Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Confess Your Money Mess Ups To Your Kids

Fool money.

Do you ever share your money mess up stories with your kids?

I think it’s helpful to do so. It reminds the kids we’re all human. Your candor demonstrates it’s safe for the kids to confide in you about their own inevitable money stumbles. The benefit? You might just nip a problem at the bud before it snowballs into a full-fledged financial disaster.

So here’s a money mess up I just shared with my kids. I’ve been renting a small storage unit for a pile of old stuff that would have easily fit in my garage. Frankly, I should have just given most of it away long ago. Well, that little storage unit of random stuff has been costing me a hefty $97 per month lately. Ouch.

I kept telling myself I needed get rid of it. Especially every time I saw that $97 activity alert come in from my credit card account.

Month after month after month.

Well, I finally pulled the plug on the unit. My daughter helped me move the stuff home just recently.

Golf clap.

Soooo, just how long had this senseless spending been going on? I asked the guy behind the desk to look up the start date for my storage unit.

It was...

Wait for it...


I’ve been paying rent every month needlessly for 13 years. Shame! Shame!

I’ll let everybody do the rough math. Needless to say, it’s real money — even if the rent was initially quite a bit lower.

Anyway, I confessed it all to my kids. They had a good laugh at this dumb old fool’s expense. A colossal, senseless waste of money by no less than the founder of a family FinLit company. “Mr. FamZoo,” my wife chided. Derp.

But at least my kids got a good chuckle and a cautionary tale out of my financial folly.

Maybe the memory of my money mess up will save them some money someday.

P.S. Feel free to regale us with your own money mess up story in the comments, if you feel so inclined. But I certainly understand if you’d prefer to keep it in the family. 😬

Want to turn these tips into action? Check out FamZoo.com.


  1. I really appreciate how real and approachable you are--Family Zoo feels like a true (and rare) act of kindness and contribution to the human community. There's something special about the WAY you're doing Family Zoo. Thank you! Also--I had to call for some help in my initial set-up, and you were very helpful. Thank you!

    1. Thank you for the very kind words. The mission of improving youth financial literacy is definitely front and center for us. There's no more gratifying form of compensation than hearing from parents that our product has helped their kids be more thoughtful and capable with money. Pure gold!

  2. My mess-ups are usually the other way. I hate spending money even when I have it. I put off replacing a patio door that wasn't sliding well for years. Once I did .I kicked myself for not doing it sooner. It made life much easier. We also just replaced a window that had fog between the glass after 10+ years and the view is amazing. Note, if I had thought the window and door were inefficient I would not have hesitated. Lol. Teaching your kids to invest in things where the money is well spent and not being miserly is important too. Comfort and beauty are not primary needs but can be good choices.

  3. Outstanding point Shannon, and love the clear examples.