Turning the Page
This week marks a milestone for me. As of January 1, I became editor of Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine.
Taking the reins of a financial publication in the midst of a financial crisis is challenging, to say the least. But it's also exciting. With a staff of personal-finance journalists who are second to none, plus a 62-year history of giving advice that's both practical and trustworthy, we at Kiplinger's are in a unique position to help our audience just when they need it most.
I'll continue writing about children and money, a franchise I've been nurturing since 1993. My new responsibilities don't allow me the time to write a column every week. But as editor of the magazine I'll be directing and expanding all of the family-oriented coverage.
And I'd still very much like to hear what you think we should be writing about. Please continue to e-mail your questions and comments to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lately, interest in teaching kids about money seems to have reached a crescendo. I've been barraged with requests from the media to offer advice on how parents can talk to their children about the current situation, especially if families accustomed to lavishing money on their kids have to cut back:
- Talking to Young Kids About the Financial Crisis
- Talking to Teens About the Financial Crisis
- Money Missteps in Parenting
- Putting Santa on a Budget
- Yes, You Can Say No to Your Kids
- What Santa is Bringing to My House
One message I give parents is to have faith in themselves and confidence in their children. Years of writing about kids and money, during which I've heard from thousands of parents and children, have convinced me that parents have power. Children consistently say that Mom and Dad are their primary sources of information about money -- beating out schools, their peers and the media. So kids will listen when you speak.
Don't worry if your own money-management skills are less then perfect. Take this as an opportunity to beef up your saving, pay off your debt, and make a smart purchase or two, and you can tell your kids how you got your own finances in order.
If that means you have to spend less on your children, that's not necessarily a bad thing. The whole point of discussing financial issues with your kids is to help them grow into independent adults with a healthy attitude toward money and the ability to manage it. And lavishing cash on them defeats that purpose.
You want to teach your children not just the value of a buck but also the values that go along with it: self-discipline, personal responsibility, thrift, generosity, deferred gratification, planning for the future. If children acquire those traits in the context of managing money successfully, they'll be able to use them to manage other aspects of their lives as well.