Should You Buy Your Kids the Finer Things?

Don't kid yourself. Parents who shower their children with pricey duds and designer labels are doing it for their own benefit, not the kids'.

I'm often asked to appear on TV shows to talk about kids and money. When other guests or network personnel hear what my topic is, it frequently generates a lively discussion -- and sometimes raised voices.

Recently, for example, I sat through a few tense moments when two hair and makeup stylists (whom I'll call Abby and Betsy) got into a heated exchange while they hovered over me:

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Janet Bodnar

Janet Bodnar is editor-at-large of Kiplinger's Personal Finance, a position she assumed after retiring as editor of the magazine after eight years at the helm. She is a nationally recognized expert on the subjects of women and money, children's and family finances, and financial literacy. She is the author of two books, Money Smart Women and Raising Money Smart Kids. As editor-at-large, she writes two popular columns for Kiplinger, "Money Smart Women" and "Living in Retirement." Bodnar is a graduate of St. Bonaventure University and is a member of its Board of Trustees. She received her master's degree from Columbia University, where she was also a Knight-Bagehot Fellow in Business and Economics Journalism.