Family

A Seven Year Old Learns About Credit Cards

Here’s some food for thought for those of you out there raising children and hoping to teach them good lessons about money. I was at the store recently with my seven year old son. When it’s just the two of us, he’s very quiet and observant of what’s going on around him (he can be …

My Plan for Handling a Big Windfall

Kelly writes in: What would you do if you won the lottery? Since I don’t play the lottery, I’ll answer this question under the assumption that instead I’m just receiving a very big inheritance from my unknown Uncle Rockefeller and Aunt Vanderbilt. The first step I’d take is to make absolutely sure all taxes on …

Categories: Family, Investing

The Cost of Children

This morning, my youngest child woke me up at about five in the morning. He was standing there beside my bed whispering “Dad….. Dad…..” and just waiting until I opened my eyes. When I looked at him and greeted him, he said simply, “I make mess in bathroom.” He’s still in the latter stages of …

Categories: Family

Teaching Money Values at a Restaurant

A few nights ago, our family went out to dinner at a local restaurant. On the occasions when our family does eat out, our children are usually pretty excited for the event, as it’s a change of pace from eating at home every evening. They’re usually really observant and spend much of the meal asking …

Categories: Family, Frugality

The Fallback Question

For many people, the interesting career path that they feel most passionate about is one fraught with risk. Entrepreneurship. The creative arts. Professional sports. All of those career tracks – and many more – are ones where success is relatively hard to come by. Let’s say you’re a relatively skilled high school baseball player. You …

Categories: Careers, Education, Family

Teaching Kids How to Shop Around

Frugality is a toolset that anyone can use to squeeze more out of their dollars, and shopping around is just one of those tools. One of my biggest projects as a parent is to make my children intimately familiar with those tools, not just in terms of “seeing how Dad does it,” but finding ways …

Categories: Family

Children, Bribes, and Reverse Bribery

Have you ever had a two year old repeatedly attempt to climb out of a bathtub while you were trying to give that child a bath? You end up covered in soap and at the end of your rope. Our youngest child is well into the “terrible twos.” As anyone who’s had a child can …

Categories: Family

The Sandwich Generation and You

Recently, I read a fascinating study by the Pew Research Center indicating that somewhere around one in seven adults have simultaneously provided financial assistance to a parent aged 65 and older and to one of their own children of any age in the past year. A quick overview of this study: With an aging population …

Categories: Family, Getting Started

Building a Financial Firewall Against Addiction

Carol writes in: My husband is a gambling addict. He also drinks excessively. The problem is that he takes money to feed both of these addictions right out of our checking account. He’ll go for weeks and weeks without gambling or drinking, then he’ll have a rough day at work, call me on the cell …

Categories: Family

Helping Your Children

One of the questions I’ve really struggled with over the past several years is how much help I should provide to my children as they grow older, and what form that help should take. When I turned eighteen and left for college, my parents were more or less finished with their role as parents for …

Categories: Family

Some Thoughts on Shopping with Children

I have three children under the age of eight. The prospect of taking them all to the grocery store for a weekly grocery trip is something of a daunting one. While they do behave pretty well overall, they’re also children, and that brings about several problems. Things grab their attention easily. They get bored with …

Categories: Family

Correcting the Wrong Money Lessons

My two oldest children are in elementary school. They have a wide range of classmates from different ethnic, political, social, and economic backgrounds in their class. There are children of college professors in the classroom right next to the children of migrant workers of immigrants. Children in early elementary school are enormously influenced by the …

Categories: Family

Finding Money Heroes for Our Children

Children look for role models (as do adults, to some extent). They look for people who embody the things they see as successful and important and emulate their behavior to some degree. I recognize that, for my children, I’m going to be a role model, both consciously and unconsciously, but I also know that I’m …

Categories: Family, Getting Started

Christmas Worries

In a recent reader mailbag, Dave wrote: Up until January, I had a wonderful job where I handled all of the IT needs for a small company in our area. At the end of last year, the company was sold and the jobs were folded together with another company with the “redundant” jobs being eliminated, …

Teaching Kids About Money: Raising Financially Fit Kids

Raising Financially Fit Kids by Joline Godfrey is one of a very small handful of personal finance books that focus on teaching kids about money and have made a deep impact on my life. The book’s focus is a straightforward one: how do you raise children so that they have a healthy relationship with money? …

Categories: Family

The Giant Christmas List: Curbing Impulses

Last year, as Christmastime was approaching, our two oldest children wrote letters to Santa listing all of the things they wanted. Our oldest child was mostly able to write the letter on his own, but our middle child needed someone to dictate for her. In any case, both of our children ended up creating a …

Categories: Family, Getting Started

Fear, Frugality, and Parenting

“They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.” – Benjamin Franklin A few weeks ago, there was a kidnapping scare in our area. A student was walking home from school when a person in a car pulled up next to her and asked her if …

Categories: Family

Building Self-Reliance in Your Children

When my children graduate from college, I do not want them relying on me in any way. Sure, they can call me up for advice and visit sometimes, but I want them to have their own independent lives. This is both a selfish and an unselfish goal. It’s unselfish in that I want them to …

Categories: Family, Getting Started

Should I Give My Adult Children Cash Gifts?

Monica writes in: Some of your recent articles have touched on an issue that has really troubled me for a while. I have two children, both in college. The oldest one is starting her senior and is likely heading to graduate school, while the younger is about to be a freshman. Each month, I’ve put …

Categories: Family, Getting Started