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Actress and model Brooke Shields’ two daughters spent the summer of 2020 working — their first time holding down jobs. So Shields decided it was time to start having some money conversations at home.
Her two teen daughters, Grier, age 14, and Rowan, 17, were realizing just how hard they have to work for money, and she wanted to start teaching them how to use it well.
“They would get a paycheck and we would talk about it,” Shields says. It quickly became a conversation starter to touch on all sorts of money topics. “That was a jumping-off point to have a conversation about finances and being smart and protecting yourself and having a safety net,” she says.
One of the money conversations she had with her daughters was about life insurance, Shields tells Business Insider. Shields, who is working with the nonprofit Life Happens to promote life insurance education, hopes that her daughters will come to understand not only why life insurance is so important to have themselves in the future, but also know what she’s set up for them.
She makes it a conversation about financial responsibility
Like any parent, Shields expects a certain level of financial responsibility of her daughters. In doing what she can to illustrate this herself, she’s started explaining life insurance to them. “We don’t make it too heavy,” Shields says. “I start the conversation [by talking] about being responsible.”
Life insurance is an important part of any financial plan, and can help cover expenses and support children if something happens. It’s critical for parents, and Shields says that the conversation is about teaching her daughters that it’s one of the ways she’s protecting them — and how they can protect their own families later.
“It’s the same way that they just can’t take my credit card, or assume that everything they get just appears,” she says.
She tries to keep it focused on the fact that it’s about being responsible above all else. “It’s not a tough conversation because it instantly goes from not that their parents are going to die, but that they can be sure that their future will be as protected as possible,” she says.
She lets them ask the questions, and puts it into their terms
Most teenagers don’t have a good understanding of insurance. But they do know the value of money — especially after they’ve started working. To help her daughters understand why life insurance is so important, and what she has set up for them, she lets them guide the conversation.
“They’ll inevitably ask questions,” she says. “They’ll ask, ‘Well, what happens if you don’t have it?’ And that’s when you’ve opened up the conversation.”
It’s easier to have the conversation in terms that are familiar to her kids. “I’ll say, ‘What you pay for coffee or getting your nails done, that’s more expensive than what life insurance would cost,'” she tells Business Insider. The average term life insurance policy costs about $44 per month, and it’s even more affordable the younger you are.
Shields hopes that her daughters understand how affordable life insurance is, and remember why it’s important when they have their own families later.
“When they have children, they’ll remember that this is what we set up for them. And they’ll remember that they’re not going to be left high and dry,” Shields says. “All of this work is not just for their daily benefit, but for the whole family’s, and for their future benefit.”
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