Financial Literacy Month: Teaching Your Kids About Money

April is Financial Literacy Month and it’s the perfect time to think about this subject and ways to help make you and your family more financially savvy! During this month, I have been asked several times by others in the financial world a simple yet personal question: “What do I wish I had learned as a kid about money that I wasn’t taught?” That got me to really thinking about the subject of personal finance in a little bit different way.

April is Financial Literacy Month and there's no better time to teach financial literacy for kids and adults. Here's how kids can learn more about money.

Almost everything I ever learned about money and personal finance as a child I learned from my parents. Schools just didn’t spend very much time teaching about that and surprisingly even today, some 60 years after I went to elementary school, they still don’t! Continue reading

3 Shameful Financial Problems You Fear To Talk About

Americans are well known around the world for certain things. One prime thing is our tendency to talk and even brag about our lives and our abundances. We are pretty proud of living in what we refer to as the “greatest country” in the world and we have good reasons to feel that way. If you are a bigtime world traveler, you are probably sending a clear message to everyone you meet: you have lots of money and you enjoy spending it freely. You probably stay at a fine hotel, eat at a fancy restaurant, travel at the height of the season, etc. and that is the message you’re sending.

Sometimes financial problems are embarrassing and we're afraid to share them with loved ones. But getting help is better than trying to work it out alone.

The Art of Braggadocio

Speaking of bragging, we also have great fervor when spreading good news to others, especially our family and neighbors. We make it obvious so they will notice when we drive into our garage with that big new $85,000 2017 Land Rover that’s so perfect for those cross country trips and exploring the Gobi Desert, but will more likely spend its time parked at little Debbie’s soccer practices every Tuesday and Thursday! Continue reading

Frugal or Cheapskate… Am I Just Too Damned Cheap?

So I’m out having dinner with my daughter and the bill comes to the table. It’s my treat (of course, since she rarely has the money to pick up any tab) and I pull out my rewards card for the loyalty points and of course the coupon: “Save $10.00 off any 2 dinners with the purchase of 2 drinks”. And then it happens.

“Dad, do you always have to use a coupon? It’s so embarrassing, like can’t you just enjoy this without having that? Are you that cheap?”

There's a difference between being frugal and being a cheapskate. It takes some self-reflection to determine which you are, and how you got that way.

It never fails to amaze me when that conversation begins, and it often does. I have tried most of my life to teach both my children about being thrifty, or frugal if you prefer! For some unexplainable reason they just don’t seem to get it. Is it being cheap to want to conserve my money? Is it being cheap to take my daughter out to dinner? A free dinner for her? Exactly what is it that embarrasses her? Continue reading

How Will You Handle The Final Affairs Of A Loved One?

Losing a loved one is one of the most difficult experiences you will ever have, which is only compounded by having to handle their final affairs and their estate. There’s no doubt that dealing with a subject like the loss of a friend or family member is emotional, stressful, and a cause of great despair. When you get to be around my age, you have probably dealt with this kind of event far too often, and frankly no matter how many times you have, it is never a comfortable feeling.

Losing a loved one is tragic, but are you prepared to handle their final affairs and their estate? Here's a short primer on what you need to know.

There are many details that must be taken care of to make this kind of event orderly and to take care of all of the important details that the decedent wanted. This only adds an element of anxiety and pressure to an already stressful situation. Knowing what needs to be done can help to ease your mind. Continue reading

Couple Money Management: When a Saver Loves a Spender

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Managing money together as a couple can be one of the most stressful parts of a relationship. Everyone has their own ideas of how much to save and how much to spend, not to mention different priorities and different habits. So imagine how much more difficult it becomes when one partner is a classic “saver” and the other is a classic “spender”. How do you cope and manage your money together as a couple?

To excel at couple money management, you need to compromise, even if one of you is a saver and the other is a spender. Here's how to do it without fighting.I consider myself fortunate to have found a partner who generally feels the same way I do about money, saving, and spending. And yet, my wife likes to spend a bit more money than I do, sometimes putting her in the spender role and me in the saver role. We always manage to work out any monetary disagreements with a quick conversation and a bit of time to think. One of the key things we’ve realized though is that it isn’t so much that she’s the spender and I’m the saver, but that we spend on different things. Continue reading

What Dad Really Wants for Father’s Day

It’s just around the corner: another Father’s Day arrives on Sunday, June 19th.  If you’re like most people, you’ve already begun thinking about what you’re looking to give Dad this year—checking the Sunday papers, looking online, and talking to Mom and your siblings about what Dad really wants this year.

What Dad Really Wants for Father's Day

I’m a Dad of two (they’re grown now and out on their own) and I’m sure they are thinking those same thoughts and hoping to surprise me with something I’m just dying for but would never go out and buy for myself. That’s probably how they think. Continue reading

Life or Debt: The Help You May Need to Face Reality!

Every once in a while, if I’m lucky, I stumble onto something that intrigues me and I feel like I must share it with you. That is exactly what I’m doing today, when I share the surprise I had in discovering the new reality TV show “Life Or Debt” last month on Spike which airs Sunday nights at 10 pm Eastern.

Life or Debt: The Help You May Need to Face Reality!

The show is a reality show in the truest sense possible. It deals with real life, real people and real problems. It’s the kinds of problems that most of us have dealt with at some point, but in this show it’s magnified with a huge lens that puts the problems under the microscope for all of us to view. Continue reading

Financial Literacy: A Review of “High School Money Hacks”

Every April since 2003, the United States has recognized and celebrated National Financial Literacy Month. It was called for by a joint resolution in congress and is one path to educating the citizens of our country about the importance and real necessity of developing a working knowledge in mastering the language, principles, and actions of finance.

Financial Literacy: A Review of "High School Money Hacks"

But nowhere is it more important to begin that education than with our youth. High school financial literacy is more important than ever before. There are many levels of education and responsibilities that kids come in contact with that can be the inspiration and key to their developing a full understanding of the principles of financial education. I recently read a book that I think can really help both student and parent in that quest. Continue reading

Stop Complaining and Do Something About It!

You’ll have to pardon me here if I sound like I’m complaining (I am), but have you noticed the absurd numbers of annoying complaints that people seem to have about, oh I don’t know, everything! There are just some people who love to complain and it’s getting worse by the minute! The time that is spent on the complaining is not the proverbial “time well spent”, and I seriously think it may lead to the decline and fall of the free world. Or maybe not, but here’s my point.

Stop Complaining and Do Something About It !

Today, you have the ability to vent, whine, rant, and get tons of attention every minute of the day through social media. Tweeting, Facebook posting and a slew of other “wonderful” platforms amplify the complaining so that I and people like me are bombarded with it to the point of nausea! Do I have to know who hit on you at work? What you had for lunch? Who got engaged while you are still dating the guy you met at your psych class 7 years ago? I’ve compiled a list of some of the worst offending complaints and if you’re among the “whaaa!!-trepreneurs” who are making a priority out of being heard this way, try some self-restraint and spend some time with a few of my poignant recommendations…please! Continue reading

Avoid Spending a Fortune on St. Frugaltine’s Day

Wow, has been a whole year since we last spoke about celebrating St. Frugaltine’s Day? I guess so and once again it comes as the challenge of showing our valentine how much we care without going way overboard or appearing to be a cheapskate…our worst fear! Being frugal doesn’t mean being cheap. Let’s make that perfectly clear. Rather, it means a way to show how much you care about the emotional side of an event like St. Valentine’s Day, and not the commercial side.

Avoid Spending a Fortune on St. Frugaltine's Day

According to the National Retail Association, the average person will spend $150 this year celebrating and buying gifts for this “holiday”. That adds up to over 19 billion dollars nationally, enough money to make Kevin O’Leary happy and get him “his money” back and more for any valentine Shark Tank investments he’s made! But seriously, 19 million? It makes Frugal Gary shudder…how about you? Continue reading