Kids, we need to have the money talk

I was visiting my best friend last month, babysitting her three boys, age 2, 4 and 6. It was Owen, the one in the middle, who gave me the scoop on the family's financial situation. "I saw Daddy cry in the bedroom," he said. "And he doesn't go to work anymore. It scares me."

Apparently, neither of his parents had told the kids that Daddy had been laid off, Mommy was dusting off her resume after six years of being a stay-at-home mom, and both of them were freaking out about expenses and savings accounts Are these things you talk about with your toddlers? I didn't know what to tell them, so I kept quiet. Regardless, the boys, even the two-year-old, knew something was up, and they were getting as stressed as their parents.

My friend told me she and her husband were trying to stay strong for the boys. That's when I sent my friend the link to a Bankrate story I just did about talking finances with your kids. Even financial experts who handle money on a regular basis have a hard time deciding on what information to tell their kids and what to keep mum on, but all the ones I interviewed agreed that it's no longer an option these days to spare your kids from the money talk.