My parents taught me so much about money with their words and action. Moving up from a 2bedroom house on one salary to now making six figures in a much better neighborhood. Unfortunately, I didn’t listen to a lot of what they said growing up. Especially about money. I’m 30 now with a wife, 3 kids and 6 months of time in the military. After 30 years of life, the highs and lows, I finally decided to take my finances into my own hands. We finally have savings account, paying down our credit cards and learning safe ways on how to invest. I would say the combination of my parent’s teachings and the military really helped us out because every time I hear advice on how to manage money, it’ll take me back to something my parents said. Now I need to teach my kids these principles but also make sure that they take action before it’s too late.

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Mar 19Liked by Kevin Maguire

Heaney is one of Ireland’s- not merely Northern Ireland’’s - greatest living writers. Subtle but important distinction.

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I grew up in rural Maryland on a piece of property surrounded by farm land with 3 siblings. During the spring, our family would plant a modest vegetable garden and maintain it through to the winter. When harvest season came around, my siblings and I (with the help of our parents) would note our daily harvest in a spreadsheet and “sell” the produce to our parents, which we’d of course eat. It was a great introduction to accounting and sales at an early age as well as negotiating. I wish my parents had helped us gain financial literacy (savings, taxes, car loans, mortgages, retirement savings) earlier in life but most of that education happened as we needed it (college, car buying, moving as a young adult, etc.)

With my two daughters, my wife and I are trying to involve our kids as much as they have interest and a little more. We are fortunate that our finances are not stressed and the topic is never contentious. Currently we are looking to buy a new home as our family continues to grow and we are involving our 7 year old in the conversation, taking advantage of her interest in math and the skills she’s learning in school to apply them to “real life”

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Honestly, I wasn’t taught that much at all. There was a lot of stuff that my sister and I were just sheltered from for the sake of ease i.e. that’ll be a difficult conversation, so I won’t bother having it. Predictably that led to me having no clue about paying bills and stuff like that once I moved out - it was all just information that I had to acquire on my own.

I had a fortunate childhood in terms of money but little conversation about it meant I had no concept of the value of it, and still struggle with frivolous purchases. One abiding memory I have is when iTunes launched - I wanted a song and so my dad agreed to put his credit card on my account so I could download it for 99p (no idea why I didn’t just get it off Kazaa or whatever). Then I went on a binge and pressed that Buy Now button so many times, I racked up a bill of over £150. My dad was fuming but I had no recognition of that fact that each download was real money.

Just recalling that makes me realise that’s yet another thing I have to do differently for my kids.

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This is interesting to hear all the perspectives growing up and it’s make me really appreciate how I was taught.

I had $7 a week and set of envelopes. On was save, one was spend, one was donate. That was it. Super simple for a kid to understand but it taught me a lot. My family was poor, but we certainly weren’t wealthy. My dad grew up poor. So I think that influenced how careful he is with money and why he and my mom wanted to make sure I learned well.

Today, I don’t worry about money at all. We’re not rich, yet we’re very comfortable. We have everything we need and most things we want.

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I heard a good one that was very similar to this and I am aiming to do it with my 2 boys. It was basically a riff on what you had already outlined, however the "Tax Man" actually went to the family. So it was "taxed" on behalf of the community. Then (I believe it was every 3 months) the family would open up that jar and take all the "taxes" to put toward a fun family outing, such as a movie night, a big fun dinner, or they could just choose to keep them there and continue on "paying taxes" toward a big project (the biggest they noted was a trip). I think this is really key to not resenting taxes as you note. We pay pretty high taxes, especially on any bonus/overtime cash here, and as such, it can be really easy to not see red when you open your paystub. And while I won't get into an argument about whether taxes go where they should, I do think this at least helps your kids understand the concept of paying into your community. Everyone benefits from this, and it gets them ready for the very unfun fact of having 20% stripped off their hard earned paychecks someday.

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As a child, I had many different examples. Although specific numbers were mysterious to me, I learned my only financial lessons through feeling how he adults in my life related to money.

With those who were isolated, disconnected, stressed, and abused, like my family of origin, there was lack, avoidance, struggle, resentment. The occasional comment, such as, 'save all you can,' lasted into my twenties, but what to do with that which I'd saved?

Also had the experience of living with a foster family who were well-connected to the community, hosted big family dinners nightly, and felt a deep sense that there was enough and more.

Love the ideas of how to bring in the lessons early. How to apply what I'd like to impart in ways the kids may remember.

For now I just want to nurture a healthy relationship with money myself, and let the kid's nervous system relax around it, and leave the specifics for later. that's hard, because there's still so much to reconcile, learn, integrate.

and there's time.

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Very similar story to many of you - my parents set a very poor example for me and money was always a stressor in the house. I didn't really learn how to manage my money until I was well into my 20s. I was fortunate in that I never got myself into too much trouble before I learned how to build better habits.

I've seen variations on the save/charity/spend before and I really like that. I'm not sure I'm keen on the taxes bit - I get that's good for kids to learn about it, but feel like I can wait a bit for that.

Any thoughts on the ages for this? I've got a 5-year-old (6 in July) and I'm thinking she's getting close enough to start understanding. I think she'd get a lot of pride in saving her money to buy whichever toy she's wants.

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I grew up poor, but was never hungry. We had freezers full of elk and deer, sometimes bear. I sold wild huckleberries to buy school clothes in high school. The lesson was clear: I couldn’t count on my parents for money. I never asked them for help in graduate school or after. Always paid cash, never carried a credit card balance.

I’m fortunate to be less stressed about money now. It means my kids have much of what I didn’t. Which also means they often take it for granted. I don’t want them to feel scarcity, but it’s hard to teach them to take good care of what they have if there’s no bottom.

I still garden because it helps me feel connected to my past and the place I live. But I haven’t yet mandated chores. Maybe it’s time to start. Allowances with charitable gifts... Good food for thought.

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Mar 17Liked by Kevin Maguire

My parents didn't teach me anything about money. Their actions did. When I asked my dad how much he made or how much the mortgage was, the answer that I got was "that's none of your business". I learned later on how poorly they managed money. Credit card debt was the biggest problem. We as a family lived pretty lean for about two decades, because we were dealing with the mess that they made. They have very little in the way of retirement and their only assets are comprised of inheritances, one that they received a few years ago and my grandmother's estate when she passes. Only in the past few years have they managed to pull themselves back to solvency, mostly because of those inheritances. Pretty much all I've gotten from them is cautionary examples, so I'm breaking the cycle with my kids. When they ask how much my wife and I make, they will get the real answer and I'll make sure that they also see it in perspective of the expenses, savings, and charitable donations. I'm still kind of bitter, because if my parents would have taken just a few minutes to explain what was going on and what the issues that they were dealing with were, I may not have made some of the financial mistakes that I have made. My kids are absolutely going to hear about the amount of money that you pay in interest with a bad loan, and how much you earn in interest on a good investment.

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Mar 17Liked by Kevin Maguire

I had very little financial education, my parents gave me pocket money and on big occasions put bigger money in a bank account. I was not encouraged to save even if my expenses were scrutinized.

I remember on time when I was about 16, having spent at the end of the month all my money in CDs and having a confrontation with my mother, I didn't want to confess I bought more music and tried to convince her I had received less money than what she remembered correctly they had given me. It ended up with her in tears thinking that I was trying to hide that I had spent the money on drugs, so I had to confess my addiction to rap music.

I still have problems with savings and I'm trying to change my behaviour.

Here in italy it's quite viral a post by the CEO of a healthcare group, quite a public person recognized as an innovative manager, I paste the link below even if it's in italian.


For now with just trying with our kids we try to teach them that everything they have was the result of money spent and that money is not unlimited, that you have to make choices.

Sometimes we say to the bigger one (5yo) that to have that toy or a day at the park mom and dad had worked X hours or days.

All the best

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My relationship to money has changed dramatically over the past decade, mostly because I had to shed things I’d learned from my dad, in particular. I shouldn’t say learned, though. More like observed. He grew up relatively poor and when he eventually got into real estate, he worked his ass off and always bought top-of-line stuff for himself—a fancy car to drive clients around in, nice suits, whatever the latest tech gadgets were, etc. I used to be similar and way over-extend myself financially, although I’d spend on music equipment, online courses, and new clothes more often than I actually needed. It took meeting and living with my wife, as well as getting tired of carrying a credit card balance, to learn that there’s a better way. I also realized that some of my risk-taking with my career, which also led to less money coming in at times, was partially because in the back of my mind I knew my parents could help out if I needed it. I rarely did, but still, the fact that it was there helped. I’m thankful for it, but it probably didn’t help me develop the best habits with money. It feels good to be on a better path now, with decent runway to be able to explore a more pathless path with my career these days.

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Mar 17·edited Mar 17

Taxes, interest, charitable matches... this all seems unnecessarily complex for small children. My 6yo gets $1 a week. He knows it's not enough to buy much, so he saves it. If I don't want to buy him something, he has the option to pay for it himself. Occasionally, he goes on a bender at the toy store. Then he evaluates whether it was money well spent. I don't encourage him to give charity yet. He feels poor, and people who feel poor share resentfully. That's not how I want him to feel about charity. But I tell him about some of our charitable giving. We do roughly tithe, and at some point I anticipate he will as well. But at a more emotionally mature age.

I suspect most financially literate people today did not have taxes withheld from their allowance. What a person needs is to realize that money comes from somewhere, it goes away if you spend it, you shouldn't spend more than you have, and your goal in spending is to obtain value. This doesn't overlook charity, which provides a less tangible value, but one that exists nonetheless.

If you want your kid to learn about taxes, let them get a job as soon as they're old enough for working papers. Make them responsible for some of their expenses. That is what will make them financially savvy.

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If you're very comfortable with math there are some good things here; https://moontower.substack.com/p/double-tomahawk-overhand-sold

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My current best idea for teaching my kids is something like:

- You kid can do what you want with your allowance after tithing 10% to church (a spiritual practice I greatly believe in)

- Hey kids, Dad's gonna invest some money in the stock market, wanna help?

- Hey kids, Dad's paid off a credit card, let's go get ice cream to celebrate!

- Hey kids, here's the grocery budget, can you keep track of everything we put in the cart so we don't go over?

- And other examples of making my kids aware of how mom and dad use money, so they can learn by example

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I received a small weekly allowance, and was taught very little about what to do with it (aside from tithing 10% to our church). Being a kid who loved big books and expensive video games, I taught myself to save up small amounts to achieve big purchases. My dad also got me a bank account at a young age, and brought me along for it, but didn't teach me much about that either.

On the other hand, in adulthood, my parents have allowed me to do some zero-interest borrowing from their account, especially to help reduce my credit card debt. That has perhaps helped me learn to prioritize methods of borrowing (when borrowing is necessary) that have minimal interest rates.

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