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Why is it so awkward to talk about money?

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An illustration of a person in a money mascot outfit and a another man tugging at his collar. The title "Why is it so awkward to talk about money."

Arnel Alinea

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Ryan and Bridget tackle one of the most challenging questions ever put to “Million Bazillion.”

Why is it so awkward to talk about money?

Using a board game that comes to life and a catchy song, they’ll find an answer that’s better than “because I said so” and give kids (and their parents) the tools they need to have helpful, positive conversations about money.

(Arnel Alinea)

And now … tips for grown-ups listening to “Million Bazillion” with kids

Money Talks

Some questions you can ask to find out what your child has learned so far:

  1. What’s a good time to ask a money question that might be difficult to answer?
  2. Why do we take the price tags off gifts and presents before we give them?
  3. Why might someone be worried about people thinking they have too much money? Not enough?
  4. We should talk about money, but there are still some money things you shouldn’t talk about with strangers. What are they?

Tip Jar

If you’re ready to start talking about money at home, this sheet (PDF) has some great conversation starters. Remember you can always start the conversation with “What do you want to know about money?”. If your kid has a real tough question, you can research the answer together (or send it to Million Bazillion if you’re stumped).

Financial therapist Megan McCoy gave us a lot of help with this episode. Her research found that kids whose parents talked to them about money were better at money management in the future. McCoy told us to remember that talking about money can get tied up with our thoughts on self-worth, but it doesn’t have to be so complicated. She suggests to start by talking about saving. If your kid has something they want to save up for, help them figure out a plan for reaching their goal.

Grown-ups might also enjoy McCoy’s appearance on our sister podcast “This is Uncomfortable,” where she gave advice on avoiding money fights, dealing with the job-loss grief and shoring up your savings for a recession.

While financial therapy is a relatively new field, it offers a lot of tools that can help grown-ups understand their own money-related emotions and behaviors, which research suggests form by the time we’re seven years old. This piece at Vox by financial therapist Lindsay Bryan-Podvin gives good advice for unwinding money shame and anxiety. If you’re interested in learning more about what financial therapy looks like in practice, we listened in on a session.

Gimme Five

Finally, we’d love to hear your kids’ money jokes, money poems and best money tips so we can feature them on the podcast! Send them to us using this online form.

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