Parenting

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 …

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: Parenting

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: Frugality, Parenting

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 …

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: Parenting

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: Parenting

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: Parenting

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: Parenting

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: Parenting

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 …

Evaluating My Parenting Skills When It Comes to Money

Raising Financially Fit Kids by Joline Godfrey is one of a very small handful of personal finance books that 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? Godfrey breaks this question down into ten …

Categories: Parenting

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 …

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: Parenting

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 …

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 …

Children, Personal Finances, and Entitlement

An allowance is not a salary or an entitlement. It is a tool for teaching children how to manage money. – Joline Godfrey, Raising Financially Fit Kids Our three kids are really blessed. They have involved parents that are in a solid enough financial state to provide for them without worry. They have two sets …

Chores, Allowance, and “Above and Beyond” Tasks

I’m often asked about our allowance and chore policies for our children. Recently, some snow on our driveway made us carefully think about these policies and decide exactly how we wanted to handle them. About two weeks ago, we had a snowstorm that covered our driveway with about two inches of snow. While it wasn’t …

Categories: Parenting

The Financial Path of a Little Girl

“I think the girl who is able to earn her own living and pay her own way should be as happy as anybody on earth.” – Susan B. Anthony Today, I’m going to talk about my daughter. In many regards, she’s a pretty typical four year old girl – at least judging by her peers. …

Categories: Family, Parenting

Children as Financial Paradox

Karen writes in: I have a question I think it would be interesting for you to attempt to tackle. You approach so many decisions with a methodical and disciplined calculus that often leads you to great time and money savers…Can you address what I’ll call ” the children paradox” and maybe provide some insight that …