Money Money Money – Talking Money With Children

Thinking back to my childhood and what stories I picked up about money, I realise that none of them came to me directly. It is the memories of over hearing conversations, my Dad being impressed with someone’s wealth, my mum treating a guest as very special because they were wealthy, going to visit ancient Aunty Claire -my Dad’s aunt who was somehow forgiven for being a bit crotchety because she drove a Rolls Royce.

It is funny how talking about money is somehow taboo, I learnt very quickly it’s not polite to ask how much do you have, or what did you pay for something. I have memories of bills arriving in a restaurant and a sort of joshing for who will pay it between the men, giving me uncomfortable feelings, and a lasting impression that women don’t pay. My memory of my parents in those moment were not so much seeing them as joyful, rather competitive and submissive respectively.

I want my children to be responsible with money. Regardless of gender. I want them to understand it. I want them to treat money with respect and I want them to refrain from worshiping it. I don’t want them to fear the lack of it. So what kind of conversations do I have with my children about money? Do I give them pocket money? Do I let them feel the universe is infinitely abundant (which I see on a daily basis) ? or do I instill in them the ideas that things needed to be saved, cherished and worked for (equally important values)?

No answers really, just an awareness that as I undo my own money stories, I need to let my children see my struggles. I explain that right now I don’t want to pay £30 for a pair of crocodile logo named beach shoes – when I know we can get £2 lookalike ones at the market. Is that me being cheap, or sensible? In that moment what am I teaching them about branding? Most of all I want to chat to them about money. How sometimes you buy things for peace of mind, how saving money is thrilling when you get a bargain and can make you feel horrible and cheap when you buy an inferior product. And how buying things does not give you the happiness you want. It simply lets you drop desire for a moment, so you feel better.

There’s all the “new age” money is energy stuff too. Not much good for paying taxes, buying insurance or paying the bills. There are simple things that just need to be done. That you need money to do. Whatever the energy behind the pounds or dollars.

I guess one overriding quality and character that I wish my children to have is that of gratitude. When I am grateful for something I am happy to pay, when I am thankful I am more easily able to hand over the cash. I love what Bryon Katie said about being robbed, that she was grateful that she was able to give them all the stuff that the robbers clearly needed. She could see and be grateful that in them taking it, she realised that she didn’t need any of that stuff any more!

As we are packing up our home to go on our sabbatical for a year – to start on Erraid then who knows where ! I am struck by the amount of stuff we have. I almost wish for a robber to clear it out! Things that seemed such important purchases at the time and now they are just clutter.

Yes, That’s what I want my children (and myself) to know about money. What it can buy today, in all likelihood will be the rubbish of tomorrow.


  1. Kathy,
    Its great to read your post. Ive been going through similar issues with my son. The need of always wanting to get something when we go out. It feels to me that it is to fill a hole inside… Give me to prove that you love me!!! And does he have to do some work to get this pocket money?? If yes what kind? Questions, doubts, part of being parents…. Im listening to my heart . Answers you come , I m getting there… Thanks for bringing the subject. Xx

  2. Kathy White says

    Thanks Cecilia, lovely to hear from you, I was just reading “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” and it’s really interesting what the author says about learning Financial Intelligence from a young age… love to you xxkathy