In many families, money is not a topic of discussion. I believe that it should be the exact opposite. One of the most fundamental elements of education for kids needs to be to understand their financial circumstances, and how saving and investing money is a virtue to be applauded.
Both the kids have a basic idea of what my salary is, how much we spend by category and how much we save. We talk often about different investment options, stocks vs bonds vs real estate. We have build spreadsheets together about compound interest and how done at an early age, that can be the one decision that outperforms all others.
Once such conversation, had half jokingly with my son was to give him a choice. Go to an expensive college, study and earn or choose not to go to college and take his college fund of about $180k in cash and invest it. While neither extreme is desirable, it did make him think about the tradeoff of spending on his education vs saving for his future.
I also believe in a multi-generational view of money. The idea of rugged individualism and every child making it for themselves from scratch is nice, but in a lot of Asian cultures, the norm is the opposite. One gift I believe in giving my children is more economic security than I had starting out. I recognize fears and concerns regarding what they *might do with it, but believe that is more a commentary on our parenting than a money issue.
Both the kids now understand the concept of financial freedom before either reaching 18 and I believe that is one important gift to give them. Agree?