What are you telling your kids about the economy?

Filed under: Work Life, In The News

Wall StreetMy husband and I have a new routine these days: every evening, when he comes home from work, he sits at the kitchen table while I finish dinner and we talk about the economy -- about the stock market and our own investments and our longer-term plans. We feel pretty good about our own financial situation, but not good enough to stop talking about it, apparently.

We've been trying to explain the current economic crisis to our kids, but since they are six and eight, it's hard to find a way to talk about what's going on in the world that is age-appropriate. We talk often with them about responsible spending, just in general, and about what it means to work and to save. They earn an allowance and have a specific list of chores to do around the house; they also see me working at home, and they see my husband leave every day for his office, so they at least know that money doesn't grow on trees.

But we're not sure how to explain what's going on right now on Wall Street, or in Washington.

Experts say that it is important to talk to your kids about the economy, particularly if it is at topic that is coming up repeatedly in your house. "It's good enough for young kids to know we may be in for a bit of an economic downturn, and they're not used to that," says Mark Schug, a professor emeritus with the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Center for Economic Education. "They would have no memory of a time when the American economy was in a little bit of a rough patch." Find examples that will resonate with them; point out the cost of registering for basketball, or of their new shoes. Let them see you spending and saving responsibly.

Are you talking about the financial crisis with your kids? Do you have any good tips to share?

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.