She strongly advocates educating your children about money early.

Chelsea from Mama Fish Saves works 9 to 5 in corporate finance. She analyzes individual securities and businesses and invests money for large clients like pension funds.

Sounds complicated and interesting, but that’s not what caught my eye when I first found her blog.

This sentence did: “Personal finance in the U.S. is taught at home, not in school, so if your parents didn’t understand finance there were very few ways for you to learn it.” And with that in mind, she started her blog this February.

When she speaks with family, friends and readers who frequent her blog, she says, “My priority is helping them set reasonable goals, reviewing their budget to help them find holes and places to save, and taking stock of their investment portfolios.”

She also encourages adults to speak with their children about money. But speaking is not the only thing parents should do. She says educating children is “two-fold.”

“First, parents need to be willing to have open and regular discussions with their children about money,” says Chelsea. “Second, and equally important, parents have to give their children the opportunity to experience succeeding and failing with money.”

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And this educational process should start at an early age. Surprisingly early, in fact. “Most parents don’t realize that children understand the basic concepts of money by age three,” says Chelsea. “By age seven, many lifelong money habits have already been set.”

In a comprehensive post about teaching preschoolers about money, this got my attention: “Anyone who has ever handed a four-year-old a dollar bill knows that kids are well aware of money and are hungry for more.” It reminded me when my daughter often asked for dollar bills to play games. She understood that one dollar got her two games.

Unfortunately, Chelsea doesn’t think enough families talk about finances. Or, more accurately, they don’t talk about them until something goes wrong.

“In my experience, most families don’t talk about money until they are facing a financial problem,” says Chelsea. “Whether that problem is debt, the inability to buy a home they love, or an emergency expense that leaves them cash strapped, they enter most financial discussions in a place of frustration.”

Once that occurs, she says it creates a cycle. The parents start blaming money for their stressful situations when in reality “the lack of discussion and preparation causes the stress, not the money itself.” Having regular conversations about money can alleviate these issues.

I asked Chelsea for three tips that might help families better cope with their personal finances. She happily obliged:

  1. Have written and measurable financial goals! Just the function of writing your goals down and revisiting them regularly will help you focus your decisions.
  2. Talk to your family about money. Don’t make finances a taboo subject in your home. Understand that your spouse, and your kids, will have their own approach to money and feelings about it. Be open and honest to help everyone grow.
  3. Invest in low-cost funds, for the long-term. You won’t get rich quick, but you will get rich!

If you’re wondering where Chelsea discovered the name for her blog, she says, “My family’s favorite children’s book is Deborah Diesen’s Pout-Pout Fish.” And when her son was born, she and her husband “became Mama and Daddy Fish.”

Makes sense, as does Chelsea’s financial advice.

Meet the Author

Brian Bienkowski

Brian Bienkowski

Staff Writer

Bienkowski is a staff writer and is the face of Debt.com's 'By the Numbers' videos.

Budgeting & Saving, Lifestyle

Financial Profiling, parents, save money

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Article last modified on October 12, 2017. Published by Debt.com, LLC . Mobile users may also access the AMP Version: Mama Fish Believes Financial Success Starts at Home - AMP.