Hope for your financial life and beyond

Teaching Kids About Money to Get the Best Results

teaching kids about moneyA major role of parenting (and one that is often neglected) should be teaching kids about money. For many reasons, parents drop the ball in this area and raise children who carry an improper understanding of money into college and adulthood. Unfortunately, these children then face challenges when they go to seek employment, earn an income and determine how to manage their financial lives.

But what is a parent to do? How do you go about helping kids develop a proper understanding of how to relate to and handle money? It seems like such an overwhelming process, especially for those parents who don’t handle money well themselves.

The good news is that it’s not as difficult as you might think. For starters, what children should learn about money varies depending on their age. A five year old needs to hear different messages from the parents than does a teenager. However, there are three fundamental money lessons that every child needs to learn no matter what the age:

1) to save money for future needs,

2) to spend money wisely and

3) to give generously.

These three principles serve as the foundation upon which other money lessons build. Stick with these and you will see the best results when they are consistently applied over time. Let’s see what that practically looks like.

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How to Be Sure Children Should Get Your Inheritance Money

The question comes at some point in everyone’s life – “Who will I leave my inheritance too?” If you are in your 20s, the thought probably hasn’t crossed your mind yet. But it’s most definitely been thought of by people in their 40s, 50s and beyond, especially those who have a family, money and other assets.

inheritanceWe all hope to live as long as possible. With modern science advancing at leaps and bounds, life spans are being extended to 100 and beyond more and more often. But, in the end, we all know these two realities of life to be true:

1. Our death will occur at a fixed moment in time.

2. Nobody knows exactly when that moment will be.

How interesting that death brings with it aspects of certainty (we will die) and uncertainty (when?). That dualistic nature of death is fascinating. Perhaps that’s why issues surrounding death and what will happen after we are gone remain difficult to discuss. We simply don’t like thinking about anything that relates to the end of us.

But we have to think about it for there is so much at stake. Mess up our death and it could impact those left behind for generations to come. Today we will look at one aspect of death you need to consider – whether or not to leave an inheritance to your children.

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How to Invest 1,000 Dollars at Age 18

A while back, I had a conversation with a former student of mine who is looking to invest in the stock market. He was in college and had some money sitting around that he didn’t need for school. He wanted to know how to invest 1,000 dollars and whether it was realistic or not at this time of his life.

how to invest 1,000 dollarsHis situation was similar to what many 18-year-olds face. They’ve worked full-time summer jobs since they were 16 and maybe even part-time ones during the school year. Their college expenses are taken care of either through scholarships or the bank of mom and dad. The money they have earned is just sitting in their savings account drawing little to no interest. Does it make sense for them to do something else with it, like beginning to invest?

The answer is “YES…it absolutely makes sense” but with a very big “BUT…”.

Before I get to the “BUT…” though, lets look at some assumptions about 18-year-olds that are going to impact how they invest and where they put their money.

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How Much We Pay Our Kids For Chores

If you’ve ever wondered how much to pay kids for chores you are not alone. It’s a question my wife and I have wrestled with again and again. I’ve mentioned before why we don’t give our kids allowances. I’m not giving them money just for existing. It seems like that is what an allowance implies. Kids need to feel the burden of work so they can experience the joy of its rewards.

how much to pay kids for choresIn addition to earning some money, doing chores around the house is teaching them responsibility. The home is where they should begin to learn basic life skills. When I was in school, I knew some college freshman who couldn’t do their own laundry. All four of my children have been doing their laundry since they were nine.

Over the years my wife and I have adjusted how much we pay our kids for chores. The amounts started out small and increased as they got older. And then when we started having teenagers, specifically when they turned 16, we made another radical turn. Before I get to that though, here is some background information that helped us decide on how much to pay kids for chores.

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Kids, Money and High School Graduation Day

 

In a few hours, my firstborn child will walk across a stage and receive her high school diploma. It’s been 18 years in the making and now we are here. One of the milestone days any parent looks forward to.

It seems like only yesterday.

You hear people say this phrase all the time, “It seems like only yesterday.” Well, it’s true. Mom and dad are really feeling that today. I was just talking with a friend this morning about how quickly time passes. And I can vividly remember the day my daughter Kelly came into this world.

What a joy it’s been to raise this child. She’s been obedient…kind to her siblings…dependable and reliable…driven…generous…sweet.

And I’ll tell you something else she has been…costly. (Hey, this is a personal finance blog…what did you expect me to talk about.)

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Secret Advice For Teenagers Who Love to Spend Money

You know who you are – teenager who loves to spend money like it’s going out of style. You spend money faster than it takes a Snapchat to disappear. Money comes into your hand one minute and flows out like water the next.

spend moneyAnd you like it that way!

If that’s you, I have some special advice today. It’s unusual, maybe even secret advice. I’m pretty sure you’ve never heard an adult say this to you before. In fact, your parents may hate me for saying this because it might go against how they have instructed you to handle money. So I’m actually running a big risk here.

But before I reveal this big secret about spending your money, you have to promise me something.

The promise I’m asking you to make is to read this entire post. You are going to love what I have to say about spending money but you can’t take it as stand alone advice without understanding the bigger picture. As they say, the devil is in the details. So I’m asking for five minutes of your time to help you avoid failure on this issue.

Ready for the big, secret advice? OK, here goes…

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7 Tips on How to Handle a Teenager’s Car Accident

Calls in the middle of the night are never good. Neither is the one when you say “Hello” and your teenager is crying on the other end. Your heart immediately drops because you know they are hurting. That’s the phone call I received recently when my daughter was in her first car accident.

car accidentShe had just left basketball practice and was traveling at the legal speed on a country road. As she came up over a small hill, cars were stacked up four deep waiting for someone to turn left. She wasn’t on her phone but admittedly was a little tired and distracted. By the time she realized what was happening in front of her, it was too late to brake in time. The truck she was driving rear-ended the last car in the line. The driver of that car had her foot slip off the brake and hit the accelerator, propelling her down into the ditch. On the way, she clipped the car in front of her.

As rear-end car accidents go it wasn’t pretty. Our airbag deployed. The car she hit had damage in the back end and the front, as it hit a telephone pole when it went to the ditch. And the third car had minor bumper damage. In the end, our used truck – that we had owned for less than a month – was totaled.

Thankfully, everyone was OK. No hospital visits were needed. And the people involved were pretty nice about it. I think they could see how upset this 16-year old girl was having caused her first accident.

I hope I never have to take that call again from any of my other kids. Odds are I will. But as the oldest child often does, she broke new ground and helped us figure out how to deal with a teenager’s car accident. Here are 7 things I learned from the incident.

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What Is a Savings Account and Does My Child Need One?

As part of my return to blogging after a brief absence, I’m going to be writing a series of posts that answer some basic money questions.  Even for seasoned consumers, it’s important to return to the basics from time to time, if nothing more than to solidify in our minds why we do these things. So today I’m going to be answering the question what is a savings account?

And I’ll be answering some FAQs at the end – one in particular about savings accounts for children.

Savings 101

what is a savings accountOther than spend, there is no more basic activity to do with money than to save it. People save for many reasons. But the main purpose of saving is to have a store of money for needs, for wants or for emergencies.

You can save money anywhere. If you are like most people, you probably have a small amount of cash at your home. But the majority of people who want to save large amounts of cash do so by opening a savings account at local bank.

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3 Reasons Kids Should Watch Every Moment of Olympic Coverage

Today my kids will drag themselves out of bed and head back to school. Unfortunately, our back to school season is clashing with another major world event happening right now – the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. So there will be no more 10-hour, lying on the couch veg-out sessions, flipping back and forth to the many channels of Olympic coverage.

I have to admit I love the summer Olympics. I can do without the opening and closing ceremonies, which I know many people love. But I’ll take anything and everything else that happens. The Olympics are a sports enthusiasts dream.

My love affair with the Olympics started in 1984 when they were hosted by Los Angeles. I was 11 years old and still remember being in awe of the athletic performances. If you are under the age of 25 and have never heard of Carl Lewis, Edwin Moses, Mary Lou Retton, Greg Louganis or the Zola Budd collision you need to spend some time on YouTube. Great athletes with great performances in a great atmosphere.

Now I’m raising four kids who are growing up in an age where there is a greater variety of Olympic events and they have greater access to them. There weren’t 7 stations broadcasting the competitions in those days. And we certainly didn’t have streaming options via computer or mobile phone app.

So far my kids are eating this up. There have only been a few days of Olympic coverage but they are fixed in the TV room, cheering the USA on at every turn. I’m usually one to limit TV and computer viewing because I don’t think it’s healthy for kids to be looking at a screen all day.

But here is why until the Olympics are over I’ll be stretching the viewing limits and bedtimes a little farther even with school being in session.

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Back to School Tips to Manage Your Crazy Mornings

Next week my kids head back to school. YES and DOUBLE YES! They will hate that I’m saying that but after two long summer months it’s time to get back to the school thing. And to celebrate that, I’m going to remind my kids (and all of you who are reading) of some back to school tips that help us manage our crazy mornings.

back to school tipsMornings during the school year can be hectic…am I right? After all the days of sleeping in during the summer, suddenly you are forced back into an early wake up call. And in the span of an hour it seems like you do 100 things to get inside the school building just in time.

It doesn’t have to be so hectic. In fact, I could count on one hand the number of times last year where we were truly rushed and almost didn’t make it to school.

Those who know me will say, “But you only live seven minutes from school!” To which I say, it doesn’t matter. When I worked in education I knew of people who lived that close and seemed to be late every day. So with that in mind, here are some back to school tips that we’ve learned over our 11 years of seeing our kids off to school.

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