Monday, January 19, 2009

kids and finances

My oldest was in the kitchen when I told my hubby about the phone call I'd received earlier in the day from Schwab. My 401K rollover is managed by them and they are offering a free chat with an advisor in case I want to make any adjustments to my portfolio. Yes, I still have one, although its value has dropped of late.

The next day she wanted to know what all the words we were tossing around meant. 401k, mutual fund, rollover, etc. While I was explaining some of these terms she asked some very pointed questions about finances. Either she pays way more attention when I have MSNBC on or the cafeteria table talk has turned serious. I answered her as truthfully as I felt was needed for an almost 15 year old and then relayed the conversation to my husband yesterday as we waited for the kids to finish PRE (parish religious education) after church.

We decided to have a small family pow-wow about the current economic situation in our country and how that will impact us as a family. We kept it simple and were reassuring as we talked about the hows and whys of what was going on....and were amazed with their poise and their questions.

Kids overhear a lot. They share a lot with each other at school. They are way more savvy and in the know than you'd expect. It was the perfect opportunity to continue teaching them about money and life. We want over the whole "I want" versus "I need" issue. We talked about buying cars, houses and paying for college. We let them lead the discussion and answered, as best we could, their questions.

Later my hubby asked what percentage of the information we imparted actually sunk in. He tossed out 20, 30, 40 percent figures. I settled on 30% and told him that was a great number. What we were talking to them about isn't easy and many adults never grasp the concepts we discussed. Our parents handed the lessons on to us and we are following suit. Our kids will make mistakes, just like we did, but hopefully they will be small ones. We just have to keep talking and teaching and hope the retention rate increases.


Anne's BLOG said...

What a wonderful thing you're doing. Too many parents don't realize the importance of teaching their kids about life, finances, etc.

Liz said...

It is hard at times. Many of their friends live much 'richer' than we do and at their age, the labels and the stuff matters so much more.

Kim Smith said...

Where were YOU when I was a kid??? My mama and daddy just said, "No, you cannot have it, now shut up."


Anne's BLOG said...

Having grown up in th post-depression days, and during the WWII time, I well know the meaning of 'need' as opposed to 'want'. When WWII was going full force, almost everything was rationed: tires, metal of all kinds, gasoline, shoes, sugar, meat, canned goods.. you name it. Two pairs of shoes per year was 'living high'. Our family lived simply, yet we never felt lacking in love and the necessities of life. We repaired and recycled before those words were even 'known'. There was no such thing as a 'discount' or 'big box' store. Vegetable gardens were the norm, and many families raised their own animals for beef and pork.