Family

Handling the Disappointment

For the past month, my family and I had been looking forward to traveling to the Chicago area. We were going to stay for four days with my cousin (who I adore) and her children (which my children adore). We had planned on going into the city to Taste of Chicago and to the Art …

Four Financial Realities of Being in a Relationship

One of the most common themes I see in questions I receive from readers is an uncomfortable sense of what financial roles are in a relationship. A person lives with someone/is engaged to someone/is married to someone and is unsure about how to handle their partner’s debt/spending/shared purchases. That sentence covers the core of a …

Categories: Family, Getting Started

Starting the Journey Right

Me, at approximately age two, in the kitchen of the house I grew up in This past weekend, I was cleaning out a drawer in my office when I came across a stack of photos from my early childhood. My parents, my brothers, and my cousins were constants in these pictures, all looking stunningly young, …

Categories: Family, Getting Started

Personal Finance and Being a Parent

Yesterday, my oldest son (who is about to start kindergarten in the fall) and I were looking at his portfolio from his two years of preschool work. His teachers collected quite a few of his art projects, photographs of his activities, and other materials and presented it to our family after his graduation from preschool. …

Categories: Family

Little Steps for Teaching Young Ones Frugality

This morning, as my children were waking up, I was inspecting their dresser drawers looking for clothes. I pulled out clean underwear and socks for both of them, but rather than continuing through the drawers, I started digging through their clothes hamper, inspecting the clothes right in front of them. I’d examine one garment, say …

Categories: Family, Frugality

Why Get Married At All? Finances and Cohabitation

Last week, I wrote an article discussing reasons why the idea that men shouldn’t get married for financial reasons was false. In the article, I pointed out several purely financial reasons for men to get married, reasons that applied very well to women as well. Many people responded with the great point that many of …

Categories: Family, Getting Started

Should We Become Named Guardians for Several Children?

A few days ago, Sarah and I went out to dinner with another couple that we’ve been friends with for a long time – we’ve actually known the female in the couple for almost two decades. They live several hours away from us and we don’t get to see them terribly often, but we make …

Categories: Family

Why Should a Man Get Married?

I get asked this question all the time, and I think it’s one that’s got enough cultural pressure behind it that it’s worth discussing. From a purely financial standpoint, why should a man get married? Let’s look at the reasons behind this question first. The argument against marriage for men is pretty straightforward. The most …

Categories: Family

Further Thoughts on Children and Piggy Banks

As I’ve mentioned a few times on The Simple Dollar, we use piggy banks and allowances with our young children in our home. We have a few simple rules that go along with this, mostly allowing them to freely spend part of their allowance while they save another part of their allowance for longer-term goals …

Categories: Family, Getting Started

You Can’t Make Someone Be Who You Want Them to Be

Change in another person has to come from within them, not from within you. One of the most regular themes in emails I get from readers is a desire to somehow change the nature of the person they’re married to. “My husband is uninterested in our finances and just wants to buy more gadgets.” “My …

Categories: Family, Getting Started

The Post-Christmas Challenge

This year for Christmas, most of the items my wife and I received were small and/or served some specific utility in our lives. I received some grape juice with which to make homemade wine (pinot noir), a replacement for our small saucepan, and some books (among other things). My wife received similar small items. Our …

Categories: Family

Young Children, Allowances, and Financial Focus

For us, 2010 was a year of learning for both the parents and the children in our household about what allowance means, how it works, and what kinds of money lessons our children are learning. Let’s roll back the clock to November 2009, when our children each received piggy banks and the allowance adventure got …

Categories: Family

Commercials, Kids, and Materialism

Right off the bat, let’s take a peek at this “wonderful” new commercial by Toyota: I was pointed to this ad by longtime reader Beth and the AutoAdOpolis blog. If you’ve been reading The Simple Dollar for long, you’ll know that this ad takes a swing directly at a lot of different ideas I’ve shared …

Categories: Family

What Does an Allowance Pay For?

Melinda writes in: My twelve year old daughter and I are having a money war of sorts. At the start of the school year last month we went shopping for clothes together. I said she could spend $250 any way she chose as long as she got a certain number of items – some underwear, …

Categories: Family

An Ode to My Son’s Piggy Bank

About three months ago, my four year old son saw a toy at a store. He mentioned that he had played with it at a friend’s house and that he wanted one. But rather than demanding it this minute, he asked how much it would cost. Then, he asked how many allowances he’d have to …

Categories: Family

Setting Goals with Your Partner

As I’ve said many times on here, my wife and I have a small handful of major goals that we share going forward in our lives. We both want to eventually live in the country with some wooded area and a small barn. We both want to focus on raising our children as well as …

Delayed Gratification and Children

The single biggest personal finance lesson that anyone can learn is that of delayed gratification. Delayed gratification means that you hold off buying that new cell phone for a while so that you can pay cash for your car in a few years. Delayed gratification means that you spend the evening reading a book or …

Categories: Family

Credit Card Debt: Marriage, Privacy and Honesty

Archie writes in: In our marriage, my wife and I have agreed not to open financial statements addressed to each other. We supposedly did this so that we would be able to hide things like gift purchases from each other. Whenever we talked about our finances, we just talked about balances on accounts and didn’t …

Never Cosign a Loan Unless You Want to Pay It Yourself

One of the most common questions I get is whether or not a person should cosign on someone else’s loan – a car loan, a student loan, or so on. I have a single response that I always give to this type of question: You should only co-sign a loan that you’re perfectly happy paying …

Categories: Debt Management, Family