It's hard enough to say no to ourselves when it comes to unnecessary spending — getting that $4.35 latte just because, for example. So why is it always such a surprise when we lose battles against the everyday wants (not needs) of our very determined and savvy children?
If this sounds familiar, you aren't alone.
Academics and mental health professionals agree that parental feelings about money color how we deal with our children's requests and expectations. One 2014 study by researchers at North Carolina State University and the University of Texas found that parents would talk to kids about saving and budgeting but not about the actual state of family finances. This puts kids at a disadvantage when it comes to smart money management.
Plus, it's not like there is a lot of slack in most family budgets. According to the USDA (which tracks such things), the cost to raise a child in the U.S. from birth to age 18 is now an eye-popping $245,000.
Instilling good financial habits
Solid financial habits are important to instill early. The consequences of money illiteracy are high, from mountains of student loan debt to ID theft or the inability to get a mortgage. The best advice overall may come in the form of something incredibly simple: If you want something, you have to work for it.
What's your approach?
We'd love to know how you handle the worst cases of the “I wants.” Are you more likely to come back to your child with:
- a firm N-O with a side of … “Money doesn't grow on trees!”
- a pointed speech about how …”Money is all about how you manage it.”
- a laid-back answer like, “You're only young once! Spend away,” as long as they appreciate it.
Let us know what worked for you in the comments below.