The following post is from staff writer Melissa Batai

Every week, my kids and I go to the park so they can play with other kids in our homeschool group. One little eight year old boy is the envy of the group because he has a motorized scooter. He let my son try it out. My son liked it, so the little boy, I’ll call him Joe, said nonchalantly, “You should ask your parents for one for your birthday or Christmas. It’s only a couple of hundred bucks.” With that he scooted off.

I *think* I looked normal on the outside after that comment, but inside, I was astonished for several reasons.

First, I spend a couple of hundred dollars TOTAL for my three kids for Christmas. I have never spent a couple of hundred dollars on ONE toy for ONE child for Christmas. Birthday presents are usually capped at $50. A motorized scooter will probably never be under the tree for my kids.

Second, Joe’s comment was as nonchalant as if he had told my son, “You can get a soda for 69 cents at the gas station.” He had no real concept of a couple of hundred dollars.

Third, I’ve often talked to Joe’s mother, and I know that they’re really struggling financially. His dad is only working part-time at a low paying job, and his mom started her own business a few years ago, but it’s not taking off the way she’d like. She’s currently looking for a full-time job. They’re behind on both their car and house payments.

On Not Explaining Your Financial Situation to Your Kids

I don’t know if Joe’s parents have explained their financial situation to Joe, but based on his attitude, I don’t think so. Joe is an only child, and his house is full of toys for indoors and outdoors.

Certainly, not telling Joe about their financial situation allows Joe a more carefree, idyllic childhood. Who wants to worry about money as a young child?

On the other hand, if his parents haven’t explained their situation, they’re setting Joe up in a way. Eventually the lifestyle they’re leading will come to an end, and that will be a shock to Joe if he doesn’t really know anything is wrong.

On Explaining Your Financial Situation to Your Kids

My husband and I have been paying off debt for a few years now. We still have student loans to pay off, and we’re on a very strict budget so we don’t go any further into debt. Our kids know about clipping coupons (my oldest, who is 10, is a real coupon maven), shopping sales, and garage sales. They know about our tight grocery budget. In fact, my nearly 5 year old will say to me, “No more groceries now, mama. You’ve spent enough.”

I don’t really like that they’re already so cognizant of money, but on the other hand, life is easier that way. They know that a motorized scooter is not in the budget; in fact, they’ve never asked me for one. They may mention somethings that they like, but they almost never whine and nag for things the way other kids do.

My Question for You

Do you think kids should have at least some awareness of their parents’ financial situation, or does the old saying “Ignorance is bliss” prevail here?

Financial Peer Pressure

The following post is from staff writer Melissa Batai I’ll be honest. I hated high school. I know some people love high school and say it was the best four years of their lives. Not me. I hated the peer pressure and the expectations to conform. Early on, I knew my own personality and was […]

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Who Handles Filing The Taxes in Your Marriage?

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3 Steps to Take to Make Your Tween More Responsible With Money

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How to Handle Finances When Making a Move

The following post is from staff writer Melissa Batai Last July, our family moved 2,000 miles, from the suburbs of Chicago to Tucson, Arizona. I thought the most challenging part would be purging our stuff, packing up our remaining stuff, living in a vacation rental for a month while we searched for a house, buying […]

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Miss a Birthday Party, Get an Invoice Demanding Payment

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Working from Home with Little Ones Without Losing Sight of your Relationship

The following post is written by Sarah Brooks Whether you work from home and your partner works in an office or you both work from home, it can often be hard to separate work-life from home-life. I know this first hand, as I have been working from home for nearly three years. Add in two […]

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Unlocking Your Portfolio Potential: 4 Keys to Successful Investing

You’re ready to start investing, but you have questions – who doesn’t? Most amateur investors make a lot of mistakes before they finally “get it.” Unfortunately, those mistakes tend to be quite expensive. But, you don’t have to go through the same mistakes everyone else does. Here are 4 ways to bypass the learning curve. […]

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