Home General Finance Why Money Is Just As Important As Sex (When Talking To Your Children)

Why Money Is Just As Important As Sex (When Talking To Your Children)

written by Shelley Marsh 18/09/2013
Talking to your children about moneyTalking to your children about moneyTalking to your children about money

Most parents see it as part of their role to have the birds and the bees talk with their children.  They expect that at some point in time it is a conversation (or in most cases, several conversations) that that they will have to have.  It is seen as an integral part of the parent job description, crucial to bringing up a well rounded child.

But why is it not the same with money?  We talk openly with our children about sex but shy away from something that will be just as an integral part of their adult lives.  Think of how many money related things you do every day – go to work, buy the groceries, pay bills, use a credit card, pay the mortgage or the rent.  Whether we like it or not money is an integral part of our daily lives.  I don’t mean this in a “money is the be all and end all” kind of way because it most certainly is not.  But you have to admit understanding your finances is pretty important and the consequence of poor financial decisions can be dire.  So why isn’t it up there with sex when it comes to talking to our children?

I think part of it is that our own parents never spoke to us about money.  When I was a kid I owned the 70s classic book “Where did I come from?” but my parents never spoke to me about money.  I didn’t know about the benefits of saving or how a credit card worked, let alone how much it costs to live away from home.  In my household, all of these things were unspoken.  Maybe they thought they were shielding me from their adult concerns, but all that happened was that when I left home was that I was totally unprepared for the financial realities of the real world.  As a consequence I spent everything I earned and then some!  The result was that I had a mountain of credit card debt, a zero bank balance and little to show for my hard work.  However, my first money lesson was learnt.  Don’t spend more than you earn.

Parents need to educate their children about money and most importantly instill a positive attitude towards money.  It is something that they, like us, will have to deal with almost every day of their adult lives.  Teenagers today have far more financial decisions to make than we ever did, from which phone plan to choose to how to manage their credit cards.  In fact, in the United States they have Justin Bieber and Hello Kitty credit cards aimed at tweens!  It will be only a matter of time before we see them here.

I want my daughter to have a positive relationship with Money.  So with her third birthday we have decided to start now.  Of course it will be at a level appropriate for her age, much like the way I explain to her differences between boys and girls and why she has to sit down when she goes to the toilet!  However, it will also be an ongoing conversation for the rest of her childhood, right alongside the conversation about the birds and the bees.

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Mamagoingsolo 19/09/2013 at 9:20 pm

Great post – I have already made up my mind to make sure my daughter learns about money, first aid and self defence as a young child, if not at school then I will teach her myself. Basic life skills that everyone should learn!

Shelley Marsh 20/09/2013 at 8:53 am

Thanks Mamagoingsolo! Apart from money I also want to teach my daughter to cook. Not because she is a girl but because it is an important life skill. I am a rubbish cook and my mother never taught me but like I always say “everyobody has got to eat” so I will make sure she can cook for herself. Eerrrr but maybe I will have to improve my skills first 🙂 Money Mummy

Emily 19/09/2013 at 9:41 pm

Great post. I’ve been very aware of the fact that I use the credit card for pretty much everything (paid off in full each month) and explaining to my daughter about the money transferring behind the scenes, that our work generates that money and that we don’t just get things for nothing with the swipe of a card.

Shelley Marsh 20/09/2013 at 8:45 am

Hi Emily, you make a great point, we use our credit card a lot too (paying it off every month of course) and I think it is a great idea to explain to your kids the mechanics behind the swipe of the card. Card companys in the US are now starting to target tweens with Hello Kitty cards etc and it probably won’t be long before they do it here too. Children have to understand that there is real money which has been earned behind each transaction.

Bec | Mumma Tells 20/09/2013 at 7:30 am

I can honestly say that I’ve never thought about this. But you are SO right, Shelley! Growing up, I was never taught the value of money. I was the child of a Dad who loved to spend, and a Mum who knew better, but would shake her head knowingly rather than do anything about aforementioned spending. So what did I do when I entered the workforce? Spent, spent, spent! Did not save a cent. Nor contemplate it. I was incredibly lucky. For us, money was not an issue.
It was not until I met my Husband, who had a TOTALLY different experience with money growing up, that I learned that you don’t actually have to spend all the money to be happy. There are needs, and there are wants. And it is okay to want something and not buy it. Who knew?
This is something I will definitely take on board with my own children. A conversation worth having. More than once!

Shelley Marsh 20/09/2013 at 8:49 am

Thanks Bec, yes it is so interesting how your family and your formative years shapes your attitude to money. My husband and I came to together with totally different attitudes to money, me the spender and him the saver, it was him that changed my attitude and it is something I most definitely want to pass on to our daughter. Money Mummy

Joanne 20/09/2013 at 8:00 am

Great post. Our little man, 3 has a dollarmite savings account. Each month, we take his coins to the bank and deposit into his account. I didn’t actually think he understood what was happening until last week when he asked if we had to take the money to the bank? I said, of course. The bank helps us save our money for special things and he replied “no, they just take, take, take all your money.” Yep, kiddo that’s it. Gosh, I laughed. This month he is having a break from saving as a reward. he is saving for a show bag at the show instead. Love. Happy Friday x

Shelley Marsh 20/09/2013 at 8:41 am

Hi Joanne, out of the mouth of babes! He totally got the right idea when it comes to banks 🙂 I love the way you are doing a mix between saving and spending. Such a great idea! Money Mummy

Mrs Holsby 20/09/2013 at 8:08 am

We have already got little money boxes on the go, and we save for things he wants. At 3 that’s well ahead of my knowledge of money.
It is super important to teach about the value of money, and sex. 😉

Shelley Marsh 20/09/2013 at 8:54 am

Yes, starting young is absolutely the way to go! Thanks for stopping by. Money Mummy

Neets 20/09/2013 at 10:39 am

Loved reading this post. We are very aware of making sure the kids understand the value of money as my parents didn’t do it very well with me. A friend gave me a great idea. She has a lemonade stand with her kids so they could earn some money to buy their toys rather than just expecting it.

Shelley Marsh 20/09/2013 at 10:17 pm

Hi Neets, I love the idea of a lemonade stand! What a great way to tech your kids about money! Hopefully I will do that with my daughter when she is old enough. Thanks for the tip. Money Mummy

Danya Banya 20/09/2013 at 11:19 am

Interesting post. My daughter is 3 too, but we haven’t really delved into this area yet, except for her seeing us pay for groceries, explaining that dad goes to work so we have money to buy food etc. One of the things that I think puts parents off is the scale. How can kids understand that we can’t afford to ‘waste’ $1 on a chocolate when we spend $800 or whatever on rent or mortage repayments each week. But I don’t think that this should be a deterrent in the long term. As you say, kids need to grow up to understand this, so we can’t shy away from topic forever…

Shelley Marsh 20/09/2013 at 10:16 pm

Hi Danya, yes I think the key is to teach them about money at a level that is appropriate to their age. So, as our daughter is 3 we are starting with small things. Hopefully by the time she is a teenager then she will understand the big things like how to use a credit card wisely and the true cost of living. Money Mummy

Alison at The Thrifty Issue 20/09/2013 at 11:53 am

I remember regular conversations with my parents regarding money, yet that didn’t stop me from going crazy, not saving, going into debt etc. Not until I was well into my twenties that I came to my senses. Perhaps it was because money was tight when I was growing up that when I finally had my own money it seemed like such a treat to go and buy whatever I wanted. We plan on having open and honest conversations with our kids about money. Great blog – cheers, Alison

Shelley Marsh 20/09/2013 at 10:13 pm

Thanks Alison, yes I hear you on the going wild on the spending! Hopefully our children will do better than we did 🙂 Money Mummy

Maxabella 20/09/2013 at 1:54 pm

Very sound advice, as always! I dread the ‘sex talk’ and now I’ll dread the ‘money talk’, but both are so important. x

Shelley Marsh 22/09/2013 at 10:08 pm

Hi Maxabella, yes I dread the sex talk too! I guess these things have to be done 🙂 Money Mummy

Rhianna 20/09/2013 at 2:15 pm

Just between you and me the money talk seems way easier than the sew talk!

Shelley Marsh 20/09/2013 at 10:11 pm

Hi Rhianna, LOL! Yes I am very sure you are right! 🙂 Money Mummy

Grace 21/09/2013 at 5:49 am

Good point! As sex, money can be an emotional thing. Good idea to tackle it with your little one early.

Shelley Marsh 22/09/2013 at 10:07 pm

Thanks Grace, yes I am hoping by discussing both early that we will stop any major problems. Mind you, I think the money talk will be a lot easier than the sex one! Money Mummy

JodiGibson (@JFGibsonWriter) 21/09/2013 at 10:56 am

Yes, so important. We have always had our kids do chores and save money. I think they understand the importance of money and saving Our littlest one is such a saver. She doesn’t want to spend her money. I’m sure that will change but starting at a young age is so important. With our eldest she has her own account and a keycard as well as a savings account she can’t touch that a portion of her money must go into.

Shelley Marsh 22/09/2013 at 10:06 pm

Hi Jodi, sounds like you are doing a great job in terms of teaching your kids about money. Well done! Money Mummy

Bec | Bloggers Bazaar 21/09/2013 at 9:03 pm

Hi Shelley, love this post. So very true that it is so important to teach about money, I have always wondered why they don’t do more on money management in schools as it is so very important.
Thanks for stopping by bloggers bazaar today, you have some amazing posts / info on your blog. Well done!

Shelley Marsh 22/09/2013 at 10:05 pm

Hi Bec, I agree that schools should do so much more in terms of teaching money management and it constantly surprises me that in 2013 they do not! Money Mummy

Emily @ Have A Laugh On Me 22/09/2013 at 10:50 am

We have started to talk to our kids about where the money comes from, eg why we both work, the hours we put in. And that it just doesn’t appear out of a hole in the wall, that mummy and daddy work hard and our bosses put it in there and there’s not always much of it. Sometimes none will come out! I think making kids financially smarty is UBER important

Shelley Marsh 22/09/2013 at 10:04 pm

Hi Emily, yes it is so easy for kids to think that money magically comes from a hole in the wall and not to understand all the effort that takes place behind the scenes! Money Mummy

Tara ~ Gluten Free Hart 22/09/2013 at 5:18 pm

Great post. I am all about practicality and street smarts. Well done. I will be taking a leaf out of your book lady.

Shelley Marsh 22/09/2013 at 10:01 pm

Thanks Tara! I am with you, practicality and street smarts are the key! Money Mummy

Mumabulous 22/09/2013 at 6:14 pm

This is a very interesting post. I think some people’s recitance to discuss money with their children reflects society’s trouble with talking about it in general. Growing up my parents really instilled the importance of saving in my brother and I. As a consequence we both had our mortgages paid by our mid 30s despite not being huge earners.

Shelley Marsh 22/09/2013 at 9:59 pm

Wow! That is fantastic! You should both be very proud of yourselves. Most people dream about owning their own home but you have done it! Well done! Money Mummy

Lucy @ Bake Play Smile 09/10/2013 at 3:22 pm

What a fantastic post! My mum brought my brother and I up to be very money conscious (I suppose as a single mum she had to!) and I have carried this on throughout my adult life. I think it is so important for kids to understand the value and meaning of money… but at the same time to understand that money is not what makes you happy in life, but rather being a good person, having great friends and enjoying what you do!

Shelley Marsh 10/10/2013 at 1:53 pm

Thanks Lucy, yes we definitely need to teach our kids money smarts but also let them know that money is not everything and certainly is not the key to happiness.

NorthMelbourneMum 15/10/2013 at 10:01 pm

Great post, and very grateful that my parents gave me some good grounding in how to budget.

Shelley Marsh 16/10/2013 at 9:37 pm

Hi North Melbourne Mum, yes you are very lucky! I really hope I can give this to my daughter too!

Nic 28/04/2014 at 2:22 pm

they have Justin Bieber and Hello Kitty credit cards! That’s madness! Kids today definitely have more financial challenges then we did since there is a lot more must have technology out there.
hanks for sharing and joining in for Sunday Brunch

Digital Parents Blog Carnival - Musings of the Misguided 20/11/2014 at 6:52 pm

[…] Why Money Is Just As Important As Sex (When Talking To Your Children): We all expect to have the sex talk with our kids, but why don’t we talk about money? […]


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