You probably wouldn't smoke a joint in front of your kids, but max out a credit card or ignore a bill?
While parents seem to agree that having the "drug talk" is relatively easy to do, having a meaningful conversation about money is harder. Much harder. According to a new study from investment firm T. Rowe Price, only 7 percent of parents said the drug talk was hard to have, but that number jumped to nearly 20 percent when parents were asked about how it felt to talk to their kids about money.
Why is it so hard to talk about money? One reason is that parents themselves may struggle to practice what they preach. A mother and daughter might consider a Saturday trip to Home Depot or Macy's just another shopping trip. In reality the outing is a field experiment in financial management. Maxing out credit cards to buy more stuff or accepting on-the-spot store credit cards, could be bad habits parents are demonstrating their kids, according to a story on MSN Money. Another trap: Complaining about or ignoring bills.
Plenty of evidence points to the importance of parental role modeling with money in developing good financial habits for life. Studies have shown that adults whose parents were involved in teaching them about money had better credit scores and less credit card debt than those who didn't get money lessons from mom or dad.
It's not just talking about money that is difficult for parents. Money also has a major impact on the way parents actually behave around their children, which is one more reason for mothers and fathers to get real about their financial lives. Parents who are stressed out financially are less likely to be able to demonstrate patience, self-control and attention, according to a recent story by Huffington Post columnist Lisa Belkin.
Having the "drug talk" might be easier because the bottom line is simple--just say no. But that doesn't mean the money talk should be ignored, even though fully one-third of parents are doing just that, according to the T. Rowe Price survey.
If you're reading this and feeling guilty already, stop right there: It's never too late to have a good dollars and cents conversation. Dozens of websites and resources online provide tips and ideas about how to model and talk about money, including Pathway to Financial Success and Jump$tart. Also planning for the upcoming summer vacation, jobs or camp could offer an opportunity to talk about money.
“In the summer there tends to be a little more interaction with mom and dad and other relatives,” Brent Neiser, a certified financial planner from the National Endowment for Financial Education, told the Wall Street Journal. “There are events throughout the summer that will allow for time to talk about finances, that can be teachable moments.”