3 Ideas to Share and Save – 021

Memo from the Chief Mammal Header

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


Here in Southern California, we’re enjoying what we call “June Gloom,” a marine layer that keeps the first half of each day cool before we head into the dog days of summer.

For me, June Gloom is anything but gloomy. I find the gray beautiful, and in the afternoon it gives way to the azure skies for which SoCal is famous.

June Gloom reminds me that we’re at the current year’s midpoint, so I thought it might be a good time to review three of the more interesting ideas I’ve encountered in 2021.

— 1 —

The Squeaky Wheel: In my conversation with Ron Lieber, columnist of The New York Times‘ “Your Money” and author of The Price You Pay for College, I learned how important it is to ask questions during the admissions process. This might seem an obvious insight to a podcast host — duh, ask more questions — but it turned out to be useful advice for my daughter.

She was on the waitlist at the school she most wanted to attend and decided to email them a well-crafted note about how she would love to go and why she thought she’d thrive there. And it worked. She was accepted within a week.

Will this strategy always succeed? Of course not. But the opposite approach of standing by, not asking questions and not being the squeaky wheel certainly won’t work. Hence my “tip of the hat” to Ron for reminding an asker of questions to recognize the value of asking them.

— 2 —

The Grain of Salt: I’ve thought a lot about a comment Money Mammoth author Brad Klontz made during our discussion earlier this year — that we should “take personal advice with a grain of salt.”

This outlook underscores what we’re doing here at The Art of Allowance Project. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to raising money-smart kids. It’s by talking to experts and parents (and podcast guests who are often both) that I hope to bring you more ideas from which you can pick and choose. I want to help you find your own path on the money-smart journey that we’re all navigating with our kids.

I particularly love Brad’s tip because it takes a certain amount of guts for someone who doles out advice for a living to tell folks to take what he’s saying with a grain of salt. It stems from an awareness that only a true expert can have — the more we know, the more we realize how much more there is to know.

— 3 —

Volunteer Vacations: There are so many instances when I’ve wanted to hit the rewind button to travel backwards in time to take a stab at a different tactic or strategy I’ve learned. Money expert Ellen Rogin provided me with one of those moments when she described the wonderful volunteer vacations she and her husband embarked on with her kids when they were growing up. Here’s an Art of Allowance Podcast video short on the topic:   

My wife and I did a fair bit of traveling with our kids, but I’m sad to say that this idea never dawned on me. I hope my conversation with Ellen inspires you to consider something like a volunteer vacation with your children. Halfway through 2021 feels much better — and more hopeful — than halfway through the year-that-shall-not-be-numbered.

And June Gloom is beautiful because its gray skies and cool air are nice changes. It also portends those sunnier days that are around the corner. I hope these 3 Ideas to Share and Save help make your week a little brighter.

As always, enjoy the journey!

John, Chief Mammal

P.S. Please consult with a financial or investment professional before engaging in any decisions that might affect your own financial well-being.

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