Taboo Topics: It's OK to Admit You Don't Know Everything About Money

by Carrie Skogsberg

Do your kids often ask questions you don’t have the answers to? Questions like, “Why is the sky blue?” “Are aliens real?” Or, “How does investing work?”

You may turn to search engines or a smart app for the answer, or do what many parents do – change the subject and avoid the answer altogether.  If “avoiding” is your strategy, you’re not alone, especially when it comes to talking about money with your kids.

A recent COUNTRY Financial survey found that parents of kids under age 21 lack confidence in a number of personal finance topics, with nearly half rating their level of financial literacy at a grade C or lower. But who do Americans say they go to for questions about personal finance? More than half say their parents.

An underwhelming report card

Honesty is the best policy

“Parents are a safe place we can go to ask questions and not feel judgment,” says Tim Harris, Vice President of Agency at COUNTRY Financial.

“But, according to the survey results, parents admit they don’t have all the answers.

”It’s not surprising that many Americans don’t feel confident in many areas of personal finance. More than half (52%) of Americans say they didn’t receive any financial education in grades K-12 or in college, and only 15% of those surveyed said they felt “very prepared” to handle their finances when entering adulthood.

Simple steps to educate yourself on money matters

Aside from your parents, who do you trust when it comes to talking about sensitive subjects like money? Harris suggests getting a gut check from Mom and Dad first, but then getting a second opinion from trusted friends, coworkers or your financial representative. “Most industry professionals will have intense training to help individuals define their financial goals and lay out a plan for success,” says Harris. “Start by asking your friends or a trusted coworker for referrals to resources that helped them.”

What’s the worst thing to do? Letting your lack of knowledge paralyze you. “It’s a cycle we see often,” says Harris. “Parents don’t want to admit what they don’t know, so they don’t teach their kids, and it continues on and on.”

Resources to learn more about personal finance:

COUNTRY Financial partners with Financial Beginnings to offer free, accessible personal finance curriculum for the community.  

COUNTRY Financial® is the marketing name for the COUNTRY Financial family of affiliated companies (collectively, COUNTRY), which include COUNTRY Life Insurance Company®, COUNTRY Mutual Insurance Company®, and their respective subsidiaries, located in Bloomington, Illinois.