Archive for Children


This is a great online program to help young adults master the basics of finance.

CashCourse ( is a free online resource that helps young people to track spending, create budgets and, most importantly, understand how their current decisions will affect their future financial well-being.

In addition to a Budget Wizard, calculators, worksheets and the Financial Experts Wall, where students can get answers to their real-world financial questions, CashCourse has articles on everything from repaying student loans and living with roommates to choosing a career and making sense of workplace benefits.

About CashCourse

Launched in 2007 by the National Endowment for Financial Education® (NEFE®), CashCourse is non profit and non commercial – the program never charges for resources. The sole purpose of CashCourse is to give young adults the information they need to make informed, thoughtful and beneficial financial decisions aligned with their values.

CashCourse is used in more than 1,000 schools – including small private colleges, large public universities, and both two-year and four-year programs – in all 50 states. About 40 percent of CashCourse schools are community colleges.

Many schools use CashCourse in freshman orientation sessions to help new students think about how they will manage their money during their college years.

Smart College Planning

College tuition is not the only rising expense for your child’s education. Preparation and admission costs have gone through the roof. Test prep for college entrance exams can consume hundreds to thousands of dollars. College counselors and pre-college summer programs that allow your child to load up on college credits are among other costs. Add to these things are the application costs where many students apply to a dozen or more schools. Average application costs of $41 are typical but many are as high as $75.

Now the real costs: Tuition, fees, room and board are $65,000/year at the most expensive, $19,000/year at in-state public schools (32,000/year for out of state public) and $42,000 for private schools. This does not include the ever black hole of “miscellaneous expenses” (party time, football games, clothes, and auto expense, parking, cell phones). If the kids stay at home with you the real costs to you for room and board (plus a/c and heating) is about the same at college. Look at U.S. News “best value” schools to determine not only the costs but available financial aid packages.

Here is a great website to start: this site helps a student match to the best college “return on investment”. A student should start the college search process in their sophomore or junior year. The majority of assistance on this site will help match students with over 3.6 million scholarships and 90,000 internships. Here is another site that is for free. provides more by way of scholarship information. One more site: College Affordability, LLC. which is a good college funding information website. This is a HUGE investment, so make sure your kids have some “SKIN” in the game. Make them work part time, have them do all the research for scholarships and parents set a limit on how much you will contribute.

Best of luck!!!

College Aid

By springtime most college bound students have made their school selection and are finalizing their financial aid package.

You may be sending one child off to school this fall but what about the younger ones still in the house?

Is it never too early to start planning for the next college bound students (true most Americans procrastinate until the last minute).

Here is some information that may be helpful.

Filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (Fafsa)—preferably, as soon as possible after January 1—is necessary to be considered for financial aid from federal and state government and from most colleges and universities. This includes grants, loans and, even, sometimes, merit-based aid.

Although the federal deadline for filing the Fafsa for the 2015-16 academic year isn’t until June 30, 2016, many states and schools have deadlines in early 2015 and some award aid on a first-come, first-served basis, says noted financial aid expert Mark Kantrowitz, co-author of the book Filing the Fafsa and senior vice president and publisher of, a website focused on planning and paying for college.

Even families who think they are too wealthy to qualify for free or subsidized aid or who were previously turned down should file the Fafsa. According to the 2011-12 National Postsecondary Student Aid Study (Npsas), 11.3% of students whose parents earned $100,000 or more received need-based grants from their colleges and 18.9% received non-need and merit-based grants.

To be sure, the Fafsa, which requires over 100 data elements and takes an hour to complete, is intimidating to families, he says. Kantrowitz states: “The sad thing is, I wrote a 250-page book to help people complete a six-page form.” “That shows you how complicated it is.” The book is downloadable for free in PDF format at It is also available for purchase in paperback and Kindle formats at

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Children’s Financial Knowledge

Thirty years ago I had the pleasure of working with the College for Financial Planning (now known as NEFE) and other advisors developing the “High School Financial Planning Course” (We, as advisors, had given up trying to get adults to save and invest. So, in essence we wanted to start the younger generation off on the correct track). What a delight being able to influence the young teens and make a difference in their lives. I still get thank you notes and cards.

One of the exercises we taught the students was to analyze cost- benefit relationships of their money spending decisions.

In a recent class at a Colorado High School they did a similar exercise. Follow this:

The students had to calculate how much they would spend if they smoked a pack of cigarettes a day (at $5 per pack) from age 15 to 65. It amounts to about $100,000. Then the students had to graph out how much they could earn by investing that same $5 per day in the stock market. The investment result is between $1.7 and $1.8 million.

The kids all said…”Well, I am not going to smoke”… The reply by the instructor was… “Ok, what about the money you spend on chips, soda and other junk?”

The lesson also inevitably had an effect on the parents. At a later parent-teacher conference, a mother told the instructor that “her son got really mad at her for smoking.” “Her son told her they could have been millionaires.” The point is that kids go home and talk. This parent got the message.

I often hear parents say their kids are bad with money and should learn the basics. Well, go ahead parents start teaching them. Funny, when I was a kid of 9 and the boys in the neighborhood all ran up to the field to smoke cigarettes I sat there and said no. The cost of a pack of cigarettes then was 27 cents (all relative to the time). I figured out real quick that would amount to about $100 per year which was then about half of what an adult earned in a month’s salary.

What did this Colorado High School Financial Planning class learn:

    Cost of spending $5/day on cigarettes for 50 years= $100,250

    Investing $5/day in stock market after:

      10 years $29,027
      20 years $100,183
      30 years $274,612
      40 years $702,198
      50 years $1,750,365

Need direction on getting your financial life on the right track? Contact us at


Financial Responsibility

Financial literacy is lacking in this country. I am convinced that the 2007 – 2008 financial crises could have been avoided – or less severe – if people understood the type of collateral that was backing those mortgage securities.

Over the past 30 years, I have volunteered teaching the “High School Financial Planning” course in a few local High Schools. The course was developed by the original College for Financial Planning (we as advisors gave up trying to teach adults, so, we designed a program to start with the youngsters…in a while, they will be adults). It is an 8 week program in which the Certified Financial Planner instructor would come in to the classroom for an hour. The sponsoring teacher would give homework and tests to the students during the week (I remember many other teachers, on break, sitting in the back of the room taking notes as I spoke). To this day, I get letters of appreciation from past students that followed the ideas and kept their college loans to a minimum and have built their wealth as they entered the work force.

Check out online “”. It has developed financial literacy programs for urban youth. The program is structured so that college volunteers teach local youth. The website is worth a look.

The late Muriel Siebert started the Jump$tart Coalition ( It has a tremendous library of financial literacy resources, which are free to teachers and caregivers. If you have a high school or college age child it would be great for them, and you, to go through the “Reality Check” under the Resources tab. It asks, how much you would have to make per hour to support the lifestyle desired without going into debt. A real eye opener.

If you want your child to really learn about money, then get them started early at 8, 9, 10 years of age by doing odd jobs in the neighborhood…mowing lawns, helping neighbors clean garages, raking leaves…then later…they should have a part time job starting at 16. You as parents need to coach them on how to set aside the money into at least 4 “buckets”…(1) saving for long term goals (college or auto), (2) saving for purchases this year, (3) contributions to church or charity, and (4) living expenses (phone, clothes), instead of spending it all. If your kids love to spend all they get from you, plus borrow to spend even more…hmmm – you may have a future politician on your hands!