Most of us will be tempted to change the topic or ignore it altogether. However, do remember that it’s best for your kids to get information from you – especially if it’s a sensitive topic – rather than an equally-clueless friend or worse yet, from the World Wide Web.
Another plus point: As you talk junior through a specific topic, you will also realise just how much you’ll learn about yourself and your money habits.
Here are four vey common questions that will pop into your peewee’s head at some point and they will blurt out at a time when you least expect it. Read on for tips on how to answer them well and in a way that your child will understand. Plus, it’s also a great way to instil good values about money in them.
Use this opportunity to remind your kids, or introduce them to the concept of needs and wants. For example, “We need a car, but we don’t need a new car.”
Awkward money question #1
Also known as The comparison question
Will sound like “Why does so-and-so have a new something and we don’t?”
Why your child will ask this This question can vary depending on the object and the person. For example, if your child is referring to a toy you don’t have the budget to buy, the question will sound like this: “Why does my classmate have the Nintendo Switch and I don’t?”. If she sees that your neighbour, sibling, or friend made a big purchase recently and compares it to what you have, then junior will phrase it this way: “How come Uncle Joe got a new car? Ours is a lot older”.
How to answer Use this opportunity to remind your kids, or introduce them to the concept of needs and wants. For example, “We need a car, but we don’t need a new car.” If you haven’t done so, also take this time to let them know every family has a different set of rules and values, and they may not always be the same as yours.
Awkward money question #2
Also known as The point-blank question
Will sound like “How much do you make?”
Why your child will ask this It can stem from feeling worried about whether you can afford the lifestyle you’re currently leading – yes, kids do notice such stuff! Sometimes, it can also be part of the comparison question. Junior curiosity might have also been sparked after hearing other kids boast about how much their parents earn or about a friend’s parent losing his or her job.
How to answer Revealing the actual figure isn’t as important as teaching your kids about how you use your salary. Such as, to buy groceries, pay for tuition, travel, and so on. It might also help if you break it down into “how much is enough”, “how much is not enough”, and “how much is more than enough”. This is similar to what you just told them about families not having the same rules and values. For example, you can say “Our family’s definition of ‘enough’ and differs from Uncle Joe’s or your classmate’s.”
Awkward money question #3
Also known as The awareness question
Will sound like “Are we rich or poor?”
Why your child will ask this Kids see everything in black and white, and that’s how they will ask the questions as well. When junior notices that all families are not created equal, he will start comparing everyone in terms of physical characteristics, or other visible traits, such as money. This leads them to try to figure out where their family stands in terms of money.
How to answer Start off by asking them why they are asking you that question. Then ask what their definition of rich and poor is? This is a good starting ground for talking about what their money goals are and how to achieve them. Also, if your kids have money stereotypes (e.g. men make more money than women), this is a great time way to correct them and guide them towards healthier perspectives.
When junior notices that all families are not created equal, he will start comparing everyone in terms of physical characteristics, or other visible traits, such as money.
Awkward money question #4
Also known as The money tree question
Will sound like “Why can’t you just get more money?”
Why your child will ask this Somewhat related to the comparison question. It also includes feeling dissatisfied that you said you don’t have enough money to buy something, plus the need for instant gratification.
How to answer Ask them if they think more money will make them happier. Tell them that you’ve chosen the job and lifestyle you have because these make you happy or because they help fulfil your life goals. This would also be a great time to tell junior that the choices you’ve made also allows you to spend more time with them, and reinforce that more money isn’t the solution to all their problems.
So as you can see parents, the key to answering tough money questions is to ask them where they are coming from. Shying away from them or thinking that our kids are too young to understand won’t help. It’s best to be honest and answer them in a way they will understand and prepare them to tackle real money issues in time to come.
This article was written by BankBazaar Singapore, a leading online marketplace in Singapore that helps consumers compare and apply for the best offers across all financial products: credit cards, personal loans, home loans, car loans & investments.
In case you missed these…