Parents sitting down with their kids for "the talk" takes on a new meaning this Thursday night, with American Express sponsoring "The National Money Night Talk" on September 16th. Presented in association with personal finance expert Jean Chatzky, the program offers online tools to help parents openly discuss money and credit with their children.

Chatzky has posted a series of discussion topics to a special American Express website, with conversation prompts focused on three age groups:

  • Middle School: Topics focus on understanding household budgets and utility bills, looking at where money comes from each month and where it goes.
  • High School: Suggested conversations revolve around earning and saving money, including talking about getting a job and saving at least 10 percent in a savings account.
  • College Students: Chatzky suggests parents draw comparisons between report cards and credit reports, while starting dialogue about what kinds of accounts students might consider opening.

In addition to tips about staging successful family conversations about money, the Money Night Talk website offers a pledge that parents can sign, holding themselves and their friends accountable to having "the talk" with their kids.

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Joe Taylor Jr. is an internal business consultant for a Fortune 500 company, who writes about finance, culture, and design. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Communications from Ithaca College.