Financial education We need to talk

The questionnaire for a parent-child interview about money.

by UBS Insights 28 Mar 2019

Many parents find talking about finances with their children just as pleasant as discussing sexual education. Yet young people depend on the approachability of their parents to learn how to handle money in a healthy way. Here you will find some questions to initiate the dialog.

Dealing with money is an emotional and personal affair – and important values, financial responsibility and a healthy attitude towards saving are therefore best conveyed in direct conversation. Experts agree that parents should address money issues as early and as often as possible so that obstacles or inhibitions do not arise in the first place and children realize that they can talk to their parents about their insecurities at any time.

But where should I begin? To make it easier for you to get started, we have compiled a thematically structured catalog of questions that you and your child can use as a basis for a conversation – there will certainly be surprising answers from both sides that will inspire further money talks.

Long-term/short-term

What is your child’s attitude towards saving: is it more security-oriented or does money primarily serve to satisfy short-term needs? Recognize trends and discuss them.

  • For both sides: If you found 1,000 francs on the street today, what would you do with it?
  • Parents to ask child: Are you saving up for something?
  • For both sides: If you won a million francs, would you rather have it all at once or in monthly installments?

Give your child personal responsibility

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Future/Past

In this phase of your child’s life, a picture of their financial future will emerge – what expectations and ideas do they have, and what was this stage like for you?

  • Child to ask parents: Has your financial situation developed as you imagined it would when you were my age? If not: is that a bad thing? Would you like to change certain decisions if you could?
  • Parents to ask child: When you imagine your life in 20 years’ time, is it luxurious or rather simple? Will you be renting or will you own your own home? Will you have a car? Will you spend your holidays in expensive hotels or will you go camping?
  • Child to ask parents: Do you expect me to be financially better off than you when I grow up?

Spending money

What material desires exist and how are they dealt with? Create mutual understanding about consumption and its value.

  • Parents to ask child: What is the current “must-have” in your circle of friends? What difference do you think there is between living with or without it?
  • Child to ask parents: What was the first major purchase you bought with money you had saved up?
  • Child to ask parents: What do you think I spend too much money on?

Earning money

Where does money come from? Is earning money a goal in itself for your child, or just a necessary evil?

  • For both sides: Do you think a job has to bring in a lot of money above all else, or is it more about making you happy?
  • For both sides: What do you think of the idea of an unconditional basic income that every person receives automatically from the state to secure their existence?
  • Parents to ask child: What would you prefer – to spend more time with us or for us to be able to afford more?

Useful facts on the subject