Browse Category: Parenting

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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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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6 habits that will yield big financial results

6 Small Habits That Will Yield Big Financial Results

I just finished reading The Slight Edge and wow, what a great book! I’d heard of this concept years ago from The Art of Exceptional Living by Jim Rohn.

The idea is:

Little things that seem insignificant in the doing, yet when compounded over time yield very big results… I call them simple daily disciplines. Simple productive actions, repeated consistently over time. That, in a nutshell, is the slight edge.

There are many small, positive actions you can take every day. They probably don’t look like much and in fact, they’re often super easy to do. Over time, these repeated actions will yield big results in your personal and financial life. Like with the rule of 72, the success curve is exponential.

So if it’s so easy, why doesn’t everyone do this? Because they’re also easy not to do. People underestimate their power.

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Young Money Mistakes - Investing with an Investment Club

Young Money Mistakes – Investing with an Investment Club

In the early 2000’s, a friend of a friend started an investment club. If you’re not familiar with the term, the SEC says:

An investment club is generally a group of people who pool their money to invest together.

To participate in the club, you would send him money each month. The group would choose and buy stocks. And ideally you’d make a profit.

Nothing could go wrong there, right?

At the time, I was in my early 20s. I knew I should be doing something with investing or stocks or the stock market, but I didn’t know what. Here was someone who supposedly knew; he was someone I liked and trusted, so I started sending him money every month. (I didn’t participate in the group otherwise and didn’t help choose the stocks.)

At some point I stopped sending him money and lost track of how much I had sent.

A few years later I got an email inquiring how much I had invested. The leader of the club was in trouble for embezzlement.

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