Wednesday, July 20, 2011

5 Money Lessons You Definitely Should NOT Teach Your Kids

Want to give your kids one of the best gifts you could ever give them? Teach them how to handle their money. And do NOT teach them the following lessons:

1) Pick a career you love, with no consideration of earning power.
Many parents tell their kids "do something you love and the money will take care of itself." That sounds nice. Everyone deserves to be happy. But can you be happy if you don't find a job? Or get into a career that doesn't give you the life you want? There's no easy answers to those questions, as many people live happy lives doing social service work, missions, or even volunteer work. And this is not to say you should discourage your kids to use their talents as actors, artists, or the like. But you should teach them some kind of balance. And if they decide to go to college, make sure to discuss the benefits of a degree, and who will be paying back the student loans, if there are any. Encourage your kids to do volunteer work, job shadowing, internships, or get a part-time job in the field they want to build their career BEFORE they make any significant investment, so they can see what the working life is really like.

2) Money comes easy, so don't worry about how you'll get it.
When it comes to teaching kids about money, giving an allowance is a debatable topic. Should you give your kids an allowance, either for doing some basic chores or just out of the goodness of your heart, so they have some money they can learn how to manage? Or not? Tough question! Here's one way to think about it - is it better to just give your kids money, or to teach them how to earn it? Just doing the same chores every week for the same amount of money doesn't really do it. Instead, think about giving them the choice - do the work and get paid, or don't do the work and don't get paid. Have them do jobs around the house - real jobs that require some work, like painting or window washing or fixing something that is broken. And teach them that to GET money they have to GIVE some sort of service and effort.

3) Keep all your money in the same place.
When you're a kid having all your money in one account is no big deal. You make a few bucks, put it in your savings account, and take it out when you need it. But as your kids get older, and as they become adults, this becomes a bad strategy. Because in 2011 if you put all your money in your bank checking or savings account, you're earning very little interest. It may be safe, but it isn't doing much for you. Or if you invest it all aggressively into a single stock or type of investment, you risk losing a LOT when the market changes. Even as a kid, if you put your money in your drawer or in a box, you risk big brother or sister taking your money, or your parents "borrowing" from your stash of cash. And none of these are things you want to have happen. So teach your kids to diversify their money early on. Need money quickly? Keep some in your bank savings account. Want to save long term? Put money in U.S. savings bonds, mutual funds, get the idea. The more kids know about the different types of investments the better.

4) Hope is a good thing...
Hope you win the lottery. Hope you get a good job. Hope social security will be around when it's your time. Hope that mom and dad will bail you out when things get bad. And if none of these come true, don't worry, something good will happen. Obviously, this is a bad strategy when it comes to managing money, and a bad lesson to teach your kids. Instead, teach them how to set themselves up well financially long-term. Teach them how to save on a regular basis. Teach them how to start their own business or get a job when they need money. Teach them how to protect their money and not to spend all their money just because they have it right now. Then, if you want to buy a lottery ticket for fun, good luck!

5) If you want it, buy it now, worry about paying for it later.
When you're young, ask mom and dad to buy it for you. When you're older, use plastic. Same concept - buy now, pay later. Bad lesson, very bad lesson. Kids need to realize that money is a thing, not an idea. Meaning that you need it to spend it. Credit cards are a way of life for many adults, but for most people they are little more than an illusion. An illusion that you have money that you might not have. OK, if you use credit cards responsibly, or if you use them for the rewards and then pay them off every month, that's not so bad. But if you buy something on a credit card because you don't have enough cash, then what happens next? First, you get a bill for the entire balance. Then, next month there's some interest added on. Before you know it, the monthly payment keeps getting bigger and your kids a big favor, and teach them that if you want something then you should wait until you have enough cash to buy it. Otherwise, keep saving until you do.

The best time to teach your kids about money is when they are young enough to want to start spending it. That means they understand that money is a means to getting what they want. Of course, you don't need to force them to read Forbes or the Wall Street Journal when they are 3. But it's never to early to learn the balance between spending, saving, and earning!

About the Guest Author
Kris Bickell started to share the lessons he learned about getting out of debt, fixing credit problems, and saving money. Learn how to get the type of debt help you need and get your finances back on the right track.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Guest Post: Reverse Mortgage and Credit Card Debt

Retirement used to be a time for people to enjoy life without a mortgage or high credit card bills, a time when heavy debts were mostly a thing of the past. Increasingly, that's no longer true. Some seniors are taking on debt in retirement to fund a trip they've always wanted to take. But a growing number are in debt because they have no choice, according to debt counselors and a growing body of research.[i]

Reverse Mortgages can solve a lot of problems for people facing financial hardship due to the rising costs of medical bills on a fixed income. A qualified consumer can enter into a reverse mortgage which has two major benefits. The first, you no longer pay a monthly mortgage payment. This allows you to free up cash flow to pay your medical expenses and credit card debt more comfortably. The second is a source of income you can receive in monthly disbursements or a lump sum of cash. The extra income can help you become more comfortable during your retirement years and alleviate the stress of bills you are facing and the burden you may feel you are placing on your immediate family to care for you.

What many people don’t realize is that a certified debt specialist may be able to work with your reverse mortgage specialist to involve you in a plan to not only alleviate your financial troubles and burden but help to eliminate your credit card debt for less than the full amount owed. This can further assist you in preserving your precious resources for medical bills and cost of living increases you face on a fixed income.

The need for these two services is at an all time high as every single day more than 10,000 Baby Boomers will reach the age of 65. That is going to keep happening every single day for the next 19 years.[ii] Baby boomers are retiring under the umbrella of $790.1 billion of U.S. Consumer Debt.[iii] A large portion of which are adjustable rate credits cards while the largest population in US history is on or going on a fixed income. A recipe for disaster coupled with an underfunded social security program.

Because a reverse mortgage is not driven by credit it does not matter if you are falling past due on your credit card accounts, have late payments in the past, or cannot show enough income. You are facing a financial hardship on fixed income so a certified debt specialist may be able to put a plan in place for you in conjunction with your reverse mortgage to assist you in paying off your debts all at once or over time.

These two specialists working together can help turn your retirement years around by preserving more of the precious resources you need to last the rest of your life. You can move beyond the monthly cycle of medical bills and unhealthy stress of credit card debt. Working with a reverse mortgage specialist and Certified Debt Specialist can help.

Friday, July 1, 2011

The 2011 San Francisco Money Show

Each year, The Money Show is held at the San Francisco Marriott Marquis Hotel in the city's downtown. This a literal carnival of investing. Every year The Money Show brings in a large collection of speakers, most of whom have some sort of investing product or service to sell, who pitch their advice in 30-45 minute speaker sessions. Over the years, though, I have seen some notable speakers. The ones that I remember most vividly are Bambi Francisco (formerly of Marketwatch), James Jubak (of MSN Money), and William J. O'Neil (founder of Investor's Business Daily).

The seminar sessions are broken out into many of the hotel's subterranean meeting rooms. The SF Marriott Marquis is a huge hotel with dozens of meeting rooms that can be re-sized for practically any group of speakers. It is well suited for conventions such as The Money Show. At any given time, several speakers will be talking about different topics. Many of the speakers do have something to say about important topics. I think that the speakers representing larger firms are often trying to share their knowledge with people. But having said that, there are a lot of speakers who are just giving a sales pitch and fishing for new business.

The exhibitors at The Money Show range from large mutual fund companies and brokerage houses to individual newsletter writers and penny stock promoters. All and all, one has to pick and choose which booths are worth stopping by for more than quick glance. If you linger too long at any one booth, you might find yourself in the middle of an unwanted sales pitch. There is no shortage of reading materials for the numerous offerings that the exhibitors have. This brings me to another reason I like going to The Money Show: freebies.

I can usually cart off a couple of bags worth of sample newsletters, magazines, pens, notepads, key chains, refrigerator magnets, mouse pads, and candies. In a few cases, I have been able to come away with a USB flash drive or two. One time, I was lucky enough to get a copy of William J. O'Neil's book, 24 Essential Lessons for Investment Success. And occasionally, exhibitors will invite you for lunch or cocktails, but that usually involves listening to a sales presentation for the duration.

Oh, and did I mention that admission to The Money Show is free as well? I generally make a trek into the city for The Money Show event. Unfortunately, I am not going the year because the organizers have decided to hold the 2011 San Francisco Money Show on weekdays (Wednesday through Friday) from August 10-12, 2011. I still have a regular job to hold down, so I will have to miss it. Maybe next year.