« Is it time for a national school meal program? | Main | Is texting while driving causing more accidents? »

September 05, 2021

Should you tell your kids how much you earn?

When I was at a precious young age, not quite when The Mighty Ducks  came out but, I imagine, some years before The Mighty Ducks  was to come out, I worked up the guts to ask my father what he earned for a living.

My dad is a damn good dad, and he played the part well, not letting what could be an uncomfortable question fester. He answered almost immediately. He made, he said, one dollar each year.

Of course, I didn’t find out then my father’s salary, and even today I’m not sure what he truly earns.

But I was reminded of that story recently when I came across a feature detailing how parents should discuss money with their children – a kind of financial birds and the bees, if you’ll allow – and wondering the big question of them all: should you tell your kids how much you make at work?

For some, the thesis of this post may hinge on one question: when should you tell your kids what you earn?

*Bing: What to teach your kids about money

But for others, it becomes another altogether: should you ever tell your kids what you’re paid as a salary?

Children are observant, of course, and as they age they’re going to get an idea whether mom and dad are rich, poor, or somewhere in between. Simply by the material value of the things at home – the car in the garage, the television on the wall – this is going to become apparent.

Should you ever, though, let them know a number?

According to Jaclyn Weitzberg, the president of financial education company Money MindEd, you should not.

“It’s important to educate your kids about the different salary levels and career choices that can add to higher income,” she tells Business Insider, “but I don’t believe it’s necessary for your kids to know exactly how much you’re earning.”

Surely, some parents tell their children, but it becomes a question of, What is the benefit? Transparency is one thing, but what does a number mean to a child? What does $45,000 or $100,000 a year mean when a simple $1,000 may be all the money in the world?

Instead of sharing a dollar amount, another author, Betsy Brown Braun, says, help them understand what money means. Tell them, “I make enough money so that we can afford to pay all of our bills, pay for the car … ” Plant the seed that people work to earn, so they can pay for the things that help them live.

Would you tell your children how much you’re paid? If so, at what age? If not, why not?

By Jason Buckland, MSN Money



Post a comment


Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...