NEW YORK (2/10/15)--You should be upfront with your children about how much money you make.
That's the argument The New York Times "Your Money" columnist Ron Lieber makes in his new book "The Opposite of Spoiled: Raising Kids Who Are Grounded, Generous, and Smart About Money," recently excerpted in the Times (Jan. 29).
Lieber argues that your children will have a pretty good idea of your family's financial situation anyway--the value of your home is a Google search away, for example. Avoiding the topic can make money seem mysterious and off-limits for conversation, Lieber argues, potentially hobbling children's ability to make good financial decisions as adults.
He doesn't recommend sharing your income with your children until they're mature enough to comprehend what it means, to find the information meaningful, and to exercise discretion--most likely when they're teenagers.
And, after all, if they apply for college financial aid a few years later, they'll find out anyway. The FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) requires the family's income, assets, and signatures from both applicant and parents.
But regardless of whether you agree that children should be privy to the family's financial information, preparing your child for eventual financial independence is a good idea.
Lieber has some easy ways to introduce common money concepts to your children:
Staff at your credit union also can help you familiarize your kids with money concepts and financial services.