The Kids

Written by John Osbon on May 7, 2014

How will your kids learn about money, how to get it, save it, spend it, manage it if they inherit it? Not talking about these topics can leave kids uninformed and unprepared for the responsibilities that come with money.

At some point in the 20th century, maybe about 1988, it became okay to talk about money with your kids.  Before that time, many young people (ours included) had no idea how much money the family had, what investing was, and what it meant for their futures. Thankfully, that has changed.  If you haven’t had that first money conversation with your children yet, it’s officially okay to do so. And very important too. Now is never too early.how-can-kids-make-money-1

Naturally curious

Fortunately kids are curious and their questions can help guide the discussions. Children are naturally economists and are fascinated with “things” at an early age.  It’s a simple step to turn candy and money into a basic spending versus saving talk.

Farther down the road, in Massachusetts, a child can be legally employed at age 14.  That introduces topics like hourly wages, savings accounts, taxes, debit cards, Roth IRA, and so on.  Daughter Victoria is learning these lessons right now and has become suddenly much more conservative in her spending habits since that first job last summer.  She also asked me, “What is indexing?”  Good start.

Add the advisor

We feel strongly that a good investment advisor can be a big help in these discussions, both as a source of accurate information and as an unbiased voice of reason when sensitive subjects arise. Have them meet with your kids. Again, early is not too soon.

15 Questions

Here’s a starter set of questions, far from exhaustive, that you and your advisor should be ready to discuss with your children. Age is not so important here as some kids are more interested than others and some progress at different speeds.

  1. How do I get a job?
  2. Can I spend all the money I earn?
  3. Do I really have to pay taxes?
  4. How much should I save?
  5. Where do I put the money I save?
  6. Are we rich?
  7. What do I say when someone asks me if we are rich?
  8. How much money do we (the family) have? Where is it?
  9. Why did you spend that money (house, vacation, car)?
  10. Can I have a credit card? (Why not?)
  11. Will I get some or all of your money? When?
  12. What should I do with it?
  13. Who’s paying for college? How much is it?
  14. How much can I afford to pay in rent?
  15. Can I afford to buy a car?  How much?

Use us

We encourage clients to have their children, even as grown adults, meet with us to discuss financial issues – big, small, and especially, personal. We’re honored to act as experienced counselor to family members. The conversations are always interesting, educational, and sure to stimulate lots of discussion at home.

Osbon Capital is a multi-generational firm built for clients focused on multi-generational personal, financial and business success. Let us know if there are money topics with your kids you’d like to talk about.

John Osbonjosbon@osboncapital.com


  • This communication may include forward-looking statements. All statements other than statements of historical fact are forward-looking statements (including words such as “believe,” “estimate,” “anticipate,” “may,” “will,” “should,” and “expect”). Although we believe that the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements are reasonable, we can give no assurance that such expectations will prove to be correct. Various factors could cause actual results or performance to differ materially from those discussed in such forward-looking statements.”
  • “Historical performance is not indicative of future results. The investment return will fluctuate with market conditions.
  • Past performance is not indicative of any specific investment or future results. Views regarding the economy, securities markets or other specialized areas, like all predictors of future events, cannot be guaranteed to be accurate and may result in economic loss to the investor.
  • Investment strategies, philosophies, allocations and holdings are subject to change without prior notice.
  • This communication is intended to provide general information only and should not be construed as an offer of specifically tailored individualized advice.
  • While the Adviser believes the outside data sources cited to be credible, it has not independently verified the correctness of any of their inputs or calculations and, therefore, does not warranty the accuracy of any third-party sources or information.
  • Adviser does not endorse the statements, services or performance of any third-party vendor.
  • Unless stated otherwise, any mention of specific securities or investments is for hypothetical and illustrative purposes only. Adviser’s clients may or may not hold the securities discussed in their portfolios. Adviser makes no representations that any of the securities discussed have been or will be profitable.