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From Toddlers To Teens: How To Teach Your Kids About Money

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Keli Calderon from The Smart Money Academy joins me to talk about different ways parents can begin to teach their children about money regardless of their age.

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Michael Lacy 0:00

You're listening to Episode 57 of the winning to wealth podcast, effective ways to teach our kids about money featuring Kelly Calderone from the Smart Money Academy.

Intro/Outro 0:13

You're listening to the winning to wealth podcast where you'll hear real stories from real people who are on the path to building real wealth. These stories will show you how to earn more money, pay off debt, start investing, and make better money choices so you can build wealth for your future. Now, here's your host, Michael Lacy, what

Michael Lacy 0:35

is up wealthy fam. And welcome back to the winning to wealth podcast. I'm your host, Michael Lacy. And on this episode, which happens to be Episode 87, we're going to be talking about money in parenting, specifically teaching our kids about money. So 68% of Americans don't consistently live on a monthly spending plan. And 70% of Americans have no long term financial plan, which includes things like savings and investing goals. And at least 49% of Americans say they often feel anxious about their financial well being that if we truly want what's best for our kids, as parents, we have to step up and begin to talk to and teach our kids effective ways of handling money. And so that's why I brought on today's guest, Kelly Calderon to share what we should be teaching our kids about money, when we should be teaching these lessons and how to make these conversations much easier for us as parents to have. So with that said, Hi, Kelly, welcome to the women to work podcast, and I'm really glad to have you here with me today to discuss this very, very important topic.

Keli Calderon- The Smart Money Academy 1:51

Thank you so much. I'm excited to be here. Thanks for inviting me.

Michael Lacy 1:54

Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. So one of the things that I like to do, just to kind of start the episodes off, I'd like to take it back to your childhood really, and kind of dig in and see, you know, what was the money like for you growing up? What are some of the money lessons that you learned as a child?

Keli Calderon- The Smart Money Academy 2:11

That is not something we talked about a whole lot about in my house, my parents struggled financially, I definitely remember a lot of tension around money, a lot of stress and arguments. And it was something that I wasn't ever going to talk to my parents about. Because, you know, I didn't want to bring more that stress for them. So yeah, I definitely remember a lot of tension around I do remember at one point in time, the church was bringing us groceries. I don't know the circumstances around that. But definitely, we had to be in some sort of position for that to happen. So yeah, it was not an easy conversation in my house for sure.

Michael Lacy 2:44

So I can relate to that. I grew up in a very, very similar environment. Like it's crazy to hear you say that. And I know for me personally, it kind of put me in this position to where I always felt like as a kid that once I started making money on my own, like, I was gonna, I was gonna get a good job, I was gonna make a lot of money and I was just gonna buy buy buy, like, whatever I could think of everything that I wanted. But I'm curious for you, like how did that childhood affect your money decisions as an adult?

Keli Calderon- The Smart Money Academy 3:15

Yes, so I same thing, like I got into college and you know, I got all the all the credit card offers, right? Get the free t shirt if you apply for a credit card. Oh my gosh, most expensive t shirts I've ever owned. We, my husband and I we met in college, we got all the credit cards, we went shopping for date nights, we just came out with bags of stuff. Every time we went on days, it was crazy. And we really dug ourselves a deep hole before we were even married. So it was an interesting way to start a marriage. And I knew in my gut something was wrong with what we were doing. But I didn't know exactly what we were supposed to be doing or how to do it differently.

Michael Lacy 3:51

I again, super relatable like in our story, my wife and I we dated throughout our early 20s. And then we were like 20 when we got together. And same thing. We spent like crazy on credit cards racked up a ton of debt. And for me it was this feeling of like, we got married. And on our honeymoon I just for the first time I really felt like we make too much money to be struggling like we make really good money for us to not be able to fully enjoy our honeymoon. And so I'm curious for you was there like a breaking point where you realized that something had to change in your own personal finances?

Keli Calderon- The Smart Money Academy 4:28

Definitely. So the first 10 years or so of our marriage, we really struggled. We had a car repossession, we had a bankruptcy, it was bad. It was and the stress was unbelievable. And we would rebound for a little while and then sink right back to reaching for credit cards. You know, living beyond our means that sort of thing. You know, I was kind of ready to to make a change. But I didn't know what what change to make and how to approach that with my husband because I didn't have a plan in place but he got to a breaking point where he lived

Did our student loans and after 10 years of paying on them, we had made no progress. In fact, I think we owed more than when we had started, because we've been making the minimum payments or deferring and all of those things that you do. And so that was where his breaking point was. And he started to research things that he came across the Dave Ramsey plan, and then came to me and said, You know, I think this is something that we didn't need to do, I was immediately on board, because I knew we needed to do something, I just didn't know what so it sounded great.

Michael Lacy 5:27

So from from that point, where you guys, you know, come together, you get on the same page with money. And you know, you both decide like, something's got to change. How long did your transformation take? And what I'm looking for here is like, you know, we had $61,000 of debt we paid off in 16 months. And from there, we've just kind of continued to, you know, make good money decisions. So what was that transformation like for you guys?

Keli Calderon- The Smart Money Academy 5:50

So we were very dedicated, we sacrifice every time every penny that we could we paid off $80,000 a day, in two years, it was almost two years to the week. Most of that time, we were living on my teacher salary. He was just getting into his career. Towards the end, we were starting, you know, his career was trying to catch up with mine as far as income. But yeah, we had two boys in daycare, we had both of our boys were special diets. So that wasn't cheap, either. And so we, it was crazy. Most of that was student loans. There was a car payment, we sold the car and paid that off. And then there was a little bit of credit cards there too. So but yeah, it was $80,000 in two years.

Michael Lacy 6:30

That's awesome. That's amazing, amazing progress. So now I have to kind of transition into like, why we're here. So what happened that inspired you to want to teach kids about money, because it's one thing to go through your own journey. I mean, you know, at that point, you're like, hey, I've come out, and, you know, my family's gonna be good. So what happened that inspired you to reach back and help other people.

Keli Calderon- The Smart Money Academy 6:53

So being out of debt gave me the freedom to pivot out of my career, I had been a classroom teacher, a public school teacher for 20 years, and I'd kind of been ready for a change. So I got out and went through financial coach training and tried financial coaching for a while, and it wasn't really my thing. Just I would talk to these families, but really, my passion when I'm talking to the adults is that talking to them about what they should be doing with their kids to make sure that their kids don't end up in this situation. And so I just kind of decided to marry my two passions of teaching, you know, and all of that experience. And then this passion of finance and, and instead of cleaning up a mess, give kids a vision and an excitement for a different future. So approach it from a whole different standpoint, that's kind of where I, where the Smart Money Academy came from.

Michael Lacy 7:39

When I talked to a lot of adults, you know, whether they're 20, whether 4060, whatever, and we're talking about money. In our even the question on the podcast, we'll talk about like, you know, what did you learn at home? Most people say that they never really had money conversations, kind of like you and I story like, they're, you know, they never really talked about money, or there was some sort of struggle or something like that. So, why is it important, especially for parents to have those conversations early and teach our kids about money?

Keli Calderon- The Smart Money Academy 8:09

Gosh, there's so many reasons why, first of all, they need to hear that repetitively. That kind of goes back to my teaching experience, you know, we don't just teach kids something once and walk away, they have to hear it several times. And so starting when they're young, and giving, you know, building on on those concepts as they grow older is so important. But it also normalizes the conversation around money, when they are nervous to talk to anybody, and then they get into a pickle, they don't know who to talk to, or who to turn to. And oftentimes, they'll turn to a credit card to fix their situation, what ends up making it worse. And so if they feel like they can talk to somebody, even if it's not their parents, not necessarily that that person is going to bail them out, but give them a different perspective, give them some different ideas of how to get out of this situation that they're in, they'll be so much better off. And so just normalizing that, and normalizing that we all struggle, we all slip up, we all need to talk about it, and and figure out the best way to get to that situation without hurting ourselves more.

Michael Lacy 9:07

Again, as I talked to most people, like we all agree, I would say most adults agree that we need to be teaching our kids about money in some shape or form. But it doesn't, it doesn't usually happen and a lot of people struggle to do that. Why is it that you think parents struggle to talk to their kids about money? And what are some practical things they can do to make those conversations easier?

Keli Calderon- The Smart Money Academy 9:30

I think there's a lot of shame around money, shame and maybe our money stories growing up shame that we don't have enough shame that we have more than our neighbors shame in how we maybe how we got the money you know, there's a lot of shame that we need to get rid of and in shame in our mistakes. My husband and I, you know, like I said I've shared before made a lot of mistakes with our money and so we had the opportunity to hide that from our kids, or to share it with them and my oldest, my 17 year old definitely remembers those types of things. getting out of debt. And he knows our money story very well. My youngest two but doesn't remember as much. But he is so good with money. And so I want to encourage parents that, you know, our kids can learn from our mistakes, not we don't need to hide them, we need to share them. And then hopefully, that will guide them away from making the same mistake. So when I was a teacher, we would do this thing called read aloud, I'm sorry, think aloud. So we'd read a book. And then we'd stop after each page and model what we were thinking for the kids. Hmm, I'm wondering why that character does that. Hmm, I wonder what he's going to do next, right. But we can do that as parents when we're shopping. So I see a shirt and I decide not to buy it, well, my child doesn't know why I didn't buy it. So I need to stop and model my thinking, Hmm, this doesn't really fit into our budget right now. Hmm, I don't really need another shirt, I have a whole bunch of my closet, you know, this is not a good value. So putting some thoughts and some words out there that. So that to give them an idea of what's going on in our heads when we make purchases, that's a great way to start with little kids.

Michael Lacy 11:03

I love that. And and I want to go into kind of your family dynamic. So and all you kind of share from your experience. But how impactful is that when parents shared their own personal journey with their kids, as they're getting better and learning about good money behaviors, and all those things, as they you know, as the kid gets older?

Keli Calderon- The Smart Money Academy 11:22

Oh, it's so impactful. for so many reasons. One, it really brought our family together. While we were we had a common goal that we were working for, you know, and we could take our kid, Christmas isn't going to quite be as big this year as it normally is. And he was like, that's fine, I understand that we're working as you know, towards a goal, and we're working together as a family. And so it really brought us together to get through this hurdle together. But then, as they get older, it's so important that they understand our beginning stories, this is something I talk to parents a lot is that we have spent years building up this lifestyle that they are experiencing, right, they have no idea the time and the effort that has gone into what they're living right now. And so they get out in the world, and they can't have afford the same lifestyle, and they feel like they're failing. And so and a lot of times, they'll reach for a credit card to fix that. And so what we need to be doing is sharing our beginning stories with them. Like when I was in college, we had lawn furniture in the living room, or I drove you know, I drove a car that you know, the door handles didn't work and just share all those fun stories with them and let them know that where they're at in life is totally normal. It's okay. And with some hard work, and some time, they will get back to the lifestyle that they are used to.

Michael Lacy 12:35

Oh my gosh, I'm so glad you shared that. Because that was also a part of my story. Like I said, so. And I grew up in poverty. But by the time I got to high school, you know, my parents, my parents weren't together. So both sets of parents, you know, maybe middle class incomes, we live comfortably we traveled, we did good things. But then when I got to my early 20s, and I was on my own, it was like, wait a minute, I've gone backwards, like I'm eating ramen again. And like, I can't afford to go out with my friends. Like, this isn't right. And so you're right, like that does lead to, you know, a lot of poor financial choices. In my case, it was credit cards and car loans and all those other things. So I'm really glad that you you brought that up. But I do want to ask, like, Is there a point where, or an ideal point where these money conversations should begin,

Keli Calderon- The Smart Money Academy 13:20

I would start as soon as their kids are asking you to buy stuff for them. You can start having the conversation about I work and I earn money. And now we take the money to the store and we exchange it for this thing that we want. And especially with really young ones, they need to be seeing and handling hard cash, right like real cash. Because, you know, it's a little like asking kids to understand the watercycle. But they've never seen it right. All they do is see us swipe this card and they have no idea what went into what what just happened, all the transactions that happen prior to that. And so it's really important for little kids to be seeing real money handling real money, even though I know we're a little nervous about germs and viruses right now, but just wash hands real good. But we can't expect our kids to understand something so abstract if they've never dealt with the concrete. So that I would start when they're very young, and then you know, all the way up to teenagers with my son. We are sharing, you know, our bills with him so that he understands how much we pay for electricity in our house and things like that. We're sharing our income with him so that he understands like this job pays this much. This job pays this much. He needs that information to make good choices for himself, so that he's prepared when the time comes to take care of themselves. So but as many conversations start at two or three and maybe never end, I'm not quite there yet.

Michael Lacy 14:45

I want to get your thoughts and views on like an a chore or an allowance type program for younger kids like where do you stand on I know some people are like, Oh no, we don't do allowance. We do a chore based system or like you know you got all these different methods. Where do you stand on that?

Keli Calderon- The Smart Money Academy 15:02

So we do chores. But I think the first step for families is to really decide what is the purpose of an allowance or chore money, whatever it is that we're putting out there. And so, for us, the purpose was to teach our kids that if you work hard, you get money, that's enough to make that connection. And so we pay based on chores, those chores are actually optional. No work, no money, because that's real life, right. And so you want to do fun things. Now, we pay pretty well for each chore, but they have to pay for their own stuff after that. So if they want to buy something, or go somewhere, whatever, they have to use their own money, because we paid them pretty well. They also put aside quite a bit of that money for future big purchases, cars, college, things like that. But they always have the option to not work and be broke. Because that's, I mean, in life, we have the option to be broke, right? And so we didn't want to take that option away from them. So we do, that's how we do it. And I do understand, the flip side of that, there are some chores that our kids are required to do is just a member of the family that you have to contribute to this house. But I just encourage parents that whatever system you choose, be really intentional, sit down and figure out what is the purpose of this money, what do we want them to get out of it. The other thing we wanted our kids to get out of it was to learn how to manage their own money. And you can't learn to manage money if you don't have any. And so that was our other purpose was to make sure that they had money to make mistakes with and make decisions with and I kind of look at it as we have to make a certain number of mistakes in life before we're good at it right? Well, I'd much rather my kids make their mistakes with money while they're here in my house and under, you know, under my protection than when they're on their own. And so that was kind of our purpose, but I just really encourage families to figure out their purpose first, and then figure out the system.

Michael Lacy 16:47

You know, I love that you said that part about making the mistakes under your roof. I preached that all the time, like to my wife to my cousin's, I'm like, Look, I want to teach her and I want her to stumble along the way and learn these lessons while she's here, so that I can impart wisdom on her, you know, while she's under my care versus being out in the world, and, you know, doing God knows what, and I don't know what's going on. But I do want to ask you, because something that you've touched on a couple of times is, you know, saving money, and growing money and those sorts of things. So what are some ways that us as parents, you know, we can get our kids excited about the fact of saving money? Because it's not a glamorous task? Like putting money aside? Like, even for us adults, sometimes, you know, we struggle with it. So how can we get our kids excited? You know, when we're getting catalogs in the mail around Christmas time, and like all this other stuff? What can we do to keep them excited?

Keli Calderon- The Smart Money Academy 17:38

Yeah, definitely is not an exciting topic. So they have to have something they're saving for at the very beginning, they need to be saving up for a toy or something they want, they have to understand, they have to have a goal. And then make it very visual, like a chart you're coloring on or something like that, to help them see their progress. Side note, when you're saving with really little kids, it needs to be a clear container. And you need to think about what it looks like to the child. So four quarters laying on the bottom of a jar doesn't look like anything to them. But $1 bill crumpled up is exciting, right? And so we need to make it visually exciting for them. When they're little they you know, at Christmas time, they don't care, the value of the gifts where they care how big is the box and how many boxes are there, right? So we can we need to play that game and keep them motivated that way. As they get older. Kind of the same idea. Keep keep goals in mind. One way that we encouraged my oldest to save her car is a matching program. We told him we would match every dollar he saved up to a certain amount, a certain amount. Now, he's a very independent, stubborn boy. And he has never cashed in his match. He actually bought a car, fixed it up, flipped it, then added some more money, bought another car, fix it up, and he's getting ready to flip that one. So he told us he's trying to he doesn't want to cash in his his match with us, which is shocking to me. But you know, it's amazing how he is with money and but it definitely motivated him when he was younger.

Michael Lacy 19:09

So one thing I want to do now I want to walk through just a couple of different age groups. And what I want to do is just kind of get some ideas from you about just some concrete things that parents should be teaching. You know, at certain age groups. Like for me, I have a two year old right now. And our big thing with her is teaching her that money comes from adding value. So when she picks up sticks in the yard, she gets $1 or, you know, she helps her grandparents, they've kind of adopted this mentality. They give her $1 too. And so it's just teaching her that money comes from adding value. It doesn't just kind of appear out of thin air. So I want to talk about let's say this, you know, undertand age group, what are some things that parents should be looking to teach while their kids are in that age range?

Keli Calderon- The Smart Money Academy 19:56

I would definitely talk about savings at that age is starting to say for toys Something like that start flexing that muscle building that muscle. That is something that's going to serve them their entire life. But that's something that's harder to add later into life, if they you know, so I would definitely start with that and get them used to that delayed gratification, that persistence, and patience to get the item that they want. Absolutely.

Michael Lacy 20:21

So okay, now I want to go into, let's say that 10 to 15 age range, where, you know, they maybe don't have like a job yet. But they're still like you said, they're, they, they're old enough to know, kind of what's what they've got a chore system working there, you know, they've got their own money, what are some concrete things that parents should be teaching around that, you know, preteen teenager mark,

Keli Calderon- The Smart Money Academy 20:43

I would start talking to them about the idea of like spend, save, give dividing your money into certain categories, setting it aside and investing too. So setting money aside into those categories and giving, you know, giving every dollar a job so that it's not just a lump sum that we do whatever with, we have to give it a job and teach our money what to do for us.

Michael Lacy 21:05

Got it, love it. And you know, you've kind of touched on kind of what you do with your with your son. But just again, with that, you know, age range from maybe 1516, on through college, like what are some money conversations that parents should be having around that mark?

Keli Calderon- The Smart Money Academy 21:20

Definitely sharing bills, sharing income information, if your child is ready, I know that some teens you know it, they all mature to a different level. And so if you don't feel like your child is ready to hear that or ready to not share that information, then go ahead and hold off. But they need to have an idea of what life is going to cost them. So I would definitely be focusing on that. Share your beginning stories around that time. That's really, really important.

Michael Lacy 21:47

So great answer, by the way. And and I want to ask, like, what about the parents who are listening to this, who are, you know, they're trying to get their finances together right now. And they have kids that fall in that older age range, who are maybe used to a certain lifestyle that's kind of being cut back on and things like that, or they've never had those conversations before? How can those parents approach a 15 1617 year old, and start having these conversations that they've never really had before?

Keli Calderon- The Smart Money Academy 22:18

I would start by asking the team some questions, you know, what do you think your life is going to be like, when you get out? You know, when you move out of the house? or What are you planning on studying? Or what do you think the income is around that job? And that kind of opens the door to have those conversations about, you know, well, you know, maybe things cost a little differently than you thought you think they do. Or, let's take a look at our bills. And let me show you some things. And again, we're going to have to swallow a little bit of difficulty to get through those conversations, right. But that's what's best for our kids. And as parents, we do what's best for our kids. And even if that hurts a little bit of our pride or, or, you know, it hurts to tell our stories sometimes. But I think kids can glean a lot. We'd rather than hear our mistakes and go through the same mistakes for sure.

Michael Lacy 23:04

Right. And so most of the people that are listening to this show, like Like I said, they're they're starting their journey, or they're in the middle of their journey, they're still trying to figure this out. And some of them may be uncomfortable, because there's so many things that they don't know, like, they haven't mastered budgeting, or, you know, they're in the middle of a debt free journey, and they don't know if they're gonna finish. And so there are all these unknowns and shame, like you said earlier. And so what advice would you give to that parent who's who's trying to figure it out? Who wants to have these conversations, but maybe they don't feel confident enough in their own abilities to start teaching their kids.

Keli Calderon- The Smart Money Academy 23:38

One, I would own it and just say, you know, what I need to be budgeting I don't really know how to do it. I'm trying to learn. And when I learned I want to share that with you, because I think it's really important or, and then maybe even listen to some podcasts together. You know, hey, I found this really cool podcast, let's listen to it. And then I'll talk about how how it applies to me. And let's talk about how it applies to you. And so then it's not really necessarily about your story is just, you know, you're late, you're listening to this podcast, and you're learning together so that they kind of takes the onus off of you, or they at least the attention off of you and puts it on the podcast, but they're still getting the information they need.

Michael Lacy 24:15

Awesome. Love that answer. My Kelly, this has been a great conversation. I've learned a lot as a parent of a two year old on how to talk to my daughter about money, things that we'll implement, and hope the listeners have as well. But I do want to give you this opportunity to share what you've got going on and where people can connect with you if they want to follow along if they want to learn more about your mission.

Keli Calderon- The Smart Money Academy 24:37

Yes, absolutely. My website is forwards the Smart Money academy.com the Smart Money academy.com. I'm also on Facebook and Instagram under the same words and my programs. During the summer I have kids programs live on zoom or hopefully face to face if possible. And so that's like nine to 13 ish and we played game and we talk about concepts like compound interest, assets and liabilities, all kinds of things. And then for my, for the teens, so 15, all the way through early 20s. Really, I have an online course it's all video based, they can finish it on, you know, at their convenience. And the idea for that is a five year plan to get them started off. Well, what are the basics I need to survive during this time, my income is so low. And you know, this is all new to me. And then a 50 year plan to get them thinking about passive income, get them set up well for retirement. So that's kind of the two main thing that I've got going right now some other stuff in the works for it. But we'll stick to those two for now.

Michael Lacy 25:40

Sounds great. And for all of you listeners out there, keep in mind, I'm going to link to everywhere that you can connect with Kelly in the show notes, which you can find at winning to wealth.com slash Episode 57. That is winning to wealth.com slash Episode 57. That's going to have the show notes the transcript, it's going to let you share this episode with someone else. And again, it's gonna have everywhere that you can connect with Kelly, outside of this episode. All right, now it's time for this week's win of the week, Jacqueline Cameron shared that she was able to renew her discount on her internet. So instead of $80 a month, she's back to paying only $50 a month. Now, if you are in the habit of always just accepting a price increase for the services that you pay for, it's time for you to stop. I want you to make it a point, at least once per year to sit down and call every single service provider you pay from the insurance companies to the internet providers. And I want you to work to negotiate a better price. Now two things. One, you need to set this as an annual reminder on your calendar on your phone. And number two, if you have this conversation, and your current provider won't budge on price shop elsewhere for a better price. Now usually what happens is when you come back to your current provider and say, Hey, I found a better rate want to cancel, they'll magically find a way to reduce what you're paying. And at that point, you can decide if it's worth it to stick with that current service provider. Or if you want to make the switch. But either way, whatever you decide, you're paying less money, and you can now use that cash to move towards your money goes. I mean, in Jacqueline's case, she went down from 80 bucks to 50 bucks, it's $360 every single year, she could use that to pay off debt, she can use that to invest, she can use it to buy a flight go somewhere she's really wanted to go, you know, whatever her money goes on, she now has $360 to move towards those goals. So nice job with that wind, Jacqueline, and thank you for sharing it with us. And if you're not part of the Facebook group, make sure you join this week. We're almost at 15,000 people strong in this entire group. I'm telling you they are on fire to reach their money goals. You can find the group at winning to wealth.com slash teammates that's winning to wealth.com slash teammates. But hey, that's all the time I have for this week. So until we talk again, keep racking up those wins one at a time. Take care.

Intro/Outro 28:24

You've wrapped up another episode of the winning to wealth podcast. To learn more about how you can start making winning money decisions head over to winning to wealth.com

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