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How to teach your children how to manage money

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From the time they are tiny tots kids are learning about money, whether it be on Sesame Street or in a classroom. But research shows the most important financial teacher your kids will have is you.

"Parents are the biggest influence on their children when it comes to money and the habits they develop," says Donna Rosato, senior writer for Money Magazine.

That's because, realize it or not, your kids are watching -- at the bank, around the house, even in the grocery store -- eagerly picking up your cues about cash.

"Kids learn about parents' money beliefs, their attitudes, their behaviors and they are learning it all the time. So if we don’t talk to our kids about money, it doesn’t not mean they are not learning," says Dr. Barbara Nusbaum, a registered psychologist.

The fact is you should be talking to your kids about money, early and often.

"As a child you learn pretty early on that as you get into the car you put that seatbelt on, or you shouldn't play with matches," explains says Beth Kobliner, author of "Get a Financial Life". "Learning the basics of money, some key essential lessons, is something that we need to instill in children today."

The big question is how do you approach a topic that quite frankly makes many of us uneasy?

"All parents no matter what background, what walk of life, all have trouble talking to their kids about money because it's a question of is it a comfortable thing to talk about and what's age appropriate," says ALTA Wealth Management President and Co-Founder Carmen Wong Ulrich.

To help answer the last part, the president's advisory council on financial capability rolled out a website called Money as You Grow. Launched without fanfare last summer, they've already had hundreds of thousand of hits, which CEO & President of Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship Amy Rosen says proves one thing.

"Parents are hungry for that kind of information," says Rosen.

From where money comes from to how interest works, when it comes to talking about money, the key is to strike the right tone in the right setting.

Look for ways to turn every day moments into lifelong lessons. And while you want to avoid anything that can be perceived as a lecture, experts say the important thing is to start talking.

"The big deal here is that it shouldn't be a secret. It should be part of everyday life and every day conversations," says Rosen.

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