Friday, April 22, 2016

When Your Kid Poses An Awkward Money Question, Ask "Why Do You Ask?"

Awkward Money Question From Child

“Mom, how much money do you make?”

“Are we in debt?”

“Are we rich like Jenny’s family?”

“How come we don’t get to go to Europe for a vacation?”


Do you...

  • Ignore?
  • Change the topic?
  • Stall?
  • Engage?

Try a little bit of stalling and a lot of engagement.

What’s the stall tactic?

Ask your child: “Why do you ask?”

Be sure to use a friendly tone, not an indignant one. You want to encourage communication, not scare it off.

Now you’ll have a few moments to gather your thoughts and think through an age-appropriate response. More importantly, you’ll gain some insight into the question behind the question. Is your child anxious about the family’s financial situation? Being teased by peers? Feeling inadequate? Jealous? Randomly curious?

Those answers may lead you to a very different conversation. And a more thoughtful, helpful one.

As Ron Lieber says: “Every conversation about money is also about values.” So embrace the awkward money conversation, but find out where it’s coming from first.

To learn more about having thoughtful money conversations with your kids, read Ron’s excellent book, The Opposite of Spoiled.

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