Dear Straight Talk: I have two daughters in college. Due to the recession, our economic situation changed drastically since they were in high school, where they enjoyed private schools, lessons, cars, trips abroad, etc. How do I get through to them the duty and joy of pulling their own weight? — Overwhelmed father in Monterey
Editor's Note: What makes a successful adult? Sound management of love, sex, drugs, money. Today's families don't spend enough time, nor do our high schools, on money. Families and schools do a lot on drugs and sex. But little on love and money. Hmmm, now this has me wondering... luckily, I'll spare you those thoughts.
High school is a great time to introduce deeper principles of money and raise financial IQ. Parents: For the home "money talk", if you don't already do a balance sheet, it's a great time to start — for the kids, right? As I said, it's important for them to see that there is just a regular man and/or woman behind the curtain, working to keep roof patched and automobiles in tread, not a magical mysterious force.
Hopefully there are at least place-holders on your balance sheet for old age, disability, and premature death. And that your "money talk" includes ideas of "enough", "value", "happiness" and "giving" versus a "big lots" mentality. Finally — and hopefully you've been inculcating this from early childhood — there is that part about the duty and joy of everyone pulling their weight. A good CEO knows that fortunes can come and go. What lasts is one's character.
Good books on money are "The Richest Man in Babylon" and "The Soul of Money". To learn things beyond a balance sheet, a great money game is "Cashflow 101". —Lauren
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