Children and Finances

Posted on Monday 27 June 2011

This is an interview with Pamela Yellen.  As a consultant to financial advisors, Pamela investigated more than 450 savings and retirement planning strategies seeking an alternative to the risk and volatility of stocks and other investments.  She has been featured on ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, FOX, NPR and in The Huffington Post, Fortune Small Business and hundreds of other publications. Learn more at and, her new financial education site. For more tips from Pamela on children and finances, check out 7 Steps to Set Your Teens on a Lifelong Path to Financial Success.

1.  What are your thoughts on allowances?  Good idea?  Bad?

Allowances are a great idea, as long as they are tied into chores.  The earlier children learn basic financial principles, such as the exchange of goods and services for money, the better.

Too many people in our country have come to depend on others for their financial security, leaving them feeling as though they have little or no control over their future.

The writing is on the wall:  We all need to take responsibility for our financial destiny and stop relying on the government, an employer, or failing social programs.

And nothing builds a child’s self-esteem faster than self-reliance.

2.   If you think they’re okay, what’s a reasonable age to start and how much should be given?

Children as young as age 4 can benefit.  An allowance can help teach them how to recognize coins, though they’re also more likely to lose them.

The amount the child receives for chores should be based on their age as well as what you expect them to use the money for.  Will they be expected to purchase birthday gifts for friends, school lunches, or a trip to the mall, for example?  If so, the allowance needs to be able to cover that.

3.  What do you recommend children do with their earnings?

I recommend the “40/30/20/10 Saving Rule.”  40% of their earnings can be used for spending, 30% should be set aside for short-term savings, 20% for long-term savings and 10% for donating.

If children sort their money into these categories every week, they will develop responsible lifelong money-management skills at an early age.

4.  How do you encourage children who are bombarded with advertisements for the latest gadgets and who are also pressured to “keep up with the Joneses” at school to save?

Trying to “keep up with the Joneses” almost brought our country to its knees.  The key is in helping your children understand the difference between a “need” and a “want.”  Hold regular “family night” discussions with the whole family during which you go over the family budget and review where the money is going.

Helpful Tip:  Have your children write out the checks to pay family expenses.

Teaching by example is absolutely critical.  If you tell your children one thing, but do another, they will catch on very quickly.  Explain how there are things you’d like to buy that you decided to forego and why.

And always look for things you can do as a family that cost little or no money, to create experiences and lasting memories.

5.  What approach do you recommend parents take when talking with children about finances?

Many couples don’t have regular, honest discussions about money with each other, let alone talk to their children about it.

The time to start is today.  Be honest about where you are financially and where you wan to be.  Walk the talk.  Read “The Richest Man in Babylon,” by George Clason, out loud as a family.

And don’t be afraid to openly discuss the mistakes you’ve made and what you’ve learned from them.

savvy @ 8:00 AM
Filed under: General Finances
T-Mobile Celebrates Dads With Free Data For A Year

Posted on Thursday 16 June 2011

On June 18, customers who sign up for a qualifying unlimited plan or mobile broadband plan will get $120 in savings
In honor of Father’s Day, T-Mobile USA, Inc. is celebrating, once again, with a compelling offer that will reward customers all year long. On Saturday, June 18, for one day only, customers who sign up for a new qualifying talk, text and data plan will get 12 months of free data. That means customers will be worry free when surfing the mobile Web, staying in touch with friends via social networking, or checking their email. And, with a growing portfolio of affordable 4G smartphones to choose from, families can find the perfect gift for dad — or themselves — this Father’s Day while saving money and staying connected on America’s Largest 4G Network.

The Father’s Day free data offer is available to new customers and existing customers with 18 or more months of contract tenure who purchase a qualifying unlimited talk, text and data plan, including 200 MB of high-speed data, on a two-year contract. These customers will enjoy $10 in monthly bill credits for a year — equal to the price of the 200 MB data plan — for a total savings of $120.

Alternatively, customers can choose from T-Mobile’s other unlimited talk, text and data plans, including the 2 GB, 5 GB or 10 GB high-speed data plans — all featuring no overages fees — and receive the $10 credit on their monthly bill for 12 months.

In addition, customers who activate a qualifying mobile broadband plan on a two-year contract can also receive a $10 credit on their monthly bill for 12 months.

The Father’s Day promotion is available nationwide on June 18 at participating T-Mobile retail stores, national retail operators and online. More information about the offer is available at T-Mobile’s deals site and information about T-Mobile’s new unlimited plans is available at
savvy @ 7:10 AM
Filed under: General Finances