Helping Kids Get Smart About Money

What to say when kids ask, “Are we rich?” –

October 28th, 2014 | Add a Comment »

Money Magazine’s November issue features a great article with ideas to help parents respond to the question from our kids that many of us fear: “Are we rich?”  I was asked for some tips for this piece, so here are a couple ideas to help guide your response to younger children:

     • Being “rich” is about feeling grateful, healthy and happy, not just owning things.

     • Reaffirm that if your family is struggling financially, that it’s not their fault.

Here’s the full article: What to Say When Your Kid Asks, “Are We Rich, Mommy?” – Money Magazine

Have you already faced this question from your kids? If so, what worked? What did not?


Money lessons for kids of different ages – Credit Card Insider

October 21st, 2014 | Add a Comment »

Money Savvy Pig bank makes CCI’s list of great ways to teach money lessons to kids.

This month, Kimberly Rotter with asked me, along with several other financial literacy experts, to weigh in on various ways adults can approach money lessons with their kids at different ages. The final piece includes some stats we are all too familiar with:

     • Half of the U.S. wealth gap is connected to the vastly different financial knowledge levels of  the affluent and the poor.

     • Only 4 states currently require students to complete a personal finance course to graduate from high school.

     • Just 17 states include personal finance instruction in their curriculum requirements.

But, we know that starting young is the key to helping kids better understand their money options – and to manage them wisely!

Here’s the link to the final article: “If My Parents Taught Me This As A Child, I’d Be Retired By Now” -

Tips on how to introduce investing to your kids

September 5th, 2014 | Add a Comment »

Want to introduce investing to your kids?  Owning a share of stock is a good place to start as it will likely inspire them to track performance and allow them to experience risk and rewards through the real-time ups and downs of the market.

Why start with one share of stock vs. a mutual fund or other kind of investment?  Investing in a company you know, possibly one that you frequent and are a loyal user of their products, makes that investment personal and a lot more interesting.  A more provocative investment will capture and keep the younger investor’s attention and hopefully, inspire them to add to that initial investment and even invest in another company.

One way to get started is to buy shares direct from the company.  Read the rest of this entry »

Take time for ‘Frozen’ to thaw

July 18th, 2014 | Add a Comment »

Caryn_Alexander_Elizabeth-Frozen BlogPost2014_07_18 (AdjustClr)She’s adorable. She’s having a birthday and all she wants is an Elsa costume from Disney’s wildly popular movie Frozen, the highest grossing animated film in box-office history. To be clear, she wants Elsa, not Anna.  Anna is easier to get.  But Elsa, not so much.  Elsa’s signature attire is selling for roughly $150 retail in Disney stores–if you can find one. Big IF.

Try as they might, Disney cannot keep this item on the shelves.  So, faced with a child’s “heart’s desire” for a highly sought after product, what is a parent to do next?

Read the rest of this entry »

Maybe it did start with a Lemonade stand

June 18th, 2014 | Add a Comment »

Lemonade stand-Young Allison and AmandaIt’s 8 a.m. and both of my girls are at work.  Allison, my oldest, just graduated from college and is employed full-time at a company that is what I consider “old school”.  “Old school” benefits that include health, dental, vision and a 4% match on 401(k) contributions and a defined benefit pension on top of that. My youngest, a rising junior in college, is at her first job of the day, teaching special education three-year-olds at a summer camp and then will come home and turn around to get to her second job of the day, a hostess at a restaurant where she has worked for the past 4 years.

If you ask them why they work so hard, they will tell you it is because they have to.  And they would be right.  We told them in high school that they would need to cover their wants and needs when they started college.  Read the rest of this entry »

Information overload

May 29th, 2014 | Add a Comment »

I just finished my morning ritual – well, obsession.  Coffee, toast, email, FB and Twitter.  There is so much information that I did not know when I went to bed last night.

Ticks.  It’s the season. Did you know how many ticks there are and that they are on the rise?  I may not go out much this summer.

Schools.  Turns out my kids are in or have just graduated from what they call “party schools” - something that we did not hear about during freshman orientation. But not to worry, ‘cause the ROI (return on investment) is big.  Read the rest of this entry »

4 Key Money Phrases to Teach Your Kids – #4: I’m Sorry

May 27th, 2014 | Add a Comment »

Here is the last (but not the least) in my series of key money phrases you should teach your children:

4.  I’m sorry

Finances are the most likely point of contention in marriages. When my husband and I got married, we established a money rule: Each of us would have independent authority over transactions up to $100; after that we had to discuss the proposed transaction.  That was 26 years ago.  Today,  the total for independent expenditures is  $1,000.  This rule tended to keep a lot of the potential resentment over money at bay.

But, everybody makes mistakes, and so did we. Read the rest of this entry »

4 Key Money Phrases to Teach Your Kids – #3: I Made a Mistake

May 15th, 2014 | 4 Comments »

Here’s the third of four key money phrases your children need know – and should feel comfortable using - when faced with making financial decisions:

3.  I made a mistake

Mistakes are tough to admit and even harder to live with.  Money mistakes that get buried become compounded disasters.  Teach your child that it is only human to make a mistake and that by admitting to the mistake, you can fix it and learn from it.

Often our kids hide money mistakes.  In college, they are eager to prove they are worthy of the independence. Chances are that will translate into them living beyond their means via credit.

Before they leave for college, tell them that while you believe in them, you anticipate they will make some money mistakes and that you understand that managing money on their own is a learning process – one that will include mistakes.  Read the rest of this entry »

Teach Your Grandkids About Money

May 9th, 2014 | Add a Comment »

The Skinnie-2014-04-18 COVERLast month I shared some thoughts about the important role grandparents can play in helping kids learn good money habits with readers of The Skinnie.  Here’s a link to the article:  TheSkinnie-TeachYourGrandkids AboutMoney-2014_04_18



4 Key Money Phrases to Teach Your Kids – #2: I Need Help

May 6th, 2014 | 2 Comments »

In my last post, I discussed the first of the four key money phrases your children need know – and should feel comfortable using - when faced with making financial decisions: “I don’t know.”  Here’s a link to that post to read more:  4 Key Money Phrases to Teach Your Kids – #1: I Don’t Know.  Now for Phrase #2:

2. I need help.

Today, people are getting more comfortable asking for start-up help from social media sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo and RocketHub to name a few. Crowdsourcing is a concept most of our older kids get and use to their advantage. (I just contributed $25 to a request for funding  from a classmate of my oldest daughter’s so she could produce a short film for school.)

Leverage this trend with a lesson of your own on the importance of asking for help when it comes to money. Read the rest of this entry »