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May 05, 2021

Mom, do you make more money than daddy?

The question of how much – and how – to talk to kids about family finances often stymies even the most dedicated parents.

Ad While kids don’t necessarily need to know exactly how much money you make, they do need to know how the world works. Children, as they grow, need to learn what money means, how much it costs to buy things, and how the money to buy things is earned.

But what if they seem to be trying to figure out who’s the primary breadwinner?

It’s a tricky question, and as with most such money queries, you should probably begin by trying to figure out why the child is asking. Why would it matter which parent makes more money?

Well, while likely not on junior’s mind, a new study suggests that men are more likely to cheat if their income is much lower than what their wife or female partner makes.

Clearly, when it comes to money, it helps to have a bit of balance. That search for financial equilibrium is a key message in Spousonomics, a new book by Paula Szuchman and Jenny Anderson that tries to show how simple economics can help even troubled marriages survive.

Even if this is a sensitive area for you as a couple, look for a positive spin while still answering the question, they suggest.

If one parent is home taking care of the children, for instance, this question offers an opportunity to explain that his or her work is as vital as the labours that the parent at the office performs.

Or to say that no matter how much money each parent makes, both contribute equally to the household when all is said and done.

Do your kids seem to care about who makes what? How have you handled this type of question in your house? 



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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...