Why it pays to break the money talk taboo early in life

When Georgie Trotter discovered that many children never spoke openly about money with their mums and dads, she decided to put some words to work.

The 18-year-old student this year wrote and published her first book, The Cashed Up Kid, as part of her Year 12 research project.

It aims to spark money conversations between parents and children aged between eight and 12, and covers subjects including money mistakes, spending wisely and savings goals.

“If you understand financial literacy from a young age you tend to appreciate the value of things more and how hard work pays off in the end, which leads to financial independence in the future,” Ms Trotter said.

When she discovered that many of her friends had never discussed finances at home, she wondered whether this money taboo cycle would extend to them as adults.

“From a young age my parents have always spoken openly about money habits and the economy. My parents also work in the financial sector and have shared stories of people who have never learnt the art of managing money,” Ms Trotter said.

“When I was in primary school I was offered to choice of buying my lunch at the tuck shop or saving my money for something special and pack my own lunch.”

Teaching and creating financial literacy programs are among Ms Trotter’s “future career options”, and while researching he book she asked families why they found money talk difficult.

“It was not because they didn’t want to, but they just didn’t know how to begin because it was something they weren’t taught as a child,” she said.

Financial education and pocket money app Spriggy’s co-founder, Mario Hasanakos, said children learned about money by observation and experience.

“Our personal money habits as parents can have a big influence on what they believe about money,” he said.

“Think about your own goal-setting and making this a shared family experience — set written budgets and stick to lists to demonstrate responsible spending.”

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