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The one thing I wish I had known about when I first started working

Letters from Mom: The one money trick I wish I had known about when I started working

Letters from Mom is an ongoing series where I share words of wisdom with my son. Read more letters from mom.

Dear J,

When I graduated from college, I was really fortunate to get a job immediately at a great company with an excellent starting salary.

I got paid monthly and took home $2,673.61 in my first full month of work. Curious to see the actual pay stub?

At the time, I knew enough to put some money aside into a savings account. I set up direct deposit to deposit $100 to my savings account per pay period and the rest to my checking account.

With each raise, the rest got bigger and bigger. The amount I was saving did not.

Guess what happened?

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Backpack school

How to Give Your Middle-Schooler Additional Freedom in Making Money-Related Decisions

Last week, J and I had a conversation about what else he would like to learn about money. He’s going to middle school in the fall and I mentioned it would be a great opportunity to give him some extra responsibilities.

We talked about how additional responsibilities will actually give him more of a chance to make decisions on his own, better known as freedom. So he suggested I use the word freedom in the title because freedom sounds better than responsibility.

We brainstormed some possibilities and came up with the items below.

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Header image for bad at math post

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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