There's one thing entrepreneurs, CEOs and the most successful people have in common: a sound understanding of money.

But when you look at the country as a whole, one-third of Americans did not discuss basic personal finance topics while growing up, and only 13 percent talked about their own family's financial situation.

The result? Lower incomes, lower savings rates, less budgeting. Those findings come from a survey by The Penny Hoarder, and include these specifics:

  • Incomes: 18 percent of those who talked about money management at home report household income of less than $50,000. But for those who didn't talk about money, 31 percent earn less than $50,000.

  • Savings: 17 percent of those who discussed finances growing up have no savings at all. That figure balloons to 40 percent among those who had no early financial literacy.

  • Budgeting: 33 percent of those who discussed finances growing up fail to keep a budget. That rises to 54 percent for those who did not discuss finances.

The data makes one thing clear: Those who don't grow up talking about money pay a price later on and struggle to implement basic budgeting money management strategies in their lives.

Given these sobering results, what should you say to kids about personal finance to help them succeed in adulthood?

Here are three suggestions from Travis Sickle, a financial adviser in Tampa, Florida.

"Put it in the piggy bank!"

Something as simple as a piggy bank will help your kids understand the importance of saving. But, you see that exclamation point? You need to convey the passion and excitement behind dropping a few quarters in it.

In fact, it doesn't have to be real money. Use fake money and set attainable goals for saving it. For example, the first kid to save up five "dollars" gets to pick the movie the family watches at home on Friday night.

These goals may seem silly or trivial when they're young, but the habits will carry over into their teenage years and stay with them when they strike out on their own. Soon, they'll be saving up for their first car; later, they'll be socking money away and investing for retirement.

"Let's set a goal and figure how to make it."

Bring your children into the mix when it comes to setting goals for their future. Talk about why you're saving money for them to go to college, where it comes from and how it will grow over time.

Introducing your kids to concrete financial goals -- even long-term ones -- will help them prioritize their own as adults.

"Come and check out the interest we racked up this month!"

Again, notice the emphasis. Besides talking about your plans for their financial future, introduce them to your savings accounts and goals of your own.

Don't feel embarrassed if it's something as simple as getting completely debt free, letting your children go through the whole experience of setting a financial goal and attaining it will be invaluable to their success.

With these tips, it's not necessarily what you tell them, but how you tell them that will make the biggest difference in their future success.

Published on: Jun 3, 2019
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