Family

A Few Thoughts About My Wife

It is often said that a major part of success is filling your life with people who encourage your positive growth and your success. Every single success in my life over the past decade or so has been tightly interwoven with the efforts of my wife, Sarah. There is no major success that I would …

The Costs – and Rewards – of Having Children

Erika writes: “My husband and I are weighing the pros and cons of having a baby. We have seen articles that estimate that the cost of raising a child from birth to adulthood is around $250,000 which seems incredible. If you have three kids that would mean you’re putting up $750,000 just to raise them, …

Categories: Family, Getting Started

Why Lending Money to Family Is a Bad Idea

I have very few fundamental rules of personal finance that I follow. Spend less than you earn is a big one, but once you get past that, there tend to be exceptions to most rules in life. However, there is one principle that I’ve followed for a long time that has never guided me wrong. …

Children, Failure, Careers, and Money

Like virtually every parent in the world, I want to see my children succeed. I love it when they take on something challenging and then overcome it. This is a big part of the parenting philosophy that Sarah and I hold. We regularly encourage our children to take on challenging things, whether it’s a hard …

Categories: Careers, Family

The Reality of Inheritance

The Reality of Inheritance A surprising number of readers write in to me asking about whether or not they should change their financial plans to account for a healthy inheritance from their parents. Often, these are children who see their recently-retired parents having a significant amount of cash that the children believe they will eventually …

Categories: Family, Getting Started

Teaching Kids About Money

One of the most rewarding aspects of being a parent is watching as your child’s mind grows. An infant relies on you for virtually everything, but as time passes, that infant becomes a toddler, then a child. At each step – seemingly on a daily basis – that child’s ability to make decisions and think …

Categories: Family, Frugality

Finding Valuable (and Inexpensive) Ways to Connect with My Children

One of the most powerful parts of parenthood is the fact that you get to watch your children grow and change over time. They start off as babies, where the bonding is easy. You can hold them in your arms, feed them, sing to them, and rock them to sleep on your shoulder. Soon, they …

Categories: Family, Getting Started

Is Minimum Wage Worth It for a Married Couple?

Lacey writes in: “My husband makes about $45K per year working for the state. I make just a hair above minimum wage – $8 per hour – working in the kitchen at a restaurant. I don’t mind the work but I have been wondering whether it makes sense for me to be doing this. After …

Categories: Family

Wishing for the Best for Your Children? Make the Best Instead

Almost every parent out there has dreams for their children. They want their children to have a happy life, no matter what path they take. They want their children to see success in whatever life paths they choose. They want their children to find love and perhaps also want their children to know the joys …

Categories: Family

Reflections on a Child’s Birthday

Our oldest child celebrated a birthday this week. He received several gifts and had a small party, which is almost exactly what he asked for. Over the years, we’ve had big parties and small parties. Our children have received many gifts at once and just a few gifts. We’ve had elaborate celebrations and simple ones. …

An Experience at the Store with My Three Year Old Son

A few days ago, I found myself at a store with my three year old son. I had to stop in and pick up a few items because we had some extended family members visiting us. So, the two of us strolled through the store. He’s decided that he’s too big to ride in the …

Categories: Family

Trick or Treat! Halloween Candy as a Personal Finance Lesson

This evening, my children will be dressing up and running about in their neighborhood, knocking on doors and requesting candy. If they match last year’s performance, they’ll be bringing home multiple pounds of mini candy bars, Sweet Tarts, and other goodies. Naturally, they’ll eat a few pieces while they’re out and about – I certainly …

Categories: Family

Inequality Among Children

When I was younger, I was always frustrated when my parents didn’t treat their children exactly the same. I thought it was unfair when they would do something to help one of my brothers, but I also thought it was unfair when they would do something to help me individually. Why couldn’t they just treat …

Categories: Family

Financial Infidelity: A Calm Response

A version of this article appeared previously on US News and World Report Money. The core of any marriage is trust. You are trusting virtually every aspect of your life to your partner and you reasonably expect the same in return. One of the biggest elements of that trust is with money. You work hard, …

Categories: Family

How to Talk to Young Children About Money

A version of this article first appeared on US News and World Report Money. My six year old daughter has a passion for LEGOs. She loves opening up a new LEGO kit, browsing through the instructions, laying out all of the pieces carefully on the table, and following the instructions step by step to build …

Categories: Family

Some Thoughts on Store-Sponsored Free Activities for Children

As you’re reading this, my children are (probably) at Lowe’s (a hardware store) engaged in the store’s regular Saturday “Build and Grow” project. This time, they’re going to make “Spooky Stackers,” which is apparently a Jenga-like stacking game made out of wooden pieces. On the first Saturday of each month, Home Depot does a similar …

Spouse Mishandling Money? Here’s How to Protect Yourself

I can’t tell you how happy I am to have Sarah as a spouse. Whenever we sit down and go through bills together, one or the other of us can explain exactly what each item is on every single bill. There is no “hidden” spending other than the occasional claim of “that’s a gift for …

Categories: Family, Getting Started

Are Parents Terrible Personal Finance Role Models?

Recently, I came across this article from Time Business arguing – quite convincingly – that parents are poor financial role models for their kids. From the article: “Most parents (77%) say they are not always honest with their kids about money; 15% lie weekly. Half are willing to discuss saving and spending issues but almost …

Categories: Family

Managing and Minimizing a Child’s Wants

One of the true highlights of my day is the time I get to spend with my children. At different times, it gives me the chance to be a parent and a guiding force to them, but it also gives me the chance to look at the world through a different set of eyes for …

Categories: Family