Home is the primary place where most people learn about personal finances. Yet plenty of people have never stopped to connect the dots between their own financial habits and how their parents managed — or mismanaged — their money.
That’s according to the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, or NFCC, a nonprofit consumer credit counseling organization in Washington, D.C.
Not only are many people unaware of the impact their parents’ actions might have had on their own current financial behavior, but they also don’t see how they might pass along those same behaviors to their own children.
“Whether parents are astute money managers or woefully lacking in financial skills, their behavior influences what the children are learning and likely will impact how they’ll handle their own finances as adults,” NFCC spokeswoman Gail Cunningham said in a statement. “Understanding this dynamic should serve as an incentive for adults to improve their own grasp of personal finance because, like it or not, their actions in this area will speak loudly.”
Parents should demonstrate responsible money choices through their own behavior and make a conscious effort to impart age-appropriate financial skills to their children. Although conversations about money can begin with children of preschool age, the NFCC suggests the following 10 questions as ways to start such discussions with teenagers.
1. Should children be paid to do household chores?
2. Could you live on the current federal minimum hourly wage of $7.25?
3. If not, how would you persuade your boss to pay you more?
4. How many hours would be be willing to work to pay for the new tennis shoes you want?
5. How does a checking account differ from a debit card?
6. Why do credit card issuers charge different rates?
7. What do the initials CD stand for? (Hint: it’s not a compact disc.)
8. Could you save $1 every day from now until Christmas?
9. If you received $100 for your birthday, what would you do with the money?
10. What’s the difference between collision and liability car insurance?
“By improving their own financial skills, parents can make a positive impact on their children’s financial futures,” Cunningham said. “That’s truly a gift that can last a lifetime.”
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