3 Ideas to Share and Save – 015

Memo from the Chief Mammal Header

“Working to help parents raise money-smart kids.”


Money-Smart Month is almost over. Wow. That went fast. BTW, April is officially called National Financial Capability Month (as decreed each year by the sitting president). I don’t care for the name because it feels purposely bureaucratic, like something created to appease everyone which, in turn, ends up being more confusing than helpful.

I’m done whining about semantics. Time to get productive.

Here are 3 Ideas to Share and Save.

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— 1 —

Steal Like an Artist: As I told you in my last newsletter, we recently completed the launch of our big, new program — The Art of Allowance Project featuring The Money Mammals and ADOLESCENT$.

Coincidentally, I just finished Austin Kleon’s short, inspiring book on the nature of creativity, Steal Like an Artist. It’s so good and so easily digestible that I bought a copy for my daughter because I think the core message is so important. Creativity begins with stealing – you start by copying your idols. It then develops, when done well, through reinterpretation. That’s when you fuse your ideas into those you’ve been stealing. Kleon’s book provides a more useful way to comprehend aphorisms we’ve all heard, like “Good artists steal,” or “There are no original ideas.” And because I think we’re all artists in some form, the book provides practical tips that we can all use to add to the world.

For example, our new ADOLESCENT$ program leans heavily on fundamentals that we certainly didn’t develop ourselves. In effect, we’re stealing them: ideas like living beneath our means, understanding opportunity costs or making smart money choices. We’ve reinterpreted these ideas in ways we think will resonate with tweens and teens. Of course, you or your children can decide if we succeeded. I shared the first Good Money Habits video about saving versus spending in my last newsletter, and I’m proud to share the second with you today. Enjoy!  

I hope you’ll share this resource with your tween or teen and let me know his or her thoughts.

I’d also love your input. Are there any topics we should cover after completing our Good Money Habits series?

— 2 —

Paying for College: If your family is in the throes of making your final college decision by the end of this week, then you might want to listen to my conversation with Ron Lieber, New York Times columnist and author of The Price You Pay for College: An Entirely New Roadmap for the Biggest Financial Decision Your Family Will Ever Make. His point at 41:34 about asking good questions is key — we need to know what value we’re getting for the massive investment we’re about to make. Asking good questions is at the heart of making a decision that works for you and your student.

And in case you’re wondering, there’s still time to appeal financial aid decisions. Ann Cairns points this out in a recent article that both my friend Steve (who inspired this essay) and my parents sent me this week, knowing that we were wrestling with our decision.

— 3 —

Introducing Our Kids to Investing: My podcast with financial psychologist Brad Klontz just keeps on giving. I wanted to share with you two new video shorts. In the first, Brad explains how he uses an allowance to help teach important values to his children.

In the second, Brad tells us why we should be wary of a big investing win the first time our kids jump into the stock market. Of course, the opposite, a big loss, would be problematic too. His key point is that all these experiences, particularly those that happen when we’re young, help form our money scripts, the messages that play in our brains behind the scenes and guide our unconscious thoughts and beliefs about money.  

I recommend taking the free Klontz Money Script quiz. It’s helpful to come to terms with our own money issues in order to become the best possible guides for our children.

As always, enjoy the journey.

John, The Chief Mammal

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