Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Fledgling Finances

My husband and I think it is very important to educate our children about finances from an early age. We want to raise fiscally savvy children. To accomplish this, we discuss money, why it is important, how it is earned, how to save it and how it helps us get the things we need and want. Our children have to save half of any monetary gift they receive. We discuss the value of a penny, a nickel, a dime, a quarter and a dollar. In our household, Daddy has a job that rewards with financial gains and Mommy has a job that does not. (But I do have a memory bank full of weathered storms and sun-dappled reflections.)

Before we heavily embarked into the financial conversations, Abby tried to wrap her arms around this elusive idea of money:

“Mommy?”, Abby asked from her car seat.

“Yes, Abby.”

“I want some money to put in my new wallet.”

“Well,” I said, “maybe Daddy and I will have to find a way for you start earning money.”

“No Mommy. I just want some of the money from your wallet.”

Not too shabby, I thought. Time to start delving into money talks a bit more. So after several months of discussions of how the money Daddy earns pays for our house, and our cars and our gasoline and food, clothes, water, electricity and lunches, Abby had another question for me:

“Mommy?” she opened while I was cooking dinner.

“Yes sweetie.”

“Do you mean that Daddy goes to work… (pause)

and earns the money… (pause)

and then he just GIVES it to you?”

After I suppress an initial internal giggle, I felt like her small question had hit me square in the gut. I explained in the simplest terms that I could that yes, Daddy earns money and he and I decide how it is spent and saved. Likewise, I spend my days with her and her brother but that Daddy and I decide together how to do it. I told her that although I do not earn any money for our family, I add immeasurable, fabulous, far-reaching value by helping her and Henry grow, navigate, learn and play.

To which Abby responds,

“So you mean he just gives it to you.”

Needless to say, we’ve got more work to do on this one.