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Parents: Move Past Your Own Fear of Finances

blog finances for kids finances for parents financial imposter syndrome Oct 04, 2023

We’ve uncovered the top reason why many parents don’t take the time to teach their kids about money: They fear that they have no right to educate their kids on financial wellness while their own finances are a mess. As a parent, now is the time to move past your fear of finances and take charge of your family's financial future. In this article, we'll explore two main roots of this fear and discuss a simple first step in overcoming it.

Imposter Syndrome with finances

For many parents, their fear is rooted in a false belief they have conjured from less-than-perfect financial habits - a.k.a. Imposter Syndrome.

Imposter Syndrome is a feeling of self-doubt of intellect or skills within a field or setting. When it comes to finances, this is when parents don't feel they have a right to talk about financial wellness and habits if their own finances are less than perfect.

Does this sound familiar: You’d be an imposter to pretend to teach them about a subject you’re failing at. It doesn't matter if you've had "successes," other people are probably doing better. You haven't been at this very long, how can you be sure you're doing it right?

Your solution might be to just avoid the conversation all together and hope your kids figure it out. Not a good solution.

Chronic poor financial decisions

For other parents, the fear of having conversations with their kids about financial habits is rooted in their very real poor financial decision making skills.

I’m referring specifically to parents who have just never gotten their own financial act together. You think that if your own finances are a mess that you have no “right” to try and teach your own kids. 

You might have developed a bad habit of spending whatever money you have without the future consequences of not putting that money into your savings account.  You’ll worry about that tomorrow. You don’t want to be a financial failure anymore but you can’t seem to get a hold of yourself. The credit card bills are mounting up.  There isn’t much money in your retirement plan.  And you don’t even want to think about those dreaded college expenses that are right around the corner.

So you don't broach the subject with your family for fear of retribution or being labeled a hypocrite. We don't love this solution either.

How to move beyond the fear

As a parent, it is important to talk to kids about our own imperfections.  It gives us the opportunity to show them that life isn’t perfect, nor is it supposed to be.

Your kids are going to have to deal with money.  If they don’t develop good habits early on they are going to end up with tons of stress in adulthood that could eventually lead to physical and mental health problems. How couldn’t it?

So, today is the day you have to get over that fear.  If you don’t, your kids will suffer.  And I know you don’t want that. 

Yes, you’ve got to be okay letting the blind lead the blind.  You’ve got to start somewhere and while being vulnerable in an area that you may not feel equipped to discuss is definitely scary, it is the proactive approach that your kids need in order to have a successful financial future. To ignore finances is to neglect your kids.

Start with the basics: Budgeting

For most people who feel like they’d be a fake trying to teach their kids about money (which they are failing miserably at) they are usually struggling with budgeting.

This is your opportunity to give yourself the inspiration to start thinking about a budget for your own finances.  How?  Talk to your kids about it and make it a family initiative. You need to get out of your hole and your kids need to have a better path.  Isn’t that we do as parents- create a better life for our own kids?

I agree, “budgeting” can have a really depressing feel.  In many ways it is a deprivation of some of the things you think you want today.  Not having a budget sometimes makes one feel ashamed.  It is like the weight of the world is on your shoulders.
While you may be struggling with your own financial illiteracy and poor choices (which you can fix), your kids shouldn’t have to start off that way.  But they will- unless you start to have these conversations in your household.  Don’t let your previous failures deprive your kids from escaping that same peril. 

And who knows…maybe in teaching your kids about budgeting you’ll summon the strength of getting your own financial house in order.  Check out the Total Cents Lesson Resources, and gain the confidence you need to empower your kids with financial knowledge for a successful future.

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