By Kelley Keehn
FP Canada Consumer Advocate
Did your parents talk to you about money when you were growing up? Do you find yourself wanting to educate your own children about budgeting, saving and other financial topics, but don’t know where to start? Well, mark April 17th in your calendar as a great time to spark the conversation. The third Wednesday of April celebrates Talk with Our Kids About Money Day.
Where do our kids stand?
“In the last Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) survey, Canada came in second in the world in terms of financial literacy among those countries surveyed,” states Gary Rabbior, CEO of the Canadian Foundation for Economic Education. “That speaks well for the progress that Canada is making—but we need to keep in mind that the state of financial literacy in many other countries is not particularly good. We are doing well in Canada, though, and there are expanding efforts to do more.”
Reasons for optimism
Gary feels there are many reasons to be hopeful for young Canadians. For example:
They understand the importance of financial literacy in their lives and want to learn about money;
There is rapidly growing interest and effort to do more in our schools;
We are getting better at financial education and learning from past mistakes and successes; and
Improvements in technology, communication, etc. are putting more and better resources into the hands of youth.
However, Gary cautions that the “greater challenge is now with the many Canadians who have not had adequate preparation or education, have not been able to resist the pressures and influences, and who have gotten themselves into situations of being over-extended and living beyond their means.” As a result, he says, many Canadians are living “lives that are far too full of stress, anxiety and feeling out of control.”
Why is it important to talk to your kids about money?
Gary believes there are many benefits to talking to your kids about money. Here are a few to convince you, if you aren’t already:
Talking to your kids about money can help them develop good financial behaviours at an early age—which is much easier than trying to modify behaviours later in life.
It can help foster financial health and well-being, which ultimately contributes to positive mental and physical health and well-being.
Helping your kids learn from early, small mistakes can teach big life lessons.
It can help prepare your child for all those who will try and influence their money decisions.
Beginning money talks early can position you as a key source of help and advice later in life.
Kids want to learn about money at home—so the “interest door” is open.
By helping your kids learn from your mistakes, you can help them avoid making those same mistakes.
In the future, looking back, you’ll wish you had helped—so why not start now?
Are you ready to have the talk? Empower yourself to get on board this April 17th and beyond. Visit talkwithourkidsaboutmoney.com/ today for tools and resources to get you and your children started on a solid path to financial well-being.
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For more on families and money, read How to teach your children good financial habits and How to have "that talk" about money with your spouse and family.