Friday, April 21, 2017


Pathways Advisory Group, Inc.
Dustin J. Smith, CFP®

Parenting is much harder than it looks.  I cannot recall an exact moment, but somewhere along the way, the questions got harder – and we’ve got a LONG way to go.

Kids-n-money, however, should be one topic we can handle.  I am, after all, a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional.  Surely that counts for something.  I’ve got this one Teri….

The kids ask for stuff every time we shop.  Toys, treats, you name it, and the store layouts aren’t coincidental.  “No” doesn’t seem to deter them.

I know, let’s get piggy banks and give them a little money so they can decide for themselves.  That’ll stop them from asking for more stuff.  They will learn about money choices and experience why the answer is “no” when it’s all gone.  This piggy bank will be the perfect tool – they can pick their favorite style/color...

Two weeks later, when the piggy banks arrived, it was time to get started.

“Emilie, you still have fifty dollars from your birthday. I will trade you for five ten dollar bills so you can put some of it in the spend slot, some in the save slot, some in the invest slot and some in donate. The spend slot can be used whenever you want.  The save slot is for a spending goal in the future. The invest slot actually grows for you when you’re older and donate can be used to help other kids.”

Great speech Dad - really nailed it!

“Dad, I am going to put it all in the spend slot.”

Ok - not what I was expecting.

“Ok honey.  It’s your money.  You can put it in whatever slot you like, but, if you spend it all you won’t have any money left.”

That should do it.  It was a teaching moment.

“That’s ok Dad, I will have more birthdays.”

Dammit.  Good point kid.  It is birthday money after all; maybe I don’t have this one.


Humbled but never one to quit trying, we’ve been plugging away with the kids-n-money topic ever since.  We read an interesting book The Opposite of Spoiled and started a weekly allowance.  There have been some generous moments and lots of Legos (money smolders quickly in Bryce’s pocket).  Emilie turned out to be more of a saver (half way to a Penny skateboard purchase).  They have learned to make change and pay for things themselves.  However, they do still ask for stuff at the store.

I have no idea what parental challenge is coming next, but I do know that a kid-less beach vacation will help.  Time to call the Grandparents!!!!

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