DEAR HARRIETTE: My husband and I have been struggling financially for the past five years, and it is beginning to take a toll on everything. We have tried to shield our two children from our issues, but now I'm wondering if that's the right thing to do. When I was growing up and my parents had money troubles, they never mentioned it. They went so far as to take out loans just so that we could continue the lifestyle that we had always enjoyed. It wasn't until years later that I discovered that they had even taken out a second mortgage to do this. When I was just getting my start, I had to help bail them out of their debt. It was a mess. So I am thinking that rather than ending up like them, we should tell our kids that we need to cut back because our finances have changed. What do you think? -- Deja Vu, Jackson, Mississippi
DEAR DEJA VU: I could not agree with you more. Children have the capacity to understand life's twists and turns if you talk to them about it. While they do not need to know every detail of your finances, by all means tell them what's happening in your family and what impact it is having on your day-to-day lives. Financial adviser Sabrina Lamb recommends that children be shown the family expenses and income so that they can see where the money goes. When it is laid out in black and white, it makes it much easier for them to understand when you say no to a new pair of sneakers. Teaching financial literacy to children helps them become financially savvy adults. For more information on educating children about money, go to worldofmoney.org.