From the January 2007 issue of Investment Advisor • Subscribe!

Educating Your Clients to Talk about Money with Their Kids

Teaching children fiscal responsibility is integral to their role in the family and society, yet some clients overlook the importance of this discussion. You can help your clients discuss financial concepts with their children by suggesting these key guidelines drawn from the "Children and Money Series," by Sharon M. Danes and Tammy Dunrod (Regents of University of Minnesota, 2002).

Communicate in Their Language. It is important for your clients to talk to their children from a child's perspective. For example, it is fairly common for young children to ask their parents how much money they make. But, what they are really asking is "Why can't I have that toy or attend that party?"

Use Concrete Terms. Breaking concepts into concrete terms can provide clarity. Most children are not able to visualize how concepts fit into the real world. So include children in situations where money is being earned, spent, or saved to provide them with constructive scenarios.

Observation and Example. Children are able to absorb through observation and example. Adding planned activities to observational learning is a productive way to make these concepts "stick." As children get older, it is important to include them in discussions about limits and consequences, helping them to learn about setting goals, prioritizing, and managing their own assets.

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