Conversations about money I wish I had with my parents

We're all a role model to somebody so try and deliberately passing on your knowledge and skills to those we care for We're all a role model to somebody so try and deliberately passing on your knowledge and skills to those we care for

30 Business owners speak out about the importance of talking more about money with children


In 2016 I surveyed over 300 small business owners in Australian about what were the conversions about money they wish they’d had with their parents — but didn't.

Below are the most common responses to the question, ‘What money-related conversation do you wish you’d had with your parents but didn’t?

The responses ranged from 'feeling excluded from important money conversations', through to 'parents not valuing the independent futures of daughters like their male siblings', and touched upon often confusing and competing behaviours of parents. The recurring theme was ‘talk about money matters with your children more.’

This unedited list of the most common responses below encapsulates valuable wisdom and insights and reveals frustrations and sadness for missing out on talking more about money matters.

The 30 most compelling responses

  1. Does it really pay to focus on the cents and let the dollars look after themselves?
  2. I wish they had taught us to save from a young age, and live beneath our means. They were emotional spenders, and I grew up with poor role models with regards to $$ management.
  3. I wish my father had talked to me and offered me the same opportunity to get started with a property at 21 as he offered my brother.
  4. I had an emotional entitled spender for one parent and a secret squirrel saver as the other parent. I had no idea what was going on because they didn't either. Any conversation would have been a start, but they both hid what they did.
  5. Getting a loan for a business is totally different to a car or house.
  6. To buy shares as a long term investment
  7. To think very carefully before getting a credit card. Free money, constant limit increases and living beyond your means in your 20's catching up with you when your massive monthly payment barely covers the interest. I know they can't offer credit increases like they did a decade ago but credit cards are still an enticing prospect for a kid who wants to do everything and go everywhere but earns nothing.
  8. Good versus bad debt. Just in case fund. How Super works.
  9. I would have to say I wish my parents had told me I control money, not the other way around
  10. That you can make money by being true to who you are. That money is not evil. That sharing/giving money to others less fortunate makes it go so much further.
  11. Sadly I think many girls still don't see their own financial security as their own issue .... but that reflects the gender bias at the time too.
  12. Do you know what a budget is and how to make it work so that you can get what you want?
  13. How to budget!
  14. What does it mean to be 'financially literate'. How to have a sense of abundance irrespective of income. (clue - make more than spend.)
  15. To always keep an account in your own name.
  16. Wisdom from a distant cousin - to always keep aside money to dream with. It need not be a massive amount, but he suggested enough to jump on a plane to somewhere exciting. You may never actually do it, but he argued it was very hard to dream when you're living hand to mouth.
  17. The difference between financial freedom and the concept of being "rich" (vague, undefined, etc)
  18. Sexually Transmitted Debt
  19. That it really isn't a smart move to lend your hard earned savings to a friend to help out in their business but if you do draw up a legal contract
  20. The value of acquiring income-producing, capital growth assets as early as possible to maximise the multiplier effect. My son now has the benefit of learning this 20 years earlier than I did.
  21. How a financial buffer can reduce stress - considerably. And can give you the confidence to take more calculated risks.
  22. That, coupled with the fact that girls were not given the same opportunity to acquire property.
  23. The difference between good debt and bad debt...i.e. that’s it’s okay to borrow money for things that grow in value but not so wise to borrow to buy things that depreciate in value
  24. How to rock a P&L. How to make money, not save money.
  25. Always carry your day rate in cash on your person
  26. Having a high income will not make you wealthy but saving a bit every paycheck over time will give you financial independence
  27. "Make it work for you rather than you work for money!"
  28. Understanding the value of compound interest at a young age
  29. To always have an emergency fund set aside.
  30. Always have your income insured with Income Protection insurance. Otherwise, you and your family are responsible for the scary numbers.

Where to from here?

We all want to make tomorrow better for those we love and who we’re responsible for. This list of personal insights from business owners should encourage us all to rethink the money habits we’re modelling for our children and those you’re responsible for.

If you'd like a second opinion on your financial situation Contact us today for a chat
Drew Browne

Drew specialises in helping people protect and provide for what matters most in their lives. He's an award-winning writer, speaker, financial adviser and business strategy mentor. His company Sapience Financial is committed to using business solutions for good in the community, and in 2015 certified as a B Corp. In 2017 Drew was recognised in the inaugural Australian Westpac Businesses of Tomorrow National Awards. Drew writes for successful Small Business Owners and Entrepreneurs at Smallville, his blogs can be read on and you can connect with him on LinkedIn.

Any information provided is general advice only and we have not considered your personal circumstances. Before making any decision on the basis of this advice you should consider if the advice is appropriate for you based on your particular circumstance.

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Drew Browne

Sapience Founder & Director.
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