I am over-sensitive at times to discussions about personal finances.
Posted 28 July 2019 - 06:06 PM
My older 18+ kids I share whatever, if I am going through tough times or whatever.
But that's just as a vent, they don't ask. They're not that interested in our finances. The younger kids care even less.
Posted 28 July 2019 - 06:07 PM
I am honest about everything in age appropriate ways.
As an example DS asked about our house when he was about 6 and I told him how much I paid for it. He then asked how I got that much money and I explained mortgages.
That prompted him to ask how much of the house we own! So I told him the laundry and back two bedrooms aren’t ours yet!
I also explained I own so much of it because I was lucky to buy a place in my 20s that doubled in value while I rented it out when married to their dad.
He’s asked what I earn and tell him and I and explain what that pays for.
He doesn’t know about the shares I own yet but knows about bank accounts and interest.
Posted 28 July 2019 - 06:12 PM
I think many people are really weird about money.
We are open with our kids about money. If they ask what we earn or how much the house is worth or what bills we pay, we just tell them.
Posted 28 July 2019 - 06:31 PM
We tend to focus more budgeting and making informed decisions when money is involved we we discuss financial matters with DD.
For example, we recently looked at investing in an EFT and talked a little about the different options and which ones we thought were right for us (risk tolerance, fees, etc). We didn’t get into how much we were investing, how we received the money etc but rather ensuring we were making the right decision on where to put it.
DD has asked some general questions like can we afford X? or if Y happened will we be okay? we have answered them honestly to address her concerns but don’t dwell on the dollar amounts.
Posted 28 July 2019 - 06:52 PM
I am age appropriate to a degree. I don't want them to stress out but I also want them to learn about money, life, budgets and so on. My parents refused to talk about money. I didn't learn about it at school so entered into adulthood having little knowledge about how it worked in real life terms. It took me a long time to learn and I made some newbie errors that took years to correct.
I try to talk to my kids about it so they hopefully won't make the same mistake.
Posted 28 July 2019 - 07:00 PM
I try to communicate not so much about numbers (with an 8 and 10 year old), but more about how we compare to the average. We live a privileged life. It's important that they understand that and know that the ease of their life is not what many other people face.
Posted 28 July 2019 - 07:08 PM
I’ve answered any money question honestly. It’s mostly DD9 who is interested in this stuff. I’ve told her what we earn, what we pay on the mortgage, what cars cost etc. She knows how credit cards work and about interest rates. I don’t particularly want her to tell others what we earn - and I doubt she would - but I wouldn’t actually mind if she did.
Posted 28 July 2019 - 07:28 PM
DD hasn't asked how much our income is(DH works, I don't) or how much our house was, but she does know roughly about money. How we're lucky that we've paid our house off so I CAN afford to stay home, and that some people still rent(explained what that means) or are paying off over time.
She knows some earn more than others, some might not be working at all but get help from the government (public school, some kids don't get breakfast at home, or have the chromebook the school asks for) to help them afford food etc.
I think people should be pretty open with their kids, or they raise kids who expect everything bought for them and they expect to be able to buy anything they want as adults, and that's not possible. I had no idea about budgets or mortgages because I wasn't taught anything about it.
Posted 28 July 2019 - 07:32 PM
My children have asked a bit about this but we have only answered saying that we are in the Top 1% in the world and are very fortunate.
Both DH and I are high income earners and have significant savings - we don’t want our children to know as we live modestly. Old cars and a modest house in a modest suburb. Children at public schools. We want them to appreciate the things they have with no expectations that we will buy them things.
However, we are looking at sending the children to very expensive private schools (grudgingly) which will mean buying a house in an expensive suburb so may need to share a bit more.
ETA: I think that it’s hard to explain to children the need to save millions for our retirement. If we told them our salary, they would wonder why we say no to small things that they want. I also don’t want any of our friends to know our income as they are on average incomes and telling them what we earn would just be embarrassing.
Edited by tothebeach, 29 July 2019 - 07:01 AM.
Posted 28 July 2019 - 07:33 PM
I’m open, if asked I answer honestly.
Having said that, I’m probably wouldn’t be that open if we were battling. Mainly because I wouldn’t want to cause unnecessary worry.
Posted 28 July 2019 - 07:40 PM
If they asked, I told them.
I've never been squeamish about money.
The only thing I wouldn't tell a kid about money is anything that would make them feel guilty or afraid.
Posted 28 July 2019 - 07:52 PM
I tell my 8 yo my weekly wage, then tell him that most of it goes on bills/necessities and the rest is divided between savings and fun. However, I do not tell him how much I have in savings accts etc as I still think he is at the age where kids migh tcompete about these things and I don't want the info shared, esp as we are in a low socioeconomic area. Not that I have a huge amount in savings - but I consider myself fortunate.
Posted 28 July 2019 - 08:01 PM
My kids wouldn't know what me and DH earn.
They know we are not poor. But that is all relative to where we live. It's a cheap place to live and the average wage would be well below the average in a city.
It's hard to hide the fact that we go skiing every year which is a rarity in our circle. That said - very few of their friends would have 2 full time working parents.
We don't drive flash cars or have a flash house, so that is less obvious.
Posted 28 July 2019 - 08:05 PM
I don't see any reason to hide what we earn from our children. I don't share our income with other adults because its embarrassing (similar to TTB). However I do feel my children should know that one of the benefits of me working so much is the income I earn which pays for private school, horse-riding, music lessons and expensive holidays - ie, those things don't grow on trees, and when I need to work late or go into the office on weekends, there is some upside for them too.
TTB - your kids might surprise you. My kids know how much I earn (roughly) and they are incredibly modest in what they ask for. We are fairly generous, but they never expect or ask for things and are explicitly grateful for what they are given (especially my Dd12).
Edited by lizzzard, 28 July 2019 - 08:12 PM.
Posted 28 July 2019 - 08:32 PM
I didnt tell my two the exact figures as I didnt actually trust them to not blab to all and sundry. I didnt want to have to put them in a position of trying to watch what they said, or editing before they opened their mouths.
They knew I shopped / shop to a budget and they have seen me keep a running tally of costs when shopping.
Now that they are older, they have a greater understanding of the cost of things. however now that they are older they dont really ask.
OP, you might find your childs interest has been tweaked by class content or discussion - especially out of the blue questions.
I dont really see any harm in being honest with them - providing you can trust them not to tell all and sundry.
Posted 28 July 2019 - 08:39 PM
yeh we are pretty open about money with our kids...we don’t invite them to fixate on it or anything....but if they ask a question we will answer it (that’s to say, i haven’t yet come across a situation where i don’t want to answer it) - the modern anxiety around talking about money is a strange thing, and i think it is relatively modern - who remembers Jane Austen - they all knew everyone’s net worth “mr darcy had x thousand a year” “she was an heiress with x amount settled upon her”.
Posted 28 July 2019 - 08:51 PM
I'm 100% honest. I want them to know the value of money and exactly what sometimes needs to be done to make ends meet or what it means to go without X so you can do Y, etc etc.
I wont project any stresses etc, but if I am asked a question, I answer it. Or if they ask why we can't do something that week, I am honest and say its because we need that money for something else.
Edited by lozoodle, 28 July 2019 - 08:51 PM.
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