Ice Cream, Taxes and Kids

This summer for the first time in eight years, my kids are spending the summer at home in Florida.  One of the things, I’ve tasked them with is creating a product and a business.   The purpose of the exercise is to keep their reading, math and critical thinking skills sharp, while also getting them to think creatively about their future.   For the older two kids, this also includes the personal finance modules on Khan Academy.

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As kids leave high school and college, few are well prepared for the real world.  They don’t teach personal finance in high school or college.  In fact, I remember tables and tables of credit card offers during my time at the University of Minnesota.  A bunch of high interest credit cards is exactly what college kids don’t need as they accrue student loan debt.

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Jake starts college this August and he needs to be ready to navigate his finances on his own.  Since it wasn’t addressed in school, we had to create our own curriculum to teach our kids about money.  One thing we did is give them a monthly budget to buy drinks and snacks for their lunch.  If they ate or drink their goodies before the month was over, they were out of luck and they couldn’t borrow money.  It only happened once and Jake quickly learned to live within his budget.

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Fortunately, my younger two are very aggressive about saving money.  As we’ve tightened the belt to afford our dream vacation, they have really sacrificed.  They’ve finally stopped asking for a new boat, which is amazing.  Now instead of a boat, they’d like a Cessna (small plane) they can keep in the garage.  Seems pretty reasonable, right!  Clearly, they need some more financial education.   I’m sure once we get back from Norway, they’ll be asking for a yacht.

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