Browse Tag: communication

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Having “The Talk” About Making Your Money Work Harder: Part 2 – Savings Bonds

Welcome back to our five part series on making your money work harder! If you remember, this series is part of a BIG conversation I had with J where we talked about other ways to invest his money beyond the Bank of Mom.

In part 1, we talked about savings accounts and now here’s a recap of our conversation on savings bonds.

What Are (Savings) Bonds?

In the most simple language possible, I tried to explain that a savings bond is a loan that you make to the government. You buy the bond, and the government uses the money now. After time passes (up to 30 years), you get your money back PLUS interest.

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Having “The Talk” About Making Your Money Work Harder: Part 1

I’m really excited to start this post today! J and I had some great conversations this weekend that I will write about in a five-part series on Making Your Money Work Harder.

First, we reviewed how we’ve already started making our money work harder by saving.

If you’ve been around for awhile, you know the drill, but just in case you’re new, here’s the skinny:

  • I pay J 3% interest on the money he puts into his savings envelope every month. I give him a paper statement and email him the same statement each month (posterity!). As he records the interest in his register, we review how the month went and look at how he earned more interest than in previous months. (Read one of our recent summaries here.)
  • A few times each year, we take a trip to our local bank and deposit the money. Bank visits are a great time for conversation, and J always enjoys going because the tellers are often really nice to him. They love to see kids!
  • After that, I keep the minimum in the account to avoid a fee and transfer the rest to an online bank that pays a higher interest rate. Read all about that here.

Today we logged in to the local and online bank accounts. We reviewed the amount in each account and noted the current interest rate. The local bank account has a rate of 0.01% — yikes! The online bank account’s rate is 1.20% — not too bad (comparatively speaking).

We discussed wanting a high interest rate when you’re saving (so you earn more). And when you’re borrowing, you want the interest rate to be low (so it doesn’t cost you as much).

Just a side note, we haven’t really talked about borrowing or debt yet. I’m hoping to get the savings and growth lessons underway to have more TIME on our side. After we talk about saving and investing, start the accounts we want to start and look/talk about them monthly, we’ll move on to borrowing and debt.

I told J that there were OTHER ways of putting his money to work, ways that may pay even more. He was excited! He pulled up a chair and said, “Okay, I want to know those things.”

I’ll cover each topic in depth in the subsequent posts, but as an overview, we dived into:

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The Great Allowance Debate

Allowances. To give or not to give. It’s a hot topic.

To put it simply, I think there are three main camps:

  • Don’t give it at all. I already feed, clothe and shelter you.
  • Give it unconditionally. Here is some money and it is yours.
  • Give it conditionally, based on desired actions. Here is money for completing X chores, getting Y grades, etc.

And we…

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Does Your Money Talk Match Your Money Walk?

If you’ve been around awhile, you know that my focus on National Bank of Mom is 1) teaching my son kick-ass money management skills and 2) fostering good communication between us.

I teach him how to balance his savings, spending and giving accounts, how to plan for a large purchase and how to save at least 10% of his income.

The more I thought about it, though, the more I realized that talk will only get me so far.

If I want to instill these skills in my son, I have to make sure I’m walking the talk. I have to look at my own actions and behavior and ask myself, “Is what I’m doing contradicting what I’m saying?”

Ralph Waldo Emerson said:

“What you do speaks so loud that I cannot hear what you say.”

That couldn’t be more true. So much of what we learn is unspoken. We pick things up from our friends, family and society around us — what’s “normal” and expected. How life works.

To that end, ask yourself the following questions and examine your behavior:

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“They Must Be Rich Because They Have a Pool”

Late last year, J took a trip with his dad to visit his cousins. When he got home, he recounted all his adventures and added, “they must be rich because they have a pool.”

A few years ago, I would have agreed with him. His cousins have a very large house, drive fancy cars and take elaborate vacations.

But then I read The Millionaire Next Door. (Here’s the first chapter if you want a preview!)

In it, the author makes the important point that you can’t tell how much people have based on what they buy.

Hearing it now, it makes total sense. But for 30+ years, I can say that that thought never occurred to me.

So we talked about it. I told him that you can’t tell how much people have saved. The pool doesn’t prove that they DO have a lot of money and it also doesn’t prove that they DON’T.

I brought it up again last night. I said, “Do you remember when you said that your cousins must be rich because they have a pool? Does having a pool or a fancy car or big house mean you are rich?” To which he replied no. I asked, “Does it mean that you aren’t rich?” And he also said no. (Woo! He remembered!)

Then I asked, “What does it mean?” Unfortunately, he was hard pressed to explain further.

So I explained again that there was NO WAY to tell how much money someone had saved based on their car or house or vacations. Maybe you can tell how much they spent, but really not even that completely because maybe they got the item at a discount or given to them.

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