How To Keep That Happy New Year Feeling


IMG_3861 Poster sketch by Rocky Moody

Here we are in a new year. How can we make the newness and cheerfulness last? Try this:

Unplug. Talk in person. Hang up. Make eye contact. Walk. Meditate, pray, be kind. Whisper, laugh, sing. Smile. Smile more. Hold the door for someone. Say, “Bless you” when someone sneezes. Yield to pedestrians. Breathe. Slow down. Light a candle, watch it burn. Read a book. Make a date, keep it. Invite someone over for dinner. Bring flowers to someone “Just because”. Plan a mini getaway. See your town through tourist-eyes. Buy the next person in line a coffee. Feed an expired parking meter. Hand out lotto scratcher tickets to strangers. Give compliments freely. Say “Thank you.” Say “You’re welcome.” Wave to your neighbors. Give a genuine complement.

Every moment can be a new start. If you wake up grumpy, you can change it. If you go to bed upset, get out of bed until you find your peace. Don’t wait a year to start over. Happy New Here! Celebrate the newness and cheerfulness right now. (I love confetti!)

Teaching kids money and investing fundamentals


teach kids about money image credit: Good Search

In the Wall Street Journal, I came across an article about Judith Ward, a financial adviser, who shared her experience teaching her children to save and invest money.

The steps in this article were very familiar to me. My mom did much of the same for me that Judith did with her kids. My mom isn’t a financial adviser, and you don’t need to be, either. Just remember: KISS, Keep It Simple, Sweetie. Don’t overwhelm your kids with the details, or scarcity stories.

Judith opened savings accounts for her kids when they were in elementary school. She’d take her kids to the bank to make their deposits and review their monthly statements with her.

As a child, I’d often gone to the bank with my mom and seen her deposit money into her account. She’d give short lessons, without me knowing announcing, “This is a lesson.” She’d say things like, “I put money in so we can buy food/clothing/Girl Scout uniform when we need it.” When I was thirteen, my mom took me to the bank and I opened my own savings account. I’d save money from the jobs I had—ironing and babysitting, and we’d make trips to the bank together to deposit our money. When I got a bank statement, mom showed me how to read it. I loved the reward of seeing the amounts go up!

As Judith’s children grew older, she’d show them her paychecks, and her monthly bank statements with them as a learning tool. She’d also share her investment statements with them.

My mom didn’t show me that information, but she did tell me things like, “Every little bit of savings makes a difference for now, and the future.”

Judith shared how she explained to her son, now 23, how to invest when he opened up a retirement account. If he invested every month—whatever the market was doing, he’d get fewer shared if the market was up, and but more shares if it was down. That’s known as dollar-cost averaging, but she, didn’t use fancy financial adviser terms on her son. She used what he could understand, and because it made sense, he’ll probably stick to saving money.

How do you talk to your kids about money? Are you trying to teach someone how to budget, or invest? Or, are you in process of learning yourself? KISS. KISS. KISS. Keep It Simple, Sweetie.

 

Teaching kids money and investing fundamentals


teach kids about money image credit: Good Search

In the Wall Street Journal, I came across an article about Judith Ward, a financial adviser, who shared her experience teaching her children to save and invest money.

The steps in this article were very familiar to me. My mom did much of the same for me that Judith did with her kids. My mom isn’t a financial adviser, and you don’t need to be, either. Just remember: KISS, Keep It Simple, Sweetie. Don’t overwhelm your kids with the details, or scarcity stories.

Judith opened savings accounts for her kids when they were in elementary school. She’d take her kids to the bank to make their deposits and review their monthly statements with her.

As a child, I’d often gone to the bank with my mom and seen her deposit money into her account. She’d give short lessons, without me knowing announcing, “This is a lesson.” She’d say things like, “I put money in so we can buy food/clothing/Girl Scout uniform when we need it.” When I was thirteen, my mom took me to the bank and I opened my own savings account. I’d save money from the jobs I had—ironing and babysitting, and we’d make trips to the bank together to deposit our money. When I got a bank statement, mom showed me how to read it. I loved the reward of seeing the amounts go up!

As Judith’s children grew older, she’d show them her paychecks, and her monthly bank statements with them as a learning tool. She’d also share her investment statements with them.

My mom didn’t show me that information, but she did tell me things like, “Every little bit of savings makes a difference for now, and the future.”

Judith shared how she explained to her son, now 23, how to invest when he opened up a retirement account. If he invested every month—whatever the market was doing, he’d get fewer shared if the market was up, and but more shares if it was down. That’s known as dollar-cost averaging, but she, didn’t use fancy financial adviser terms on her son. She used what he could understand, and because it made sense, he’ll probably stick to saving money.

How do you talk to your kids about money? Are you trying to teach someone how to budget, or invest? Or, are you in process of learning yourself? KISS. KISS. KISS. Keep It Simple, Sweetie.

What Kids Cost


Inside of a classroom with back to school on the chalkboard

image credit: Good Search

57% of families with kids under the age of 18 have two working parents. Instead of seeing it as a double edge sword, see the good that comes out of it. The cost of back to school shopping this year—according to National Retail Federation, averaged $604. Approximate break down of: Clothing $200, Supplies $90, Shoes $100, Electronic Devices $200. From that stand point, two working parents is wonderful.

Sometimes, even with two people pulling in paychecks, it’s hard to feel like it’s worth it. When is date night? It doesn’t have to be an expensive night out. It can even be stay at home and use the good silverware and candles, or decorate the table, or a room for a change of atmosphere instead of going out.

Meet for a picnic lunch if you work near each other. I used to work with a couple who would always bring real plates and silverware, and homemade leftovers for lunch all packed in their picnic basket. They made leftovers seem like a fancy meal, but it was easy, and didn’t cost them anything extra.

Are you trying to teach teens about money? Give them an idea of what it cost to raise kids, especially if you’re not wanting to be the Saturday night babysitter, or in the position to be the daycare. They may hear you say, “That’s expensive!” Or “We don’t have that kind of money” but your actions may or may not match your words, especially when push comes to shove. I’ve known parents who become baby sitter, and buy food the the new couple starting a family. If you don’t want that to be you talk about the expense of teens having kids, and how it adversely effects so many involved.

Sit down with them and talk about the cost of raising a baby from pregnancy through first year $4,294.; Monthly cost to feed a family of four $1,014.; Average annual cost of child care for a 4-year-old in child care center $7,380.; Cost of raising a child born in 2010 until the age 18 (college not included) $226,920.; Annual tuition and fees at a public university (as of 2011) $8,240.

Is Debt a Deal-Breaker?


debt deal breaker Image credit: Good Search

You found The One! Perfect in every way. —Except they have debt. Is that a deal breaker for love?

According to Match. com, three out of four single Americans say they are turned off by excessive credit card debt. 46% of the women surveyed said they didn’t care how much their date spent on an evening out. (Match.com) My translation: It’s the quality of the relationship, not the quantity of money spent on a date.

Their in debt; you’re not. Does that mean the relationship is over?

It depends. Maybe your partner will never be as money savvy as you. Does that mean you walk? If they’re not willing to have a budget, clear the stars from your eyes. Their unwillingness to learn about deficits and surplus that will effect them—and you, are a red flag saying that they’re not willing to change at all. If you’re an excellent saver and are hard line, expecting miracles from someone who’s never had a budget, you may want to loosen up a bit on your ideal partner, or their ability to budget to your standards.

Are you both willing to sit down and talk about money, budgets and expectations you have of each other when it comes to money? (If they expect you to manage the household finances, are they willing to stick their budget so you can manage the money?) The money in many military homes is managed by women. Often, one spouse earns money, sends it home, and hopes when they get home the money has been spent/saved wisely.

Dating or married, have a written plan. If it’s not in writing, there’s nothing to go back to as a point of reference. If your relationship doesn’t have a strong foundation of mutual respect, don’t expect fibs and outright lies to bypass your finances. 30% of people admit lying to their partner about money. Ouch! (National Endowment for Financial Education)

If the divorce rate is around 50% why do only 3% of people with a spouse of fiancé have a prenuptial agreement? By talking about money ideals early in a relationship, there may be less push-back of a prenuptial being “unromantic”. Think of a marriage as part business deal, and the prenuptial holding promise of a future of love and commitment.

Pick a number and save


save more money

image credit: Google

Let’s say at the end of the month you have an extra $267 after expenses and your regular saving. If you spend it all, you may wish you didn’t after the fact. If you save it all, you may feel saving is punishment, and that you never get to have any fun. If you don’t have a regular savings plan, this could get you used to the idea, and hopefully edge you closer to making it part of your life. This is a start, but should not replace the idea of regular savings.

Every paycheck, pick a round number and put that into savings. Let’s say you decide to put $200 of the $267 as additional savings this month. The $67 is to spend any way you decide. Next month, you may have $302 left over. You may decide to save $100, and spend the left over $202. Remember, the $100 is in addition to your regular savings—it’s “extra” so don’t beat yourself up for having fun with the rest.

I have several savings accounts. One for a car, one for travel, etc. When I have “extra” money, I may chose one of these accounts, or my financial freedom account—which eventually ends up in an IRA as the amount grows.

The key is to save first, spend second.

Ways to be a better saver of money


save money

Image Credit: Google

According to Rand Corp. economists, in a study on money saving behavior from August 2012 to March 2013, people who wrote their money saving goals down saved 64%. People who did not write down their goals saved 53%. In this study, savers were given money and some of the savers were asked to write the following: “I am a good saver. I will commit myself to achieving my savings goals.” A third group in the study were those assigned to an account where they could not withdrawal any money over the next six months. That group saved even more than the other two.

If you want to save more, write it down, or share it with a trusted friend or family member. It seems to be the act of pledging to be a better saver that makes a person better at saving. People want to have their words and deeds match, especially if others know about a goal. Another sure way to set you up for success is to have some of your savings hard to get to.

Savings? Words matching deeds? Accountability? There’s an app for that! Yep. If you can’t come up with your own motivation to save, there’s an app and website Stickk.com by Yale behavioral-finance experts. With this app you can create a contract and share it with others. You can even include a penalty if you slack off. The penalty can be something like authorizing a credit card payment to a charity. Stickk.com has found that users who do share their goal with supportive people and chose to elect the penalty, have a success rate of 80%, while those who keep their goal of savings private succeed nearly 40% of the time.