Do you have a family member who frequently asks you for a handout while mismanaging his or her own finances? It's a touchy subject, especially if the hand belongs to a sibling or other very close relative, where love and the desire to help - along with longstanding tensions - runs high. It can be hard to broach the topic of money, particularly if you're out to criticize a member of your family and his or her ability to manage personal financial matters. But there is one way to get your foot in the door on this conversation: the kids. And if you can get your siblings to teach your nieces and nephews about finance, they may learn enough to avoid asking you for money, too.

Learning Without Lecturing
When you tell your siblings something, it can seem like a lecture. Instead, provide them with resources for their children, such as links to financial games online, or books dedicated to personal finance for youngsters. These may help kids through the curriculum you recommended, and thus learn a few lessons themselves. After all, everyone wants an educated kid.

Pick Lessons and Books Based on Your Siblings' Weaknesses
If your siblings have zilch in their savings, find a couple of exercises on websites, online games or books that are geared toward teaching children about savings. Can a kid's lesson really translate to an adult world? Yes.

Let's say the exercise is about saving for a new toy. The toy costs $15.50 and your nephew puts away $4 per week from his allowance. Your brother gives his kids an envelope in which to keep their money. After four weeks, the child has earned the toy of his dreams.

The next time your nephew tugs on his dad's pant leg begging for the newest cool gadget, your brother can encourage the child to save for it. Your brother saves money on toys he normally would have purchased on demand. Plus, when his child is behaving money-wise, he may also get the hint that when he wants an MP3 player or a new suit that he should save a little from each paycheck - after all, even a kid can do it! Even if dad fails to apply the lessons he's taught his son to himself, most kids have little trouble picking up on these kinds of parallels. If you're lucky, dad may be asked whether he saved up for his purchases by putting money in an envelope.

Age Matters
There are picture books for preschoolers, activity books and full-blown how-to books. There are also online financial games. Even classic children's book character Arthur, stars in "Arthur's Funny Money", where the little monkey has to earn the money to buy himself a T-shirt and cap.

If your nieces or nephews are in their teens, age-appropriate material that can apply directly to your siblings' situations can be found online. There are a bunch of free games on the web that help kids plan a realistic budget based on the job they'd like to have, where they'd like to live and the car they'd like to drive. In addition to budgeting for basic expenses, some websites have options for seeing how long it would take to earn money for items kids want, like new clothes or video games. (For more on budgeting, see Debunking 10 Budget Myths.)

Consider the Attention Spans of Your Siblings and Their Children
Will your siblings sit with their kids through 10 lessons? Are the siblings with financial problems more in tune with reading, activities or video games? To figure out which options are best for inspiring your family to become more interested in finances, ask your siblings about what interesting things they did with their kids this week. Most parents, especially ones with young children, love to gush over their children's every move. Take notes of key activities like reading a book together, playing learning games on the computer or coloring in an activity book. The answers could provide the exact information you need to choose the perfect option.

Try Out All Education Materials First
Try any books, games or activities yourself before recommending them to your family. This way, you'll be able to answer your sibling or their children may have. Plus, if the book, activity or online game is a dud, you'll be able to find out first.

Your siblings' financial woes - and your worries concerning being asked for money - can be solved by helping your brothers and sisters learn with their children about saving and budgeting. Just make sure you choose activities you know they'll enjoy. It could mean big changes for their family - and yours - as your siblings learn how to manage their money, rather than asking for yours.

For more on kids and money, read Talking About Money When Times Are Tough, 5 Money Skills To Teach Your Kids, and Is Your Teen Ready For A Credit Card?

Related Articles
  1. Credit & Loans

    Protect Your Kids Against Identity Theft

    Children have valid Social Security numbers and no debt, which makes them ideal targets. Here’s what parents can do to prevent a scam.
  2. Entrepreneurship

    ‘Happy Birthday to You’ Belongs to Everyone Now

    A class action lawsuit over the copyright to the iconic American song “Happy Birthday to You” ends by placing the ubiquitous ditty in the public domain.
  3. Investing News

    Who Does Cheap Oil Benefit? See This Stock (DG)

    Cheap oil won't benefit most companies, but this retailer might buck that trend.
  4. Economics

    The Oscars and Golden Globes: Worth Their Weight In Gold!

    The Oscars and Golden Globes set off a wave of spending that creates new flows of funds in the economy and has major financial impact.
  5. Your Practice

    How Advisors Can Appeal to Nontraditional Families

    So-called traditional families represent less than 20% of U.S. households today. Here's how advisors can adjust.
  6. Personal Finance

    The Top 6 Books for Estate Planning

    Here are six outstanding books that can help you with your estate planning.
  7. Economics

    What is a Complement?

    A good or service that’s used in conjunction with another good or service is a complement.
  8. Investing

    7 Creative Ways to Save for an Early Retirement

    Take note of these out of the box steps you can take towards securing yourself an earlier, more comfortable retirement.
  9. Investing News

    Chipotle Served with Criminal Probe

    Chipotle's beat muted expectations and got a clear bill from the CDC, but it now appears that an investigation into its E.coli breakout has expanded.
  10. Retirement

    Birch Box Review: Is It Worth It?

    Learn more about the convenience of the subscription beauty box industry, and discover why the Birchbox company in particular has become so popular.
  1. Are UTMA accounts escheatable?

    Like most financial assets held by institutions such as banks and investment firms, UTMA accounts can be escheated by state ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. Marginal propensity to Consume (MPC) Vs. Save (MPS)

    Historically, because people in the United States have shown a higher propensity to consume, this is likely the more important ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. Is Japan an emerging market economy?

    Japan is not an emerging market economy. Emerging market economies are characterized by low per capita incomes, poor infrastructure ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. Are Social Security payments included in the US GDP calculation?

    Social Security payments are not included in the U.S. definition of the gross domestic product (GDP). Transfer Payments For ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. How does a bank determine what my discretionary income is when making a loan decision?

    Discretionary income is the money left over from your gross income each month after taking out taxes and paying for necessities. ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. What economic indicators are important to consider when investing in the retail sector?

    The unemployment rate and Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) rank as two of the most important economic indicators to consider ... Read Full Answer >>
Trading Center