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Teaching Kids to Take Care of Their Stuff: Cleats and Phones Don’t Mix

Last summer we realized it was time for our youngest son to have his own phone. He was 14 and he really couldn’t have cared less, but he would be attending a new school away from home that would require a phone so we could reach him when needed (now that I type that out, I guess I realize why he didn’t really feel like a phone was an important purchase – what could be …

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Get Your Teen Off the Couch!

“Joe’s just not interested in anything!” a parent moaned. “Nothing motivates him, all he wants to do is sit in front of the computer and play video games! Money means nothing to him!” BINGO! It’s Time to Teach Teens About Money It’s the time of year when one of the most common questions we get from parents is how to get kids to care about money. Often the parents want the kid to get a …

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Beyond Babysitting: New Ways for Kids to Earn Money This Summer

I could tell from the vibe I was getting from an unnamed grandparent that something was wrong.  If the stompy foot falls and balled up fists weren’t a good indication, the frowning face sealed the deal. “I just heard that T can’t be on the swim team this year.  She said she can’t afford it.” Ahh yes.  This is a favorite ploy our kids try a few times a year to get family members (especially grandparents) …

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The Great Allowance Controversy

  Allowance – seldom has one word caused so much confusion and debate among parents. Allowance is not… Some see an allowance as a free for all: “Wonderful child, thank you for gracing us all with your existence. Here: have some free money.” It is not free money! Some see it as a way to bribe their kids to do work around the house. For the love of all things parenting, stop bribing your kids. …

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The (Real) High Cost of Youth Sports

I travel a lot for business. This brings me into contact with a lot of different people, coming from a lot of different circumstances in life. Last week, I was flying back home from Denver, and took a break when I arrived at the gate. A well-dressed 40-something mom was sitting near me, having an animated phone conversation. I wasn’t planning on eavesdropping, but frankly, it was hard not to: “… I mean, she is …

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Are Your Kids Financially Barefoot?

Here’s an odd question: Are you raising “Cobbler’s Children?” No idea what I’m talking about?  Don’t worry, I didn’t get the reference either when Tracie recommended this topic to me yesterday. So I did some research, and I’ll help you out – just take this brief quiz: Do you diligently maximize your 401(k) match? Do you agonize over asset allocation and rebalancing your portfolio? Do you know “your number”? Do you have plans to travel, …

Top 12 Money Mistakes Parents Make: Goals

Goals?  Seriousely, now it’s all about goals?  It’s like the list of ways to mess this up go on forever, am I right? This is a pretty easy one, so just bear with me. Kids are not natural savers.  They aren’t born with the common sense to save something for later.  Usually, in fact, the only way to convince them to delay gratification is to promise them a greater reward later, and then deliver when …

Top 12 Money Mistakes Parents Make: Chores

Here’s a question that comes up a lot: Should we pay our kids for doing chores? We also get these: Should we ONLY pay our kids for doing chores? Should we NEVER pay for chores? Clearly, this is a hot button issue, and unfortunately, it’s holding a lot of parents back from getting started in teaching their kids about money. The answer is really easy, and should make intuitive sense to most parents. Pay for …

Top 12 Money Mistakes Parents Make: Consistency

As a parent, I know that one of the hardest things to maintain is consistency. It’s hard to be fair. It’s hard to keep an even keel. Especially when my kids are really challenging, and at opposite ends of my parenting spectrum. Are you being consistent? This is where consistency comes in. It’s really, really important to be consistent when teaching kids about money. They pick up on this stuff. If you’re paying an allowance, …

Top 12 Money Mistakes Parents Make: Too Soon

No, this mistake isn’t about teaching kids about money starting too soon. It’s about giving too much freedom too soon. Like all things in life, kids learn a bit at a time, and they learn best when they’re allowed to make some mistakes (and they have to be somewhat painful mistakes) so they gain some experience and move on. How do you know if it’s too soon? This is the tricky part. You want your …