Let’s Talk Money, Kids

Real Money Talk

Kids at King Elementary get answers to their money questions

Real talk about money can feel pretty taboo. And if the conversation is with your kids? Even more of a minefield.

For an episode of her Panoply podcast “Open Account” which goes live today, former MTV correspondent (and mom of a 4-year-old) SuChin Pak interviewed kids at King Elementary School in Portland, to field their questions about money, and help find some answers. She also took the time to answer some questions from PDXParent.com, below.

Check out Umpqua Bank’s podcast here.

(Previous episodes feature more cool money-related musings from Oregonians, including local photographer/writer Margaret Lyons and her ex-husband, Leif Jacobsen, discussing how they navigate shared financial responsibilities after divorce, and Trail Blazer player Meyers Leonard on striking it rich after growing up poor.)

PDX Parent: What did you learn from the kids at King Elementary in Portland? What kinds of money questions are on their minds?

Pak: I think kids this age may not have a grasp about the economics of money, but they have a clear understanding of how money can reflect a value system. We talked a lot about fairness, equality and justice, but we also had some great conversation about what money would look like if kids could reinvent it.

PDX Parent: Why do you think it’s important for everyone to talk more openly and honestly about money?

Pak: Money is at the center of so much in our lives such as our personal relationships, our family, and our work. It’s important to bring honesty into that conversation, to build a community around being open about money can only better our lives. We can make better, more informed decisions when we talk openly about things.

PDX Parent: What types of financial advice can we expect to hear in future episodes of the Open Account podcast?

Pak: I think this podcast is about learning through other people’s successes and failures. It’s not a lecture series, but rather a personal conversation about finance that’s honest and open. We talk about a wide range of topics related to money: from asking entrepreneurs how to build a company that includes emotional investment in their bottom line, to even how immigrant communities find their way around conversations about money and cultural identity.

Want more? Here are a few tips from Umpqua Bank on how to talk with your kids about money (and check out their Learn to Earn app for more hands-on learning.)

  1. Make it Real – Learning and talking about money is easier to understand when children have money to manage. Allow children to earn an allowance and then work with them to allocate their funds into three categories: money to share, save and spend. Use the three areas as opportunity to have a conversation about the importance of each.
  2. Keep it front and center – Encourage children to keep their money somewhere they can see their savings grow, such as a glass jar. When the time is right, help them open a savings account and work with them to track the interest they earn on their money.
  3. Coach Smart Spending Decisions –  With adult supervision, allow children to make basic purchasing decisions. “Mistakes” might happen — take advantage of the opportunity to talk through purchasing decisions and the value of money.
  4. Demonstrate Credit Basics – When using a credit card in a restaurant or store, take time to talk with kids about the basics of how credit cards work. Follow up by engaging them in the monthly credit card bill paying process.
  5. Set Goals– Setting goals together helps children learn the value of money and saving through constructive conversation. For example, when planning a family vacation, talk about the saving requirements for that vacation as a family. Establish financial goals for each child based on their desired vacation activities and then work with them to track their overall progress.

Ali Wilkinson
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Ali Wilkinson

Online Editor at PDX Parent
Ali Wilkinson is the Online Editor for PDX Parent, and is one of the founders of PDX Kids Calendar. She loves exploring Portland with her three small children, especially when the explorations lead outdoors, to music or to ice cream. You can read more from Ali at www.runknitlove.com.
Ali Wilkinson
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