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The Money Factor
Time and again, research has shown the influence of parents on the
money habits of kids. A poll conducted by Northwestern Mutual
Foundation’s financial literacy website, TheMint.org, asked teens to
choose who had the biggest influence on the way that they saved
or spent money. Seven out of 10 kids aged 17 and younger said
“parents” swayed their actions the most, outpacing “friends” (16%),
“TV, magazines, books, radio or celebrities” (14%), and “teachers”
(1%). Recognizing that talk of money can make some parents a little
uncomfortable, here are some easy “entry points” into the conversation:
1. When watching TV or upon seeing billboards with younger
children, play devil’s advocate to the ads that bombard them in
order to help make them more discriminating of what they see.
2. When shopping, talk about why you choose one product over
another — describe details about value, quality, ingredients, etc.
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3. Discuss the cost of living. Talk about the role of taxes in
supporting the community — its schools, roads and services.
Each stage in your child’s life presents new challenges and
opportunities for helping them learn to make good financial
decisions. Preschool years are a good time to introduce children to
a piggy bank.
Ages 7-13 might be a good time to introduce an allowance and the
principles of earning and saving. High school is when it’s a good
idea to increase financial responsibilities and talk about safe debt
levels. As they go off to college, it’s important to explain good
and bad debt and encourage the idea of “pay yourself first.”
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› Article prepared by Northwestern
Mutual with the cooperation of Matthew
Ferrara. Matthew Ferrara is a Financial
Representative with the Northwestern Mutual
Financial Network, The Miami Group for The
Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company.
To contact Matthew Ferrara, call 305.375.7695
or email Matthew.Ferrara@NMFN.com.
“Before you can really start
setting financial goals, you
need to determine where you
— David Bach
38 Dirty Desk
Thinking of adopting a pet?
Check your budget first: The
average cost of raising a medium-
sized dog to the age of 11 comes
to about $16,400. But pooches
look like a bargain next to kids,
who ring in at about $170,000.
Get grossed out in public
bathrooms? In a study by the
University of Arizona, the
average worker’s desk had
400 times more bacteria than
an office toilet seat. Time for a
When American Express first
released their then-exclusive
Platinum Credit Card, they charged
an annual fee of $250. Compare that
to the fee of $2,500 on today’s Black
Centurion card…with a requirement
to spend $250,000 a year!