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The Money Talk: Young Adults and Overspending

When your children grow up to be financially reckless young adults, it can sometimes be difficult to hold your tongue. Speaking up may cause more harm than good – especially if you happen to touch a sensitive topic or give a particularly patronizing advice. When it’s done right, however, you may be able to help your children avoid the basic financial mistakes and even be in a better position than you were at the same age.

Here is a handful of insightful advice from experts, making a lot easier to have the money-talk with a stubborn twenty-something and her credit card.

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Use the I-tactic

This advice can be helpful in other situations too, where you need to mind your steps and avoid triggering any bad feelings. It can be used in various ways, too, so adapt it as you please. The basic idea is to avoid pointing out the kind of mistakes you know they’re making, but rather tell a story about someone you know in a similar situation.

Think about it like this; when you’re worried about your adult child making bad credit card decisions, you can start the conversation with ‘I think people don’t realize how easy it is to get a great credit score by just following up on the credit card payments every month.’

Mention someone you know, for example, who struggled with repaying debt on reckless purchases and who missed out on all of the benefits of building that credit score. Have a look at for more money-talk advice by the way.

The same goes for any bad business decisions you fear they may make; ‘I know a friend of your father who went into business with his best friend – not a smart move.’ Rather than telling them straight up what to do, you’re giving them a short narrative to keep in mind.

It makes it a lot easier for them to follow up with questions without feeling targeted, and it makes it even easier for you to share your well-meant advice without sparking anger.

Avoid trigger topics

A few topics should be avoided if you’d like to keep the peace between you and, even though you may have valid concerns in these areas as well, you won’t get much out of it. Student loans, for example, is a dead-end topic and likely to send your young adult into a state of dismal.

They know very well how much they owe and how dreadful it is to repay it all; be their financial BFF instead, and share advice on how you managed to pay down on your own debt. You can find a lot of useful websites out there to read up on, such as, which can make the conversation a bit more constructive.

How much they pay in rent every month is a similar topic and definitely worth steering clear off; talk about how they can save up to buy a place of their own, for example, and mention that the amount one has to spend on rent is abdominal. They’ll probably agree.

It can be difficult for a parent to sit back and watch their children make financial hiccups, but keep in mind that everyone learns from their mistakes – and by making a few while we’re young, we’ll be wiser and more frugal by the time we’re thirty.