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Blog, Kids, Mum Life

Three lessons my kid taught me about tax

This post is sponsored by Kids Business Communciations

Have you ever thought about talking to your kids about tax and superannuation? I certainly never did. We’re all struggling to fit in time for the basics let alone such big topics that they surely have no interest in right?

It wasn’t until the ATO suggested parents think about starting the conversation on tax and super with their children that the idea even crossed my mind. Of course she needs to know about such “grown up stuff” but would she actually care? I was pleasantly surprised by the conversation and learnt three important lessons myself.

I don’t let her into our world enough

When I was planning this conversation with my three-year-old, I realised that I have never even talked to her about what hubby and I do for work. She sees me working and often comes with me to work events and she knows that daddy goes to work every day. Despite this, it soon became evident that she has no idea what it is that we actually do. So in high-level terms that made sense to her we told her. Mummy is a writer and she take photos and designs things. Daddy helps people sell things and talks to lots of people.

I’ll be talking to her about this more and letting her in on our world. It’s important that she knows what we do so she can appreciate and respect our working time and the benefit she gains from it. I loved that at the end of the conversation she asked what she would do for work when she grew up. She decided that she wanted to do daddy’s job and not mummy’s. So I ate one of her chips when she wasn’t looking.

We all need to reframe our thinking about tax

Tax is bad, it’s a known fact isn’t it? We give our hard earned money to the greedy government to flitter away on wasteful expenses. It’s one of those things we love to hate. But when you step back and look at it from a child’s point of view, stripped back to what it is at its most basic, it gives you a different perspective that I think we all forget.

Using hot chips to demonstrate the conversation went a little something like this:

Me: If I told you that when we go to work we get given five chips but only get to keep three of them, do you think that is fair?

Miss 3: NO!

Me: Ok, but what if I told you that those two chips that we don’t get to keep go towards hospitals to make us better when we get sick?

Miss 3: *eyes wide*

Me: Or that they mean you can go to a lovely school to learn and see your friends? Or build the parks that we play at? Or so we have police to keep us safe?

Miss 3: YEAH!

There really are so many opportunities to talk to our kids about tax and what it means on an individual and a community level. I built on our experiences that she could relate to at her young age. As she gets older I will be able to talk about broader and more complex topics. Not only is it setting her up for her future world or work but also giving her an appreciation of the role we all play in building Australia and making it a wonderful place to live. If you are struggling with where to start in having the conversation with your kids, the ATO has a range of educational resources on their Tax, Super and You website which you can explore and use.

I need a new eye cream

The conversation about income and tax isn’t complete without talking about superannuation. I explained it to her as money we pay for when we are old and stop working. Money that we can use so she doesn’t have to look after us. Money for the future. And out of the mouth of my darling daughter, my first born, the one I care for day in and day out, giving her my all, came the words, “But you are already old, mummy.” Conversation over. For today at least.

The ATO recognises the role that we, as parents and carers, play in shaping our children’s attitudes and values towards tax and I definitely agree. This experience was quite eye opening for me and I will be keeping the conversation going.

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