Talking about money can be complicated, uncomfortable and just plain awkward. Roselyn Sanchez is on a mission to change all that. The singer/actress/podcast host linked up with Life Happens, a nonprofit that educates Americans about the importance of life insurance, and when she hopped on the phone with SheKnows to discuss their partnership, Sanchez was more than happy to dig into the taboo topic of finances.
From teaching kids about money to having those important financial conversations with significant others, Sanchez broke down how her family deals with this hot button topic. Read on to find some really thoughtful tricks, insights and why, as a parent, Sanchez believes getting life insurance is a “really beautiful thing.”
SheKnows: How do you go about discussing money with your kids? Do you have any tips or tricks to teach them about financial literacy?
Roselyn Sanchez: My kids are very blessed, they have everything they need but we want to make sure they understand that mom and dad worked really hard to be able to provide them with their lifestyle.
We’re actually implementing this game. It’s been really effective. We tell them, “Listen, let’s work on negotiation skills. You are going to pick a chore that you think effects the entire family. For example, if the dishes are all over the sink, that effects the entire family. If you take care of the dishes, you’re going to get paid. You will negotiate how much you think it’s worth.”
We have this whole negotiation…and it’s been a lot of fun. Sometimes they collect $6 a week, sometimes $2, and they’re so proud. They go to their piggy bank and they actually made some money by doing something that was productive.
SheKnows: What do you think is the power of teaching negotiation to kids?
Roselyn Sanchez: I think it makes them smarter. Listen, everything in life is a negotiation. It’s important to know your value and know the value of things.
Maybe I’m talking [from] my own experience. I moved to the states when I was 21 and even though my mom was a school teacher and my father was an accountant and a business owner, they never had a conversation with me about the value of money, about the importance of building good credit, about the importance of saving. I didn’t have any of those tools. I’m not blaming my parents — it’s just those conversations, especially to the Hispanic community, financial, economical conversations tend to be taboo, that’s not something that you talk to your kids [about]. I want to be able to break that cycle with my kids.
SheKnows: As a parent, why it was so important for you to get life insurance and educate others about life insurance?
Roselyn Sanchez: It’s something that should be like any other investment. When it comes to life insurance, [people] don’t see it as an investment for the future, like God forbid something happens to you or to the main provider of the household — what a beautiful thing to be able to provide life insurance. So when your transition to heaven, your loved ones, your kids, your wife, your spouse can actually breathe a little bit. [During] this time of mourning, at least that financial part might be alleviated a little bit because somebody actually thought about your future.
SheKnows: You mentioned that discussing money can be so taboo. How do you handle talking about finances with your partner?
Roselyn Sanchez: It’s tricky. Listen, I’m not going to lie. I’ve been married for 17 years and when I met my husband, I was already doing well and he was doing well. So, [we said], let’s make sure that we sign the papers, what’s mine is mine, what’s yours is yours. God forbid something happens. I was very much of the mentality that he doesn’t need to know anything about what I make. I’m fierce. I’m independent. What’s mine is mine.
But after 17 years and now kids involved? It’s a team. You’re a couple. Let’s just make sure we’re doing good by the family. It’s not about you and me anymore. Now we have children. It’s not comfortable, to be honest with you, but you have to talk about it. You have to talk about it so there’s no surprises.
SheKnows: We’re coming up on Hispanic Heritage Month. Are there ways you go about getting your kids excited to embrace their heritage and speak Spanish?
Roselyn Sanchez: They can speak it, but they’re definitely more comfortable in English. And especially with 10-year-old Sebella, she’s fully bilingual, but she fights it…it is constant fight because I don’t think she fully comprehends how valuable it’s going to be for her in the future. Even though we tell [her], she’s at that age where she’d rather assimilate.
We buy books in Spanish, we listen to a lot of music in Spanish. When Sebella was watching cartoons, we’d switch it to Spanish. We try our best…she’s still young, I’m assuming when she becomes a teenager or when she goes to college, she’s going to be like, “Oh, Mom was right. What a blessing that I’m able to speak two languages.”
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity and length.
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