photo IGuessImDueHeader_zpsf5bf262b.png

 photo HOME_zpse253fae6.png  photo QUOTES_zpsfcec6817.png  photo ABOUT_zps522622e8.png  photo SUBMIT_zps6e5d1922.png  photo ADVERTISE_zpsabad9bf7.png  photo IGUESSIDO_zpsda2b0c7d.png  photo IGUESSIDO_zpsda2b0c7d.png

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Small Change- Part 2

I often have to have conversations with my children about life and manners - ie. please do not take off your clothes while we have guests at the house, peeing in the yard when we have company over is also frowned upon. 

How come it is easy to have these awkward conversations with my kids, but when it comes to something as simple as money, I don't even know where to begin?

Today, our family finance guru, Justin, shares 3 simple things parents can do now to have better conversations about money with their kids.
. . .
In a previous post on teaching your kids about money, I ended on serious note (you can revisit that post HERE). We have a disconnect between what parents are doing to teach their kids about money and the real life results of that education, or lack there of. Studies repeatedly say college students have apprehension about making financial decisions for the first time. So what's the deal? How do we begin to turn the tide? Here's 3 simple things I think even the busiest parent can do.

1. Start the conversation now.

If you think about it, money is the last taboo subject in our culture to talk about. But think of all that has changed. Your children will be able to google how much you make. They will be able to search the value of their home versus a friend’s home. The bottom line is there is no logical reason to think you can keep money private from kids. So proactively start the conversation with them. Ask questions.

Questions are the timeless way to engage kids and see what they are thinking. Find captive times in the car or at the dinner table to ignite their understanding.

2. Prepare for the teachable moments

From my previous post, I was embarrassed by the toy-aisle tantrum. But I failed to see that moment as the teachable moment. When we got home later that day, my son was over it -- he had moved on and we never had that cool-headed conversation I was hoping to have. Parents have to be prepared for those fleeting moments where we have our kid's attention.

There are several things make up this preparation:
- give your kid money via chores or an allowance
- share with them how you will let them spend their money
- bring their money with you.

When the conversation turns to the latest Iron Man, you pull out their wallet and see if they have the money. If they do, let them spend their money (assuming you approve of the item). This is the teachable moment. If they don't have the money, talk about how they can earn what they need. Tell them a story of how you had to wait and be patient to buy something awesome. This is the teachable moment.

3. Empower children to handle money

Money is best taught in the trenches of every-day life. There is no money summer camp that can replace the daily example that you set. So include them when it's appropriate (remembering Point #1). Let them spend their money on things they want or need. You can still direct what they spend on. Give them an incentive to save by either matching the amount or positively reinforce the decision to delay gratification. Let them pick a charity they are interested in supporting. Make it as tangible as possible.

You're probably thinking, “this is amazing stuff, but when exactly do you expect me to do this?” We never advocate adding "just one more thing" to the very full plate of parenthood.

Remind yourself of the ultimate end goal. Your child needs a set of money values to take root during the most formidable years. They will thank you later.
Money is more than counting loose change, and it's more than another skill to squeeze in between piano and soccer. 

. . .

Want to know more?! Visit for more tips and products! And 'Like' them on Facebook at Small Change to get the latest updates.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Double the Fun

The wait is finally over! Meet my newest nephews...
These little nuggets were born on Monday, September 7th. Andrew arrived at 3:38 am and Nash at 3:40 am. At six weeks early, the boys weighed in at 4.7 lbs and 4.9 lbs. 

And yes, its true, I may be the crazy Aunt that everyone warns you about, but I just can't help it! It doesn't matter how many nieces or nephews I may have, it never gets old.
"Sometimes the smallest things take the most room in your heart." -Winnie the Pooh


Tuesday, September 8, 2015

A Rainy Day...

With rain in our forecast, the girls and I decided to have a nice girly afternoon. With a nail session and a tea party on the agenda we were all pretty excited.
We had so much fun raising our pinkies, sipping politely, and using our British accent.  I even managed to squeeze into my prom dress for the occasion! So when the rain falls, let loose, embrace the moment, and be a kid again (you'll be surprised how much fun it really is).

Friday, September 4, 2015

4 Money Mistakes Parents Make



We've all heard these statements growing up, most likely from our own parents. Most say it's not polite to talk about money, but then how will our own kids ever learn to be responsible with it?

The challenge of finding the right system to teach our kids about spending, saving, and giving can be overwhelming. Piggy banks? Allowances? Money App? Oh the choices...

Well, here to help us with our financial fiasco is Justin. Financial Planner by day and father to (soon be) four boys at night. 
While experiencing an I Guess Im Due money moment in the toy aisle, Justin realized he was doing the whole "money thing" all wrong with his kids. And that's where his idea of Small Change was born; a site to help parents teach kids about money. Enjoy his tips to help us avoid the 4 Money Mistakes that parents make...

 . . .
As a father of two (soon-to-be four) boys, I knew there would be parenting challenges. But the one scene I never anticipated, was turmoil in the Target toy aisle. That's right, the toy aisle became my biggest nemesis. You see, I am a Certified Financial Planner (TM) by trade and for the past 12 years I have helped people with their money. I pictured when my oldest son, Beckham, was born that he was going to have the financial wisdom of a Warren Buffet, the business vision of a Steve Jobs all wrapped in the charm and likeability of a Brad Pitt.

He would be superhero-esque in his ability to interact with money. Can you imagine my disappointment when, despite all my best laid plans, all we did was fight over Batman action figures. That's right, the money guy's kid experienced the toy-aisle tantrum.

It started out with the task to buy a birthday present for a friend. We entered the toy aisle which possesses a black hole for manners and all sensibility. We quickly found the gift, but then the descent began:

My son's last rational thought: Oooh, Dad, look at that Iron Man.
Me: Let's go bud, we've got one just like it at home.
Son, now determined to find a tiny difference: No, Dad, this one has a blue helmet... blue is my favorite color!!! (What a startling coincidence, I know) Can I get it?
Me: (oh great... I don't know. You have a jar at home... I have no idea how much money you have... better diffuse this situation for now) "Well, you have some money at home, and I'm not sure you have enough to ---
Son, knowing where this is going: DAD -- WHY CAN'T I GET IT??? I NEVER CAN GET ANYTHING <followed by tears, a scowl, and a refusal to listen to anything else>
Me: Let's talk about it when we get home... come on, we need to go.
My son, now possessed with super powers, cannot be moved out of the aisle. I am flooded with embarrassment and confusion why his ninja-like upbringing has imploded and left this angry shell of a person in its place.

The toy aisle tantrum laid waste to all my plans. So what went wrong? I have had some time to think about why these situations happen and here are the 4 mistakes I feel parents make teaching children about money...

1. We start with the wrong idea

Money is values first. It's not primarily a skill or a knowledge, while there are obvious practical things needed to handle money wisely. Yet we often chose financial curriculum over financial conversations. We immediately run to the practical instead of the relational. When building a strong structure you must always lay an unshakable foundation. Values are the things that can hold spending, saving, and sharing in it's rightful place.

2. We start programs we are not consistent with

When it comes to a child's learning you don't need fancy curriculum, apps for your phone, or glitzy organization charts. You don't need a famous financial person's 10 step system guarantee. You simply need to be consistent. We know this is true with every other activity we introduce to kids -- let them consistently do something and watch them grow. So it's not about finding the coolest Pinterest board filled with ideas, it's about finding what YOU the parent are willing to be consistent with. Start with one thing if life is busy. Being consistent with that one thing is better than sporadically enforcing 5 things.

3. We start at the wrong time

Simply put, we often start too late. We miss the formidable seasons in our child's life where money attitudes and values have already taken root. Most parents will begin to seriously address money during teenage years. But your child has already been an active consumer for a decade or more by then. This approach is akin to cramming 10 minutes before a pass or fail final exam. We know children learn new things easiest when they are young, so why do we procrastinate?

4. We forget what's at stake.

Did you know that money is the #1 reason for relationship conflict, the #1 fear of incoming college freshmen, a leading stressor that reduces healthy living, a deciding factor to major life decisions like marriage, family, career choices, home and car purchases. You add this all up, and you start to see that money isn't just another skill to collect. Money is essential to their ability to be well-adjusted adults throughout their entire lives.
I am determined to help parents teach their children about money. I had access the the latest content, the latest experts, the latest curriculum. But none of those things helped me communicate money values to my son. Are we all hopeless? It can seem that way -- I know. 

. . .
Stay tuned for the next post where Justin will offer 3 things you can start doing now to have better conversations about money.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

A New Use for Toilet Paper

Move over Oscar De La Renta, because there's a new fashion trend hitting the runaway. We like to call it: The TP Movement. It's comfy, versatile, inexpensive, and let's face it super cheeky, I mean chic.
Okay, so maybe the Kardashian's wont be found wearing this new fashion, but maybe we can sell a few to Miley Cyrus. But if not, at least my girls already have their wedding dresses picked out!