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  1. Great writing, Laurie! had to check it out after I read on your blog that you were guestposting here. You`ve been through so much financially, and I think it`s great that you`re taking responsbility and managing your debt!

  2. Great post. The main thing I hope people take away is that they need to have a different attitude about money. If we view money differently than we are now, we’re going to change everything else about it as well. Money is such a huge part of our lives we can’t allow ourselves to worry, wonder, get upset , be afraid etc of it. And while we’re at it, I hope everyone takes a page out of your playbook and opens their children up to money discussions at a much earlier age, it will pay off in numerous ways for them in the future.

  3. Great post Laurie, you have outdone yourself.
    My view is that teaching kids about finances should be done both at home as well as in schools.It is too much of an important topic that impacts on so many parts of your life for it to not be taught in both locations.

    1. Glen, I so appreciate your encouragement! I agree with you about financial teachings: a partnership is the best approach. You’re right: it’s too important for us to let it slip through the cracks, either at home or at school. Thanks for the input!

  4. We must have had the same parents 😉 Mine totally taught me that talking about money is taboo and money is to be feared (fear or not having money, fear of losing your job, fear of taking a new job because the money might not be as good). Love it that you’re setting a different tone for your kids. Money should give you options, not make you scared.

    1. Wow, KK! And I’ll bet that the parents instilling these “values” of fear in their kids don’t even realize it! I had no idea that fear was such a predominant emotion where dealing with money is concerned!

  5. Great post Laurie. I have to admit I’m a little worried now though 🙂 Kids are so clever and my two toddler boys are picking up our habits already, the good and the bad. There’s nothing like kids to make you change your ways!

  6. It is interesting to hear how others learned about money, or to be honest, didn’t learn. Most of us grew up in an age where information about things like money was private and stayed that way even within the family. There were just some things that were not a part of every day conversation and money was one….. I’m not sure if the schools should be the ones teaching money management but it could be worked into a math class or at high school level a business class even if at a basic level. In some cases it might be the only place some kids hear the word ‘budget’……

  7. Ah Laurie, beautiful post. You are at the beginning of your journey to financial freedom, but it will move faster than you can even imagine, especially with you having such a positive attitude and clear reason why to do it. You know my feelings on how kids observe their parents already and your kids are seeing their Mom and Dad step up and do the right thing is something they won’t forget. The best lesson my father ever taught me about money was that it is emotional and his wisdom holds true today. You and your husband are breaking free from those old emotions and I’m very proud of you.

  8. I was raised much the same way and learned my money lessons the hard way, as an adult. That having been said, I do take issue with the expectation that teaching personal money management skills should be part of our public education curriculum.

    Public education bears an increasingly heavy burden of expectation that it will provide skills traditionally taught at home, while at the same time the public complains long and loud about the increasing cost of running our schools and about the wages being paid to the teachers upon whom we increasingly rely. I also read and hear a lot of complaints that basic learning skills such as literacy and numeracy are not being adequately addressed.

    You can’t have your cake and eat it too: Public school was originally conceived to provide the educational basics and still needs to focus on this core curriculum in order to provide our kids the tools they need to move onward in their education and, subsequently, in their careers. We need to stop expecting our teachers to “parent” our children and assume responsibility for teaching them life skills like money management ourselves, at home.

    You seem to be doing a great job of leading by example at home. That, more than any other thing, will help your kids approach money management in a positive, constructive way as adults.

    1. Great points, Beth. I agree that it should be taught at home first and foremost, but I also think that money management is a basic core skill: one that every single person on earth will need to learn at some point. I think it ranks right up there with reading and writing. I also agree that we put too much pressure on our teachers as it is. If we can work on getting at least some personal finance education in the schools, and educate parents on teaching financial responsibility to their children, we’ll have a really good start. 🙂

      1. I guess for me it seems that basic skills would include (a) having the math skills to be able to add, subtract, multiply and divide as required to do financial transactions, (b) knowing what money is and how to recognize and count the various denominations, and (c) having the ability to transfer the math skills you acquired in (a) to the medium of the currency you learned about in (b). These are the money skills children should be provided in school, in the younger grades.

        The teaching of financial skills in the higher grades is already provided in the form of business courses, basic accounting classes, and life management skill courses. It is also often taught as part of home economics courses and computer skills courses. Kids are also given background on how finances shape our lives through history courses, and social studies courses.

        Public school teachers do not, and I think should not, provide advice or guidance on how individuals should be managing their own money on a day-to-day basis. Those decisions are not simple matters, nor are they basic education. They are as complex and individual a thing as any personal matter could possibly be. Guiding financial decisions from within a classroom would, in my eyes, be akin to teaching religion; the purview of private schools where parents choose to pay extra money to have their personal philosophies reinforced at the school level. At a public school, personal financial decisions are too individual and personal to be an appropriate subject of instruction for the wide range of cultural, social, and personal circumstances encountered within the student body.

        I’m not saying that kids don’t need to learn sound financial management, nor am I suggesting that they don’t need to understand the whys and hows of money. I just don’t think that it is the job of our schools to teach financial prudence, any more than it is the job of teachers to teach morals, religion, or common sense. These are things children should be taught, and have reinforced, on a daily basis at home.

  9. It’s great to hear more about your background. My family was always good with money, and didn’t spend too much, but they also didn’t ever share financial education with us. It was kind of like, “You don’t need to worry about stuff like that, just get your education.”. My husbands family had very poor financial habits, mostly due to my father in law and his issues that seem similar to your father in law. Although we both came from different styles of money management, neither one of us ever learned how to manage money and stay out of debt. Like you said, it’s “normal” to be in debt, so we joined right in. You can be the best money managers you want, and the kids might see and enjoy that, but you have to show them how it works as well. We totally intend to do that and have already started with our daughter. It does make family life much better when everyone is on the same page and the big pink debt elephant isn’t hiding in the background anymore.

    1. How true, Kim! We have to choose to show our kids how money works! It’s amazing how common it is that parents just didn’t talk with kids about money in those days. I’m hoping we’re starting a new trend. ::-)

  10. Great post Laurie! We do the same as you in that our kids have saving, giving, spending accounts for the money they earn doing chores. We have already seen this pay huge dividends in how they are making proper choices at an early age. My oldest son (10 yr. old) just did a fictitious budget the other day using a $20,000 dollar yearly income. His statement when finished…”That really doesn’t go a long way!”

  11. My parents tried to teach me better money habits then they had. When I got my first job in high school, the requirement was that I save at least half of it. Too bad, the lesson never really stuck!

  12. This is something that I wrote about last week. Who is to be our financial mentor? I think parents need to take up the responsibility with the educational system being the supplement. Having it on both sides will ensure the best possible outcome.

    1. That was an eye-opening blog post, Grayson. Yes, it would be great if parents took the lead and the education system was a supplement. We can only hope!

  13. Its amazing how much kids learn from watching. I’ve also noticed when parents have different takes on finances – especially divorced parents it makes it even harder on the kids to figure out what is the “right” thing to do when it comes to money.

    1. You’re so right. Our parents were divorced too, and the mixed messages are really confusing. Thanks for the thoughts, Cassaundra!

  14. Great post Laurie! I could not agree more on kids watching you. They really are sponges, which just makes our responsibility that much more serious in my opinion. I was raised to view money in a similar way and paid the price for that. Not that I blame my mistakes on that as I made my own choices, but it certainly did not help. Our hope & plan is to raise children that have a healthy respect of money and ones that can manage it wisely.

  15. Great post Laurie. Glad to see the next generation will not get the same money values your parents gave you. Impressive how you can mess with a child’s life without even meaning it.

  16. I can relate to the whole “parents didn’t teach us about money” thing! My parents didn’t either, and I made some financial mistakes that could have been avoided. But with my daughter, I am going to make sure she knows how to handle money and all the responsibilities that come with it.

    Great post 🙂

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