Friday, December 29, 2017

Try a Top Ten Family Finance Tip With Your Kids

Resolve to teach your kids personal finance skills in the New Year!

Not sure where to start? Pick a few tips from this top-ten list.

My 10 most viewed family finance tips from the last 12 months are:

10. Offer Kids A Savings Match With Strings Attached

Encourage your kid to save by offering a matching contribution, but attach some of these strings to send the right message.

9. Pre-Negotiate Your Teen’s Summer Paycheck Savings Split

Agree on this summer paycheck strategy to teach your teen the Warren Buffett saving rule. Instill a smart payroll deduction habit early.

8. Review 529 Statements With Your Teen Every Quarter

Here are 6 valuable lessons your teen can learn from 529 statements if you’re willing to make a 15 minute investment every 3 months. See if you’re up for the challenge.

7. Motivate Kids To Maintain Value With A Trade-In Deal

Don’t want your kids being cavalier about their possessions? Try this trade-in value trick.

6. Replace Chore Charts With Money Requests

Help your kid get from dog-eat-dog to top dog in tomorrow’s work world with this proactive alternative to chore charts and allowance.

5. Fully Fund Your Working Teen’s Roth IRA

Here’s why it makes sense to max out your working teen’s Roth IRA, even if they already blew through all their paychecks.

4. Clean Up Your Kid’s Spotty Bill Payment Record

Can your kid handle making consistent monthly payments for an online subscription like Spotify? FamZoo data says many can’t. Here’s why it’s time to make your kid face the music.

3. Post Wants On The Fridge To Chill Your Child’s Spending

Here’s a clever parenting trick for putting a chill on impulse spending by kids.

2. Show Teens The Top Of the Stock Market

Try this fun visual prop for teaching your teen some important investing wisdom: timing the stock market is a fool’s errand.

1. Show Kids What The S&P 500 Looks Like

Kids hear about stock indexes in the headlines all the time — the Dow is down, the S&P is up, the NASDAQ is flat. But do they have any idea what an index is? Here’s an easy, fun way to show them the what and why.

See any that fit your family?

Pick even just one, and you’ll have a quick victory to claim on your New Year’s resolutions. Better yet, you’ll make a lasting impact on your child’s financial future.

Happy New Year!

Want to turn these tips into action? Check out

Friday, December 8, 2017

Use Parental Money Controls for Transparency Training Not Micro-Management

Money Helicopter

Parental controls are all the rage when it comes to prepaid card apps built for kids and teens.

Sounds like a helicopter parent’s dream.

Back in the day, my mom had no clue about half the things I bought with untraceable cash as a kid. Phew.

Sure, close monitoring certainly makes sense when kids are young.

But teens? They crave autonomy and privacy.

Don’t shared parental controls undermine both? Aren’t they just another invasive instrument of today’s high tech helicopter parents?

It sounds like ditching the controls when kids become teens makes sense too.

Despite being a fan of giving teens plenty of leash, I have a different view.

Parental controls help your teen develop financial transparency — if used properly.

Why is that important? Teens who become comfortable discussing transactions with parents now are more likely to evolve into adults who are comfortable discussing finances openly with a spouse or partner in the future. That’s a good thing. Financial transparency in a relationship reduces conflict and aligns everyday money habits with shared goals.

That said, kids who strongly resent parental controls will evolve in the opposite direction. They’ll become more secretive about money, not less.

So how do parents use parental controls to build comfort instead of resentment?

  • Don’t make it a surprise. Before you roll out the prepaid card app, make sure the kids clearly understand the visibility you’ll have. Give them a tour of all the parental control capabilities. Make transparency part of the deal up front: “You get access to money, I get visibility on your spending — fair enough?” Yep.
  • Don’t make a fuss. Mistakes will happen. That’s how they learn. Set the precedent early that the inevitable money mishaps elicit calm, rational discussions instead of raging reprimands.
  • Don’t react to everything. Let the little things slide. Bite your tongue when the stakes are low. Nagging is a surefire way to stoke teen resentment.
  • Don’t always be first to comment. Let your kid broach the topic when mistakes happen. She knows you already know. When your kid gets comfortable mentioning mistakes first, you’ll know you’re getting it right.

So, ditch the helicoptering, but keep the parental controls at a reasonable altitude. Help your teen practice gaining comfort with financial transparency. A future spouse or partner will thank you someday.

Want to turn these tips into action? Check out