If you’ve been avoiding the other awkward talk you need to have with your kids—the one about finances—you’re not the only one. The truth is parents don’t talk to their kids about money on a regular basis, or at all.
That’s what a study from the American Institute of CPAs, conducted by Harris Interactive, concluded. In fact, 3 out of every 10 parents never talk to their kids about money.
These days parents are more likely to talk to their kids about matters of etiquette, good eating habits, the dangers of drugs and alcohol, and the risks of smoking than they are about money.
My experience of working with thousands of people over the past two decades is that most parents want to have money talks and teach their kids well; they just don’t know where to start, what to say, or what to do. They feel guilty because of their own lack of financial literacy, and they feel disqualified to teach their kids because their own financial houses are not in order.
Here’s the bottom line in all of this: if you do not talk to your kids about money, someone else will, and you won’t be happy with the message.
If you are hoping—and don’t assume you’re alone here—that by some miracle your kids are becoming financially literate in school, dream on. Graduating high school seniors regularly achieve failing grades of 52 percent and below in basic personal finance, according to Jump$tart Coalition, a group that promotes financial literacy in youngsters.1