4 conversation starters about money (for kids)

Let’s all start having positive conversations about money with our kids.  Money is often viewed as a taboo subject. Many parents would rather educate their kids about sex than money! If we overlook discussing money though, this will have a damaging effect which will be passed down to the next generation. The key to financial success is the following, in order of importance:

  1. Positive mindset

  2. Good habits

  3. Financial knowledge

This may be surprising to some of you but there is in fact a lot of science behind this (see references at the end of this blog if you want to learn more) - A positive mindset is top of the list. This means we, as parents, need to talk openly and positively amount money with our kids, regardless of any negative views you may have towards money based on your experience.  The question is, where do you start in terms of these conversations with your kids?  Below I have set out 4 different conversation starters focussed on developing a ‘Positive mindset’. I’ve also thrown in some pointers to help guide the conversation but it’s best to start with an open question and see what responses you get.

1. Does money make you happy?

A classic money question!  See what they say. As I said at the start, it’s their mindset that will kick start their road to financial security. This question will give you great insight in to their current mindset. Use this as an opportunity to get them to think about what does make them happy. They should come to appreciate that things which make most people happy are FREE (hopefully they will say friends, family, health and freedom, inspired by recent lockdown experiences). Essentially you want to help them learn that money is just a tool - it’s instead what people do with their money that determines their happiness. If you’d like to do some reading on this topic before your dinner-time conversation, I suggest reading this blog (link)

2. What are the different uses of money?

This is such an important discussion to have with your kids. They will all know that money is for spending.  Of concern is if they believe that spending is the only use for money. We need to make sure they realise there are other uses of money.  For completeness, here’s my list of the uses of money:

  • Saving up to buy something in the future (delayed gratification)

  • Saving for the long-term to earn more money (wealth building)

  • For sharing and helping others (charity)

These uses are not taught in most schools so it’s important for them to learn and understand.  Again, if you’d like to do some reading on this topic before your dinner-time conversation, I suggest reading this blog (link)

3. Where does money come from?

This one can provide some really insightful answers. You can expect “a hole in the wall” or “it grows on trees”.  This is a great opportunity to talk about work and money. The younger they can appreciate that money has to be earned, the younger they are going to appreciate its value.  Talk to them about your work and why you get paid. You might even cover how money ends up in the ‘hole in the wall’. Two related topics which I’d suggest you discuss during this conversation are:

  • Earning money by putting money in the bank (granted there are limited earnings at the moment with very low interest rates) or earning money by investing their savings. More information on this topic can be found here (link)

  • Entrepreneurship. Let them know early that whilst most people work for a company, others start their own companies. This might spark a real interest and, you never know, they might have a real talent for it. Here’s a link for more information on that topic (link).

4. Rich versus Wealthy

As a kid I wanted to be RICH and have a fancy house and cars. I never really thought about the difference between being rich versus being wealthy. I now realise I want to be wealthy. My definition is that RICH is about having (or appearing to have) money now. Wealth is about having enough money so you don’t have to worry about money in the future. Ask your kids if they know the difference.  A great quote on this particular topic: “When most people say they want to be a millionaire, what they really mean is "I want to spend $1 million," which is the opposite of being a millionaire.” To learn more about Rich versus Wealthy then please read this blog (link) Summary There you have it, the key to financial success is to have a positive mindset, good habits and financial knowledge.  Try out these 4 different conversation starters focussed on developing a positive mindset. Pick one for your next family dinner and see what responses you get.  Remember, be open with your kids but keep it positive. If you have made mistakes, let them know how you’ve learnt from them so they can learn from your experience too.

Hopefully these conversations spark an interest in money. Make sure you subscribe to receive weekly articles to help you teach your kids about different money topics. Talking about money can change your kids lives for the better. 

To really help your kids learn about money and form great money habits, check out the new online Blue Tree ‘Habit Maker’ Tool. Kids can record money they receive and start forming great money habits. It also has a quiz and game to make sure they are learning about money in a fun way. Learn more here!

Please help share this blog with other parents so that we can all work together to break the ‘taboo’ status of money. We need to break this taboo as there are too many people suffering from financial stress in silence as a result. 

Thank you for reading!


Summary of blogs (with links) referred to above:

Don't delay - help your kids form great money habits today! LINK