5 Tips for Talking to Your Kids About the Family Finances

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The “Friday Five” features five items to help you in your journey to financial freedom. They might be 5 tips, 5 tricks, or just 5 ideas. In any case it’s Friday, so here we go!

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My parents never talked to my me or my Sister about our finances. To be fair, my Dad really didn’t talk to us about much of anything at all other than how terrible the Seahawks were (this was the early to mid 80s, and they were stupidly awful), his fleet of semi trucks, or the chores we still hadn’t done.

I’ll retract that statement almost immediately, because my Dad did talk to us about money. Here’s how it went:

“Hang on to that Sports Illustrated with Michael Jordan on the cover. That sucker is going to be worth money one day.”

“Hang on to that Bo Jackson rookie football card. That sucker is going to be worth money one day.”

“Hold on to that Coke bottle telephone. That sucker is going to be worth money one day.”

You know what my Dad never held on to?

Money.

I’m not bagging on my Dad at all. My Dad started a business at the age of 18, built it up and sold it in his 40s, then parlayed that into a business that grew in value in the millions before losing it all due to circumstances FAR beyond his control.

Now in his late 60s, my Dad owns several small businesses in my hometown and is a staple of his community.

That doesn’t mean he was necessarily good with money.

As a kid I never knew how we were doing financially. I saw my parents buying lots of things; spots cars, satellite dishes, pools, ATVs, etc., but I never really knew if we had money in savings, or if all of that junk was purchased on credit and we were teetering on the brink of financial collapse.

It’s understandable why they didn’t share any of this information with their kids. Their parents survived The Great Depression, and was a generation that tried to forget about finances in general, not discuss them openly. They sure as hell didn’t share with their kids during that generation, and so my parents never felt the need to be super open with us.

When our finances took a dump on our collective heads in January, my wife and I decided that we would start talking to our kids about finances. We did this not to freak them out or add stress to their lives, but because we wanted to start teaching them to be financially responsible so that they can hopefully avoid our mistakes and live a financially independent life of their own one day.

We’ve learned some valuable lessons about how to approach kids when it comes to discussing finances, especially if you’re in a bad way. Here are some of our favorites:Read More »

Four Eggs on Six Figures

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I will not for a moment claim to have a life as hard as some folks do in this world. Not even close. So please don’t think that I don’t have perspective. I’m not looking for you to feel bad for me, but instead providing insight into the sacrifices that my family and I have had to make. I’m also giving you insight into just how badly we had “effed up.”

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In my very first post on this site, I talked about not being able to afford to buy my son a piece of pizza at a lacrosse game. I mention that while this is not unheard of for many families around the world, it was just plain silly that I couldn’t do so given my six figure salary.

I’ve had several people ask me just how bad things got, and just how close my wife and I were to a financial catastrophe when things hit rock bottom in January. I think some like to see just how far we’ve come and encourage us to keep going, and frankly I think a few are just buttholes who want to revel in how far down the drain we had swirled.

“I knew they bought a house they couldn’t afford.”
“Well what did they expect? They ate out 5 nights a week and bought new cars every other year!”
“If Dave could just stop buying television sets for a minute, they might have the money to pay the bills!”
“How can you be that fiscally irresponsible?”

Buttholes aside, I do think it is important to share our lows. If this blog is only about the highs and wins, it doesn’t really do anyone any good.

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Tangent: I’m now actively recruiting for my new band, Buttholes Aside, and we are looking for a bass player. Must be willing to wear spandex. Serious inquiries only.

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My wife and I need to be reminded of those lows, and reminded of the sting of those lows, even if we have made tremendous gains.

Trust me when I say that last part was by no means boastful. I can see that stat tracker in the column on the right just as well as you can, and I know we have a LONG way to go, but allow me to explain how far we’ve come…Read More »