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Category: Investing

Adopt a Class or School – Change a Life Campaign

Adopt a Class or School – Change a Life Campaign

We’re working with Sammy Rabbit on his “Adopt a Class or School – Change a Life” campaign. If you’d like to participate, email me. Details are below.

“Adopt a Class Change a Life” Campaign Special

Teach Children SMART Money Habits!

Book + Music + Activity

Strategic Multi media, Multi intelligence approach teaches smart money habits; builds reading and listening skills!

Special (limited time only)

3 Items for price of 1

Get a FREE Story Book: It’s a Habit, Sammy Rabbit!

and a FREE Coloring Book with Stickers Inside

with Purchase of “Dream Big – Set Goals” Audio Song and Story CD (8 Tracks):

Minimum Qty – 50 Units

CDs: 50 x $4.99 = $249.50

Storybooks: 50 FREE

Coloring Books with Stickers Inside: 50 FREE

Add shipping, handling, and tax (if applicable)

Offer valid while supplies last

For more information about the books and CDs visit:

Order or Questions? Email me at:

Great Holiday Gifts: Board Games that Teach Money Concepts to Kids

Great Holiday Gifts: Board Games that Teach Money Concepts to Kids

Board games are always great gifts for the holidays.  And board games that teach kids money skills are doubly great!  The key is to sneak in the “money conversation” as you play.

For example, the popular Game of Life oozes opportunities to discuss buying a house, paying insurance, being prepared for unexpected expenses, playing the stock market…

And the lesser known Allowance Game is perfect for discussing wise spending choices, earning interest on savings, and jobs that your kids can do to earn extra money.   Gently tie in your real life experiences with these important money topics as they come up during the game.

We sometimes assume that, through osmosis, kids will make the connections between the money lessons in the game and what happens in the real world.  That is not always true, so it’s up to us to be on the lookout for these priceless opportunities!

Here is a list of additional fun games that help teach kids about money:

Presto Change-o (ages 4 and up)  Making change

Monopoly Junior (ages 5 to 8)  Adding/subtracting money

Pit (ages 7 and up)  Investing, understanding the stock market

Cashflow for Kids (ages 7 and up)  Investing, general financial education

Payday (ages 8 and up)  Household finances, bill paying

Monopoly (ages 8 and up)  Adding/subtracting money, real estate

The Young Investor, Projects and Activities for Making Your Money Grow – A Review

The Young Investor, Projects and Activities for Making Your Money Grow – A Review

Product Details Ryan had a race this past weekend just east of Los Angeles.   It was a 7-hour drive and the perfect opportunity for me to use my passenger time to review The Young Investor, Projects and Activities for Making Your Money Grow by Katherine R. Bateman.

I was interested in reading the book because I am a big believer in exposing kids to ways to make their money grow.  Early elementary kids should open a savings account at a bank or, my personal preference, a credit union, and be introduced to the concept of interest/dividends.  And in the upper elementary years, kids should become familiar with CDs, bonds, mutual funds, and the stock market.

But these topics aren’t always easy for kids (or adults!) to understand, so any investing book written for kids needs to be done in a way that, one, is interesting to kids, and two, makes sense.  Bateman does a beautiful job of recognizing the importance of this and uses analogies to make these concepts more attainable.  For example, in describing how economist’s measure our country’s economic health, she compares the economy’s checkup to getting an annual checkup at the doctor’s office…both have specific lists they follow to help determine overall health.

Bateman writes the book directly to the tween/teen.  It’s much more fun to read if you feel the author is addressing you, and I can see the appeal for this age group.  Each chapter ends with an update on Billy Ray, a real life example of earning and investing money beginning at age 6.  If Billy Ray can do it, then I can, too!

Investing begins with understanding of the power of compound interest.  I learned a long time ago that kids as young as 10 or 11 “get” compound interest if it’s shown to them in a concrete, visual way.  And once they get it, they want in.  This is where the book comes in.  In clear, easy-to-understand words, Bateman takes the reader through the history of money, different ways to invest, the stock market, and how all of this relates to the economy.

When my boys began investing around age 11, I had them read The Motley Fool’s Investment Guide for Teens. Chapter by chapter, we discussed the information.  I wanted them to understand that anyone who is going to invest needs to be aware of what they are doing.  And that means reading.

I would use The Young Investor in the same way.  The tween/teen reads a chapter and then discusses what they learned with the parent.  It’s also a good way for parents who are not very familiar with investing themselves to learn.  There’s nothing wrong with learning right along side your child.

The book is filled with a lot of activities that kids can use as a hands-on way to solidify the concepts.  Many of the activities also serve to direct kids to take specific action.  Reading this kind of book for the first time can be overwhelming.  So if we can show kids exactly what to do with the information, there’s a better chance that they’ll actually do it.  And that’s the whole point.

The book covers a lot of information.  As such, it serves as a great resource.  I plan on adding The Young Investor to my resource table during my financial literacy classes and recommending it to parents who are interested in teaching their kids how to make their money grow.

To Invest or Not to Invest

To Invest or Not to Invest

I cut an article out of the paper today to share with Nathan.  He had invested in Walmart several years ago because he liked the idea of them going green.  He knew that a big company like Walmart could make a difference.

He was right.  According to the article Walmart is now holding farmers accountable for their farming practices.  It’s recycling its used plastic into dog beds, producing smaller laundry detergent bottles to reduce packaging, and it’s transporting its goods in hybrid 18-wheelers that, as the word ‘hybrid’ would imply, uses less fuel.

I liked the idea that Nathan’s investing strategy was driven by his desire for his dollars to be used in socially conscious ways.   Say what you will about Walmart, but when a company makes a commitment to train one million workers in sustainable farming practices, I’m in.

The fact that Walmart is going to save a lot of money by doing these things and, as a result, raise their income by 10 – 15%, shows that going green is a smart, bottom-line thing to do.  It happens to be a win/win.

So I was excited to share the article with Nathan.   But I was even more excited to share it with Ryan.  When he came down for breakfast, I waited until he had blended his breakfast (he doesn’t eat cereal) and read most of the comics, before non-chalantely bringing up the article.

Ryan has not invested in Walmart.  But what he has invested in (decisions made through his stomach and enjoyment of movies), have made a killing.  Unbelievable killing.  They’ve more than quadrupled in value in a very short time.  I kick myself every time I think about it.  I should have followed suit.

So my interest in sharing the Walmart article was purely selfish.  I was watching his reaction.  Is he excited about the direction Walmart is taking?  Does he think it might be a good investment?  Is he going to go in on it?  What’s Ryan thinking??

“Cool,” he said.  “Do you think I should invest in it?” he asked.

What?!  That wasn’t what I was waiting for.  He was supposed to tell ME whether or not it was a good investment.  After all, he had done it several times before…isn’t there some sort of vibe he gets?

“I dunno.  What do you think?” I asked, trying to appear disinterested.

“I don’t know,” he replied.  “I did really well on my last investments.  But I got lucky.   I don’t think that going to happen twice.”

It was then that I realized that he was a smarter investor than I was.  Here I was waiting to see if he got the “feeling” again while he was trying to consider the details about whether or not it would make a good investment.

He closed the comics and walked away.  Hmmmm.  Didn’t seem too interested.  Must not be feeling the vibe.  There I go again.  But, I’ll tell ya, if Ryan does decide to invest in Walmart, his mom is going to follow his lead…just in case.

Kids Earning Money? Set Up a Roth IRA

Kids Earning Money? Set Up a Roth IRA

I took Nathan and Ryan to our broker this morning to discuss Roth IRAs. Both boys have jobs and I thought it was time to have them begin thinking about their retirement. John and I decided to match any money they made this summer, dollar for dollar, and, well, my boys have never been known to turn down free money. They were all in.

I could have easily set up their custodial accounts online but I wanted the boys to have the experience of meeting with an expert. Besides, I’m not all that familiar with Roth IRAs, I had a few questions to ask, and I wanted them to learn right alongside me.

Our broker started by asking the boys what they already knew about Roth IRAs. Nathan volunteered that it was a retirement account that they wouldn’t be able to touch until they were 65 (turns out it’s 59 1/2). Ryan offered the fact that taxes were taken out before the money gets deposited into the account allowing for the money to be drawn tax-free later on. I was proud of both of them for being able to discuss the basics of these types of accounts.

I know it’s hard for many kids to even entertain the notion that one day they will be retired. It’s even harder to get them to begin to prepare for it. I’ve been lucky in this area with Nathan and Ryan. They’ve sat in enough of my money classes to know that they are in the best position now to set themselves up for financial freedom later in life. A little sacrifice now can pay greatly later.

When our broker started talking about the compounding effect of money, and having money work for them, Nathan and Ryan started to smile. They know all about it. In fact, once kids see the power of compound interest, they’re usually quite interested in making those sacrifices.

We then got into risk management. The question posed both boys was What would you do if your account value dropped by 10%? Sell, stay put, or buy more? It was an interesting question and I was curious what each would say…although I already knew.

Ryan said he’d buy more. Nathan said he’d stay put. Ryan has made a killing on his stock picks this year; he’s a little bit more of a risk-taker. Nathan is simply not willing to lose money if he has a choice. This fits in with the next question: When are you looking to retire? Under any other circumstances this would have been an odd question to pose a 15- and 17-year old. But we were in his office to discuss retirement, so it was totally appropriate.

Ryan wants to have the option of retiring when he’s 40. Nathan said he probably wouldn’t retire any time before 55. With this information, our broker created personal target funds for each of them. Then he printed them out. That alone was worth the 45 minutes in his office. The boys were fascinated with these pieces of personalized information and devoured them in the car ride home. Very cool.

And me, all I could think about in that car ride was how I was jyped of information when I was a teenager. Had I known then what I know now, I’d have left that office in my flip flops ready to head out to the beach and work…on my tan.