It is really never too early to start speaking to your kids about money.
One expert says children are more financially aware than we think, and if you wait until high school for that discussion, it might be too late.
Mary Beth Fenton of BMO Nesbitt Burns in Halifax told our newsroom parents should talk to their kids about money in a practical way.
“A family’s lifestyle may not reflect their wealth,” Fenton said, “and it’s important in those situations that you do talk to the children about it and that the financial situation at home is fine but, you know, here’s where our money’s coming from and we don’t want to squander it, kind of thing.”
Fenton said it is important to give examples of good and bad so children understand things can be costly when you least expect it.
She said putting financial gifts from birthdays or Christmas away in a savings account or another investment can be confidence-building for some kids.
“Not every household follows the stock market,” Fenton said. “Tell them to pick a name that’s near and dear to their heart, like McDonald’s … and they can watch it on a regular basis and see how it goes up and down.”
Another exercise, she said, can be letting your kids take the lead on choosing a sight-seeing event or restaurant on a family vacation based on a set dollar amount.