Money Talks: The 5 Money Conversations to Have with Your Kids at Every Age and Stage.

By Jennie Blizzard

As a child, you’ve most likely heard it. If you’re a parent, you’ve most
likely said it: money doesn’t grow on trees. And while the long standing
common sense saying holds true, parents do have the ability to pass
along financial knowledge that can bear good fruit throughout a child’s
life. Scott and Bethany Palmer can tell you how.

Widely respected and known as the Money Couple and as financial
experts, the Palmers have spent a decade helping couples divorce proof
their marriages over money through books, coaching and various resour-
ces. And now as co-authors of the best selling read The Five Money Per-
sonalities, they have formulated a brand new resource for parents in their
newly released book, The 5 Money Conversations to Have with Your Kids
at Every Age and Stage.

“It’s very interesting for the past 10 years, we’ve been helping couples
make their relationships great by helping them to discover why they view
and look at money differently,” said Scott. “We were doing a great job
working with couples and getting them on the same page about money
but we really weren’t doing the greatest job with helping our own kids
understand money.”

The Palmers weren’t alone. After conversations with other parents, a well-
known fact was confirmed. They were all worried about raising entitled,
materialistic, and financially dependent kids. “Because that was a concern
of ours, we said we needed to come up with a new way for parents to think
and talk to their kids about money,” said Scott. “And that’s how we came
up with and wrote the book.”

The Five Money Conversations gives practical advice and emphasizes that
in order to teach a child about money, you must first know his or her
money personality (spender, saver, risk taker, flyer and security seeker).
“What’s interesting is that everyone has two of the five money personali-
ties and a lot of times people stop at their first one,” said Bethany. “Most
of us can assess our primary one. But the secondary one is so crucial.”
She adds that the secondary money personality can be completely opposite
of the primary. “It’s the dynamic of the two that makes you unique, special
and different,” Bethany says.

In addition to identifying the personality, Bethany says that parents must
also understand that most of the time, their outlook about money will
differ from their kids, thus creating the potential for conflict. She shares
an example from her own family where her mother’s primary money
personality was a saver and the secondary was a security seeker. Betha-
ny’s primary is a spender and secondary is a risk taker. “We have the
same thing with both of our sons,” said Bethany. “One of the reasons
that learning money personalities is so important is because we need
to learn how to speak in a way that they can hear us and learn our chil-
dren’s personalities so they can actually understand and be parented
about the positive sides of these differences.”

The money personality assessment, available online, was developed pri-
marily through the Palmers’ 10 years of research working with couples
and with the help of a statistical scientist at Stanford. The Palmers were
able to take their scientific tool, which has been taken by over 60,000
people and modify it for kids. There’s an assessment for ages 5-12, 13-17,
and 18 and beyond to help them figure out their primary and secondary
money personalities. “For ages 5-12, this may take you sitting down with
your child and taking the quiz together,” said Scott. “But let them drive
the car and answer the questions. It takes less than 10 minutes.”

For parents of teens or adult children and think it’s too late to have “the
big talk” about finances? It’s never too late. “The great thing about this
book is that you have the opportunity to jump in at any age or stage,”
said Scott. “There are going to be some parents whose kids are in college
and they’re saying “oh my goodness, my kids are totally financially depen-
dent on me. How are we going to start to change that?”’

Scott warns parents that these conversations are not as simple as discus-
sing a 12-point budget and convincing your child to stick to the plan to be
financially successful. The Five Conversations guides parents on how to
have discussions and gain some wins that establish trust before jumping
into the budget. “Our youngest is a primary spender and is a secondary
security seeker,” said Bethany. “If I understand that about my child and
I learn how to talk to him in a language that he’s going to understand
by calling a budget a spending plan, then he’s going to see me as a re-
source and someone he wants to talk to about present and future
money challenges.”

The Palmers stress important points to remember when having this much-
needed conversation. First, understanding your child’s money personality
is crucial. Second realizing that it’s not just one conversation but a lifetime
of evolving talks as the child transitions to different ages and stages. The
third is patience. “They are not going to see the money and deal with it
the same way as you do,” said Scott. “But if you have these money con-
versations you will be amazed at what you can teach them, point out and
help them with.”

In addition to patience, Bethany advises parents to not “shame” their
child about their money personality. For example if a child is a primary
spender and secondary risk taker, don’t focus on how they like to spend
money, encourage him/her to use their personalities for the greater good.
For instance, encourage the risk taker to use his/her money personality
to start a business. “One of the greatest gifts we can give our children is
teaching them how to think about money,” says Bethany, “and teaching
them how to view it through their lens in a healthy way.”

For more information about Scott and Bethany Palmer, visit


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