Updated on 03.28.11

The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Winter and Summer Edition

Trent Hamm

One of the most challenging parts of having three children of different ages is that they seem to pick up sicknesses then pass them to each other, and just as they finally all get well it seems like another one gets a cold of some sort. I just want this season to be over with.

It’s funny. In the late stages of winter (right now), I look forward to summer. In the late stages of summer, I look forward to winter.

Accepting False Limits Everyone accepts some false limits. The people who accept fewer false limits, though, are the ones who succeed. (@ seth’s blog)

Is Entrepreneurship Right For You? I think it’s right for more people than are out there being entrepreneurs, but I don’t think it’s right for everyone. (@ jonathan fields)

Newton’s First Law of Personal Finance Most of us, by nature, resist change. If a lifestyle change is suggested to us, our default reaction to it is usually negative. Even if we can just move that switch up to neutral, it can have a profound positive impact on your life. (@ mrs. nespy’s world)

Raising Money Savvy Kids One section really stood out for me: “Before age 10, I knew what my father’s salary was, the amount of our mortgage and the interest rate we were paying. I knew how much a week’s worth of groceries cost and the value of buying term life insurance and investing the difference. Parental actions can be ambiguous, but when they are accompanied with a commentary of values and decision-making skills, they offer sage mentoring.” Indeed. (@ free money finance)

Interview: The Simple Dollar I did a brief interview recently with Jane over at debtmanagement.net and thought some of you might enjoy reading it. (@ debt management.net)

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  1. Tracy says:

    I really like the ‘raising money savvy kids’ – starting when I was about 13, I began paying the family bills – my dad and I would sit down with his checkbook and all of the monthly bills, and I’d write out all the checks, balance the checkbook and make sure none of them were forgotten. He was just there for the signature :p

    It wasn’t always fun (paying bills is a LOT more fun now that it can all be done online rather than writing it out by hand!) but it definitely taught me how much money we had and how we spent it, and taught me the importance of making sure everything gets paid every month. Which seems small, until I found out how many of my friends in college and just after would get into trouble not because they didn’t have the money to pay their bills, but because they would forget to write the check.

  2. jackson says:

    I agree with Tracy (previous comment)on raising money savvy kids. Schools just don’t teach how to balance a checkbook, save money for the future, and a host of other important financial topics. It is up to the parents and kids are better off having that knowledge.

  3. Steven says:

    I think it is up to the school to teach a lot of things but I’m also of the persuasion that it is up to the parents to teach their children a plethora of other “real world” topics, including personal finance. Society can’t rely on public schools to raise their children, which seems to be what the current situation in America is today with both parents out of the home earning a paycheck.

  4. Karie says:

    I was wondering though how to deal with a bad situation. Currently, we do not have a solid income. I am not working and my husband is working sporadically. We are dependent on family to help us get through this time, while my husband looks for more work. How do we deal with this situation while trying to raise financially responsible kids (ours are 9 and younger)? We don’t have a lot of money to give them with which to “learn”, although they do have savings accounts. What if our situation does not improve and we must declare bankruptcy or foreclosure? What situations should be presented to children and how? Also, what if one parent is not comfortable telling children about the financial situation? Is it right for the kids to be informed without the other parent’s consent?

  5. Tracy says:


    This is just my own two cents but:

    I think both parents need to have buy-in on having the discussion, but I think it’s a really valuable one to have.

    Not just in order to help the children make their own choices through life but because kids pick up a lot – I’m sure they know at least some of what’s going on, but if it’s a ‘secret’ they’re going to internalize it a lot more negatively.

    Which isn’t to say you have to necessarily try to explain foreclosure and bankruptcy at an age where it may be confusing, or that you go down every bit of detail, but there’s something to be said for reassurance and giving them the positive (how supportive family is, for example) and explain why you’re making the financial choices you are – and even how that reflects what your family considers important. Or talk about what you would have done differently, if you could talk to yourself from 5 years ago.

    The more open and honest you are with them, the less that money is something secretive and not talked about, the more likely I think they are to understand it.

  6. Kaye says:

    Thanks for the link love! Sorry…didn’t see it until to day, but I’m no less appreciative! =)

  7. Nicole says:

    I couldn’t find a way to comment directly on Seth’s Blog. Overall it was a very good point, but he undermines it with a bad example:

    ‘Or a colleague who says, “I can’t possibly learn Chinese. I’m not smart enough.”

    This is a mystery to me. A billion people have learned Chinese, and the failure rate for new kids is close to zero. If a well functioning adult puts in sufficient time and the effort, she’ll succeed.’

    Is he referring to the billion native Chinese who learned the language as children through at least some degree of linguistic and cultural immersion? Because unfortunately, the language deck does appear stacked against adults, neurologically speaking (not to mention I once heard from a military translator that their schools consider Chinese and Arabic 4 out of 5 on the scale of difficulty, 5 being English!). Comparing apples to oranges sets up the adult learner for disappointment and frustration, which I find they are already prone to because by that point they’re usually successful at something and it’s hard on the ego to be a rank novice again. One needs to be aware of the real obstacles and prepare not only to work harder to overcome them, but be patient too even when progress seems elusive. What’s true, though, is that it isn’t impossible!

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