“Working to help parents raise money-smart kids.”
Hello, and welcome to another Money-Smart Monday.
This week I’m sharing two articles that I hope will be as impactful to you as they were to me.
I’ll then wrap up this newsletter with a short video from my latest podcast guest.
I hope you find these three resources useful and either share- or save-worthy. Or both!
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Creative Thinking About Money: I met Ana Lorena Fabrega when we were both students of David Perell’s Write of Passage. Ana is a clear thinker in the education space. If you’re at all interested in the future of education, then I highly recommend her Fab Fridays newsletter.
In The LEGO Analogy, Ana explains that the famous multi-colored blocks used to promote free-form creativity. A big bin of them could be fashioned into anything. However, today’s LEGO sets are neatly boxed and feature intricately customized pieces that don’t encourage the same free-form, creative thinking. They literally promote “inside-the-box,” instruction-based thinking.
This graphic from Ana’s article compares instruction-based and creative thinking.
Most money-smart education focuses on “inside-the-box,” instruction-based learning. For example, questions like this from the FINRA financial literacy quiz:
“Suppose you have $100 in a savings account earning 2 percent interest a year. After five years, how much would you have?”
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with this question or the knowledge it contains. We want our kids to be able to answer it.
Lifetime learning, though, is driven by intrinsic motivation. And intrinsic motivation is driven in turn by questions based on the right side of the graphic above. Questions like:
- What’s important to our family values, and how can money help support them?
- Why do I want to buy the things that I do?
- How can I make sure I have the money that I need for a goal that I want?
These types of questions move us from instruction-based learning (telling others) to creative thinking (discovering for ourselves). Contemplating these questions provides the foundation upon which we can layer instruction-based learning appropriately.
For example, when your children are saving for goals, their understanding of how interest works is much more meaningful.
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Be selfish to be selfless. Derek Sivers is another wonderful, clear thinker who ruthlessly edits his compositions. Nothing superfluous. Useful, clear, actionable writing.
His short essay “Parenting: Who is it really for?” underscores a fundamental truth that is relevant to the money-smart journey — it’s one we take with our kids.
When my wife and I first came up with the idea for The Money Mammals, we did so because we wanted to raise money-smart kids. I worried my children would be careless about money like I’d been. Along the way, I discovered that I had to embrace my money failures and use them as teaching tools. This is why I talk so much about enjoying the journey.
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Consistency Matters: I recently shared with you my full podcast featuring the insightful Courtney Moran of the Cornerstone Credit Union Foundation. In this video short from that conversation, Courtney addresses the biggest gap we need to fill.
If there’s a theme to this week’s newsletter, then perhaps this video with Courtney captures it. Consistent engagement — and conversation — with our kids matters.
It starts with good questions. We won’t know all the answers, and that’s where those instruction-based financial literacy facts can come in handy — as responses to meaningful questions your children ask.
I hope you enjoyed this latest edition of 3 Ideas to Share and Save.
And, 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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