How can you make sure your kids grow up to know the value of a buck, work hard, pay their bills, helps others and not be taken in by cons? Use these questions in your next Money Group to make sure you're sending your kids the right messages about money.
- What's your money personality? Your spouse's? (Jean's take: Your attitudes toward money will naturally rub off on your kids. Be sure to recognize any hang-ups you might have that you don't want to pass along. I didn't want my kids to inherit my penchant for impulse buys, for example, so now I make sure when I'm shopping for clothes—for them or for me—that we try our best to stick to a list of exactly what we need or exactly what we set out to buy.)
- Do you and your spouse fight about money? If so, what kind of message do you think that sends to your kids? (Jean's take: A fight is different than a disagreement. It's just as bad for your kids if they believe you're pushing your feelings under the rug and ceding to your spouse's every wish. They need to know they have a voice and it should be heard!)
- What were your parents like with you about money? (Jean's take: The way you grew up can have a big effect on how you relate to your kids about money. If your folks counted every dime and made you crazy, you may easily compensate by overindulging your kids every time they want a new toy or DVD that, frankly, they probably don't need.)
- If your child throws a fit in the toy store or at the candy counter, what do you do? (Jean's take: It's so tempting to say yes to stop the tantrum, but that's such a bad idea. If you repeatedly give in, your kids won't learn there are limits to both the things they can have and the extent of your bank account.)
- If your child forgets his sneakers at school on Friday, do you rush out to buy another pair so he or she will have them for the weekend? (Jean's take: Teaching kids consequences is an important part of a financial education. If Mom doesn't open her wallet every time Junior gets in a jam, he'll learn the basics he needs to manage money responsibly.)
- What does your child do with their allowance? Or the money they earn from odd jobs like babysitting or cutting lawns? Is he or she spending it all at once on junk or saving for a bigger, more important purchase? What do you think about their spending decisions?
- When your child gets a birthday check from their grandparents or an extra $10 from a favorite aunt, what does he or she usually want to do with it? What do you suggest?
- Your child wants an iPod and you quite simply can't afford it. What strategies do the two of you come up with to help him or her earn the money to buy it themselves?
- Knowing your kids, what will be the biggest challenge you'll face when it comes to teaching them about money?
- Who might be able to help you teach your kids about money? A trusted grandparent? A close friend of the family? A responsible older cousin?
Please note: This is general information and is not intended to be legal advice. You should consult with your own financial advisor before making any major financial decisions, including investments or changes to your portfolio, and a qualified legal professional before executing any legal documents or taking any legal action. Harpo Productions, Inc., OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network, Discovery Communications LLC and their affiliated companies and entities are not responsible for any losses, damages or claims that may result from your financial or legal decisions.