In the run up to the Ontario government’s budget release next week, I read an article about what high-school students think of the province’s fiscal situation. Based on a survey of about 1,300 students from 32 different Ontario school boards, the article not only offers an interesting perspective – it also struck me as a good way to broach a conversation with teens about budgeting.\n\nHow so? Well, most of the teens polled (83 per cent) say they are concerned about the province’s deficit and the effect it might have on their future. A majority (52 per cent) also say the solution is for citizens to make sacrifices and deal with program and public service cuts. In other words, reduce spending.\n\nIf you’ve got teens or tweens at home, ask them if they agree with the students who were surveyed. Are budget deficits worrisome to them? And if they think governments need to live within their means, does this mean they think individuals and families should do so as well? Talk about personal budgets and how to stay out of debt. Better yet, show them your own household budget – or, if you don’t have one, maybe create one together. Remember, it’s never too early or too late to get your kids thinking critically about finances.\n\nHave you ever used a news story to start a family conversation on money or other topics?