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Parents, please don’t say you’re bad at math

Awhile back I wrote about being bad with money. My argument was that no one is bad with money — if you want to learn and get better, you CAN do it.

Today I want to talk about something similar — being bad at math.

Think about this — if you believe that you don’t like or aren’t good at math, what are the chances you’ll like and be good at personal finance?

And the same with your kids. If they hear you say this or worse, they say it themselves, how likely is it that they’ll be rockstars with their money later in life? I’d say slim.

Here are three questions to consider.

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Puzzle pieces

Letters from Mom: Financial Health is Only One Piece of the Puzzle

Today I’m starting a new series called Letters from Mom. At 10, there are only so many money lessons I can teach and that J can practice. However, there are things he’ll need to know later, and that’s what I want to focus on today.

Dear J,

I’m hoping that by the time you’re older, you’ll be very financially healthy.

The markers of financial health and success (in my opinion) are:

  • Managing your money well – what comes in and what goes out
  • Figuring out what’s important to you and spending wisely there
  • Saving, in general and for specific future needs and wants
  • Giving and being generous
  • Having what you need, being able to provide for yourself (and your family if you choose to have one) and being responsible

But financial health alone won’t give you the happy, fulfilling life I wish for you. There are several other areas that are important.

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Camera, sandals, hat, work money lessons into family vacation

How to Work Money Lessons Into Your Family Vacation

Does your family take a vacation every year (or every few years)? It doesn’t have to be a big trip or far away, but something special and out of the ordinary.

Last year I participated in a round table discussion on the Stacking Benjamins podcast about family vacations. (Listen here!) I had more to say on the topic and it’s a great time to start planning your next vacation, so let’s talk about how you can get your kids involved and work in some money lessons, too.

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Why your kids should pitch in for their activities - karate

Why Your Kids Should Pitch In for Their Activities

In the spring, J will be eligible to test for his black belt!

The cost of this particular test is $430.

Hold the phone. What?!

Cost of Karate

J has been training for about four years now. There are lots of costs associated with karate including:

  • Tuition ($95 per month)
  • Testing fees ($60-$75 each time; initially four times per year, then later two times per year)
  • Tournaments ($50+ each; around twice per year)
  • Uniforms ($40+ when he needs a new one, about every two years)
  • Other incidentals like patches, bags, fundraisers, parties, etc.

I split the costs with J’s dad and so far we’ve footed the entire bill.

Benefits of karate

There’s no denying that karate is a great activity. J learns responsibility, leadership, personal protection, coordination, focus, how to get along with others, commitment, personal development — the list is endless.

Because karate is important to us and because J gets a lot out of it, we’re fine with the cost.

Pitching in towards the test

But because he’s getting older and I want to engage him, I told him that he was responsible for 10% of the testing fee.

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