Some of the hardest questions I’ve had to answer about money over the years have not been about investments or retirement. Instead, I find myself stumped most often by the questions our children ask: Daddy, how much money do we have? Mom, why didn’t you give that man on the street any cash when he asked for some? Why can’t I have a carnivorous plant terrarium if my sister is getting Hunter boots?
Very few of us know how to answer these questions, and most of us have no blueprint for raising financially responsible kids. In fact, our default instinct is often to shelter them, as if we’re supposed to keep them innocent of money somehow. But then they turn eighteen, and we send them off into a world of student loan applications, easy credit and complex choices.
So I’m writing a book for Harper Collins called THE OPPOSITE OF SPOILED that will help us make our kids better at money than we are. I plan to teach you everything I’ve learned about producing grounded young adults with financial habits that are mature beyond their years. But this will also be a book about the values and character traits — generosity and patience and modesty and perspective — that add up to the opposite of spoiled. Talking about money is not something we should be ashamed of. Money turns out to be a great teaching tool that helps us pass on all of the beliefs and behaviors we want our children to embrace.
Instead of keeping my findings secret, I want to share them with you as I work on the book and to hear what you think of my discoveries. And I hope to learn about your lives: the money questions your kids have asked and the dilemmas and situations in your school or community that thrilled, surprised or shocked you.
Please sign up over there on the right to join me in the ongoing conversation.