I try to have honest conversations with my son about money: How to save some, how to give back, all the different ways to earn it (outside of his traditional allowance). Sometimes the older boy from down the street comes over and talks about how there isn't enough money in his household to do the things in life he wants to do, and that sparks more conversations with my son. Because, like most parents, I want my son to understand how money works but I don't want him to worry about our family's income - it's a tremulous balance.
Usually, I tell him that Mommy and Daddy are good at budgeting - spending money on the things we need in life like our house and food, and then we make decisions together about what to do with our discretionary income - saving for his college and family vacations. For the age that he is at now, that seems to suffice.
Income can be a hard topic for children to understand, but it is important to keep up the ongoing discussion. I never thought that there was one right income for a family (just as I never believed there was one right house type or vacation for family), but evidently I am wrong.
Some people who are way smarter in math than I am figured out what incomes would make people happiest in the U.S. and you can read about those numbers here.
The problem that I have with that research is that money doesn't define happiness. I know people who are happy at every income level and every type of house and various numbers of children. I think that happiness - true happiness - comes from a lot of factors (money being just one of them).
What amount of money do you think you would need to make in a year to be truly happy? Tell me in the comments.