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Topics for Talk

How well and how often do you work money management topics into daily conversations with your kids? Here's a chance to evaluate your efforts.

Don't avoid talking about money just because kids are young. Simple lessons about money should start early in your child's life and become more complex as your child matures. For example, with very young children, you can use grandparents to begin to talk about retirement. Let's consider how you might talk to kids of different ages about a Rainy Day fund.

Very young child: You might say that "extra money" works like an umbrella that keeps you dry in a storm. You've got it when you need it. Talk about how having change in your pocket enables you to buy a juice when you're thirsty.

Slightly older child: You might talk about a "just-in-case" fund used to get out of minor trouble. Good thing I had some money in my pocket because I couldn't find my movie ticket, and I had to buy another one.

Older child. Kids around 10 should begin to understand that you save for unexpected events. You get a flat tire that's too damaged to repair. You need money on hand to buy two new ones.

A teenager. Teens should know that such a fund gives you the security to live without borrowing when the need for money arises. The refrigerator cannot be repaired and you must buy a new one. Because you have the money, you don't need to pay interest on a loan in addition to paying for the cost of the fridge.

College student. These young adults should understand that money gives you a feeling of security in a world of more complex situations where anything can happen, including losing your job.

How well do you think you are doing? What money-related topics do you talk about? Not sure what to say? See how you measure up with the Topics for Talk Challenge.