How This Stay-At-Home Mom of 3 Says You Should Talk to Your Kids About Money

Meghan Rabuse of Family Finance Mom shares her best tips for building a savings and how parents can teach their kids to do the same.

Growing up, Meghan Rabuse remembers her parents arguing about finances. The biggest issue, she says, was that her mom spent too much money. "My mom would race home to get the mail before my dad got there because she didn't want him to see the credit card bill," says Rabuse.

Those early experiences started to shape Rabuse's relationship with money before she went off to college at the University of Notre Dame. There, she majored in finance because of her love for math, but graduated with $60,000 in student loan debt. Though she felt lucky that she went into a finance career on Wall Street that allowed her to quickly pay her loan down, she felt ill-equipped to set herself up to be financially successful and to build net worth. Rabuse also found herself spending money on status symbols like expensive purses and shoes. "While you're making what seems like a lot of money, it can be very quickly gobbled up by trying to keep up with the Joneses in that environment," she notes.

It wasn't until she and her now husband began talking about wanting to buy their first house, get married, and have kids that Rabuse was inspired to be more financially literate and plan for the future as opposed to just living in the moment.

When she had her first child, Rabuse decided to become a stay-at-home mom. "What I quickly learned was that I was still using the financial knowledge that I had built from a degree in finance and almost a decade working in the industry and I was using it in my everyday family finances," she says. "As I spent time with other moms, I realized how much that knowledge base could be useful to them too."

That's when she launched Family Finance Mom, a website—as well as a podcast and workshops—aimed at empowering other parents with the financial know-how to make better decisions for themselves and their family.

For example, Rabuse discusses inflation and shares how parents can make a dent in their family's spending on food by meal planning and, in turn, reducing the amount of food waste they have, cooking more at home, and buying less processed food. She also encourages people to buy local products. "One of the big sources of inflation right now are energy costs and the more something has to be transported, the farther those goods have to move, the higher the cost is going to have increased over the last year," explains Rabuse.

Moving forward, she hopes her venture will allow her to connect with more families and more women interested in improving their financial outcomes.

Here are her top tips for parents hoping to become financially-savvy and raise kids who are, too.

Save and Create Goals

Once your debts are paid off, it's important to start saving. For one, set up an emergency fund, recommends Rabuse. "You'll have some cash accessible and set aside in case you need to pay an unexpected medical bill or car repair," she points out.

The next step is thinking about your goals. "Is your goal investing for retirement? Is it saving for your children's college tuition? Is it to retire early?" asks Rabuse. "When you're answering that question, put a time horizon around it." Based on how much money you need to have saved by a particular age, you can figure out what you need to be stashing away and how frequently.


Many people may be skittish about investing in the stock market, particularly after living through unprecedented events that affected it, says Rabuse, but that doesn't mean they shouldn't. What she likes to tell people: "The economy goes up and down, but each time it recovers and moves past the peak before."

She also recommends that funds you invest in stocks should be money that you don't need on a regular basis. "You wanna be able to leave it there so that it can grow and compound over time," she explains. "You want to be able to set it and forget it."

Talk to Your Kids About Money

Although many people who are now parents grew up never hearing about finances, Rabuse emphasizes the importance of laying a different foundation for the next generation. "If your child can count, you can start to have conversations about money," she says.

Rabuse herself began speaking to her kids about money when they were around 3 or 4, she recalls. And there are three major lessons she shared with them:

  • Money is earned. "Allow them to earn money, and the easiest way to do that is through allowance," notes Rabuse. "I think you should have some list of ways that your kids contribute to your household that then allows them to earn whatever it is that you're gonna give them every week."
  • Money has value. Rabuse says as soon as you tell your child they have to use their own money for a purchase, they'll quickly get this message.
  • The benefit of saving. "Help them start to set goals for their money and then encourage them to save by offering to match it the same way that a bank would," advises Rabuse.

She says discussing these topics is easy to do throughout everyday life. "If we're running errands and my daughter points something out and she's like, 'I want,' I will say, 'How much does it cost?'" explains Rabuse. "And I will show her how to find the price tag and make her read what the price tag says. And then we'll have a conversation about how much money that is and how many weeks of allowance will it take her to be able to pay for that."

Another big lesson? "We talk about is this a want, or is this a need?" says Rabuse. If it's something her child wants, they can either use their own money to buy it or they can put it on their wishlist for a birthday or a holiday.

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