WHEN YOU’RE STUCK in traffic, have you ever idly wished for another lane to ease the congestion?
Not long ago, I listened to a podcast about the eternal problem of highway congestion in Texas, especially in the Dallas-Houston-San Antonio triangle. The expert said that our fundamental problem is that planners think of traffic as a liquid, so their answer to flow problems is always to “build a bigger pipeline”—meaning more highways.
Traffic, however, behaves less like a liquid and more like a gas.
THIS PAST FATHER’S Day, I was listening to a financial talk show. The host asked listeners to phone in and describe how their father influenced their thinking about money.
Callers related that their fathers told them to save early, to not waste money, to avoid debt and a few other basic ideas like “don’t worry about keeping up with the Joneses.”
I told my wife I couldn’t recall my father ever talking to me about money.
FROM AN EARLY AGE, my son showed an interest in business and investing. As a toddler, he’d watch CNBC with me. When my wife and I discussed legal and accounting issues, he’d have his “listening ears” on. (Yes, our dinner table conversations are pretty exciting.)
By the time he was eight years old, he was giving me investing input. He thought Microsoft overpaid when it bought Minecraft maker Mojang for $2.5 billion in 2018.
WHEN I WAS GROWING up, one family in the neighborhood lived differently from all the others. In their garage was a Rolls-Royce. When each of the sons turned 16, a new BMW showed up in the driveway. Because it was so out of the ordinary, it caught my attention. It caught everyone’s attention.
Looking back, this is what I find interesting: This kind of privileged upbringing looked like a guaranteed recipe for demotivating their children.
I RECENTLY HIT the “pay now” button on what I believe will be the last of 20 years of college tuition bills. That’s right, we have five kids. All went to college. None took out student loans.
Was it worth it—not just paying the tuition bills, but the decision to have children in the first place? It’s a pressing question. A birth dearth is hitting the U.S. and other countries around the world, as many adults opt to go childless.
AS A PARENT, it’s my responsibility to teach my children good financial habits. Core among these are deferring gratification, saving diligently, giving generously and making sensible spending choices. I feel it’s also important to make my children aware of financial pitfalls. Succeeding financially—and in life generally—seems to be as much about avoiding self-destructive habits as it is about cultivating good ones.
My wife and I have been homeschooling our children for the last couple of years.
DURING THE BULL RUN of the 1990s, when the S&P 500 soared 417%, I had a brilliant idea: Why not start an investment club? I invited my father and sister to participate. My mother declined. It turned out she was the smart one in the family. We met periodically, usually on a Sunday, to decide which companies to invest in.
I was serious about this endeavor and determined to make it successful. I even gave our new investment club a name: DSD.
I AM THE FIRST to admit that I’m no star when it comes to math. I was so enthralled with calculus in college that I took it twice. To make matters worse, math keeps changing. Just ask a 10-year-old to show you how to multiply.
I am not alone. At the high school from which I graduated in 1961, the current math proficiency rate is 2% The national average is 46%. The lowest ranked state is at 22%.
WHEN I WAS A KID, I never liked the game Monopoly. I found it slow and uninteresting. But now, as a parent, I see its value. I’ve tried a lot of things to teach my children about money, but nothing comes close to Monopoly in its ability to convey important personal finance lessons.
Sure, it helps kids practice basics like addition and subtraction—but there’s a lot more to it. If you’ll be spending time with children over the holidays,
THIS YEAR’S PANDEMIC has unleashed financial turmoil for many American families, so data from last year might seem irrelevant. Still, there’s one set of 2019 data that deserves our attention—the Federal Reserve’s latest Survey of Consumer Finances, which was released last month.
Conducted every three years, the survey is perhaps the most in-depth look we get at the state of America’s personal finances. For the 2019 survey, 5,783 families (who may be individuals living alone) were interviewed at length about their income,
ON FEB. 12, 2002, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld took the stage at a press briefing to address escalating tensions between the U.S. and Iraq. A reporter asked him a question regarding evidence of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.
Rumsfeld famously replied, “There are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say, we know there are some things we do not know.
WE’RE IN THE MIDST of a bull market—in talking. Stuck at home with our families, we’re chatting more with each other, while also frequently touching base with friends and family whom we can’t see in person.
How about devoting some of these conversations to money?
I’m not going to claim that, if we had more frank discussions about money, it would solve all of our financial problems. I’ve seen enough damning data and heard enough horror stories to know that many folks will make huge blunders,
WHEN MY FATHER died in 2012, my mother gave me his wedding ring as a keepsake—but I lost it. I turned my house upside down trying to find it. When my mother was alive, I prayed she wouldn’t ask to see the ring, because I didn’t know what I’d tell her.
I felt terrible that I had lost something that meant so much to my father, and I was upset with myself for not taking better care of it.
WE ALL KNOW financial literacy is important. But it’s especially important if you’re a woman.
According to the Gates Foundation, “No matter where you are born, your life will be harder if you are born a girl.” Today is Equal Pay Day—the day when U.S. women finally earn enough to “catch up” with men’s earnings from the previous year. Women in the U.S. earn 82% of what men do for equivalent work and,
MANY PARENTS assume that what counts are the big events, such as graduations or elaborately planned vacations. But I’ve always found that the best moments in life weren’t necessarily the ones circled on the calendar.
The stock market is a lot like family life. Forget trying to figure out the ideal moment to get in or out of the market. Instead, what really matters is the time spent sitting around in stocks.
Jerry Seinfeld affectionately calls his mundane interactions with his kids “garbage time.” He prefers that label to what most parents aim for—the impossible-to-meet “quality time” standard.