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October 13th, 2008

kids and finances: revisited

http://parenting.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/10/13/family-finances-or-what-to-tell-the-kids/

A surprisingly decent overview of what kids might be interested in finding out when they ask their parents about money (how much do you make, how much do you have saved, how much do you owe on the mortgage), and strategies for how to answer.

Best paragraph:

"I remember asking my own parents similar things when I was the age my teenage boys are now. My questions were far less detailed but had the same goal – to figure out what it took to pay for the life that I led. “How much money do you make?” I would ask. My father promised he would tell me when I needed to know, but I never really got a number."

The advice is so-so, but even so-so advice on this subject is far better than most of what I see out there. There needs to be more emphasis on what it costs to live a certain way, what kinds of careers can generate that much, what kind of education and life choices are necessary to succeed in those kinds of careers -- and what kind of lifestyle can be had with the kind of careers the young 'uns in question are strongly drawn to. This doesn't need to devolve into become-an-accountant-or-live-on-the-street discussion; it can become an aspiring-actors-may-need-to-wait-tables-and-shop-at-thrift-stores discussion.