Teaching kids about money isn’t easy, but it’s crucial if you want to boot them off your payroll after they graduate from school.
But while financial literacy is good, helping your kids build the mindset and momentum to achieve financial independence is even better.
It requires that they internalize (and value) aggressive saving, investing, and compounding…not just living within their means.
That’s why I was so excited to chat this week with Doug Nordman and Carol Pittner, father and daughter co-authors of a new book on how to teach next-generation financial independence.
- Why it’s important to let kids make their own financial choices (and mistakes) when the stakes are low
- Why letting your kids buy “One Special Thing” per shopping trip is an effective teaching strategy
- Why you might want to pay your kids for jobs, but not chores…and the difference between the two
- Why it might not be a good idea to pay your kids for getting good grades, and what you can do instead
- Why “profit sharing” is an especially powerful strategy to teach kids about savings and frugality
- How to create a “kid 401k” to teach your kid lasting lessons about compounding and long-term investing
- How to incentivize your kid to contribute to a Roth IRA early on
- How to handle the question of “how rich are we?”
What strategies do you use to teach your kids about saving, investing, and compounding? How are you helping them learn about financial independence, if at all? Let me know by leaving a comment.
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- Raising Your Money-Savvy Family For Next Generation Financial Independence
- The Military Guide
- Financial literacy for kids: how to teach your kids about money (HYW077)
- 9 Crucial Money Lessons Your Kids Must Learn to Succeed as Adults (HYW027)
- How to financially prepare for starting a family with Kevin Mahoney (HYW038)
- Hey, rich people. Wealth management includes telling your kids how rich you are.
- The best parenting guidance I’ve learned for raising successful children
- How to motivate your kid to win the national spelling bee (and excel in life)
- Schedule a private 1:1 consultation with me
- HYW private Facebook community
Read this episode as a post:
Andrew Chen 01:22
My guests today are Carol Pittner and Doug Nordman.
Carol and Doug are daughter and father, and the co-authors of the book “Raising Your Money-Savvy Family For Next Generation Financial Independence.”
Doug served 20 years of active duty in the US Navy submarine force, reaching financial independence in 1999 with his spouse, who also served active duty in a Navy career.
Doug early retired in 2002 at the age of 41, and then transitioned to surfing, slow travel, and writing. He is the author of the book “The Military Guide To Financial Independence And Retirement” and the founder of The-Military-Guide.com.
Carol also joined the Navy as part of the ROTC program, and served active duty before moving to the Reserves. She and her active-duty spouse are the proud parents of a 19 month old daughter of their own, and working toward their own financially independent future.
Hawaii is home for them because Doug and family lived in Hawaii/Honolulu for over 30 years, and Carol was born and raised on Oahu.
Carol and Doug, thanks so much for joining us today to share your story about raising financially savvy kids and coaching your kids toward cross-generational financial independence!
Doug Nordman 02:22
Thanks, Andrew. I really enjoyed your episode on helping kids learn about money.
Carol Pittner 02:26
We’re both glad to be here.
Andrew Chen 02:30
Very glad to have you here. I read your book, and it gave me a lot of material for today’s discussion. I wanted to start, Doug, with you.
What was your own introduction or first exposure that got you first interested in financial independence and early retirement? From the book that you co-authored with Carol, I get how you first exposed her to these concepts, but what was your own first exposure?
Doug Nordman 02:53
Ironically, again, it was Carol’s fault. But what happens is you get to a point in your life where your priorities change. And with us, it was starting a family.
I enjoyed the first 10 years of my Navy career, and everything was fine. It was a little more intense than we really preferred, not much work-life balance, but that was okay.
Until we started our family, and then I wanted to watch Carol grow up and spend more time with her. That’s about the point where we realized that this active duty routine was going to be problems with work and quality of life, so then I started casting around for alternatives.
Now, up until that point, I had always thought we were going to be the traditional military career followed by working until our mid-60s, because that’s all I knew, and that’s all anybody had ever talked about.
But a few months after she was born, as we were going through this epiphany, we came across the original publication of the book “Your Money or Your Life,” Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin. And boy, that really spun things around and made it clear what our priorities should be. Once we realized that we could save for financial independence, we just ran with that.
Andrew Chen 04:00
Fast forward, now you’ve written your book, co-authored your book with Carol, there’s a lot of how-to books out there that are geared toward parents on how to teach your kids about money, and we were discussing earlier, just before the interview started, that I even recently had another guest and author on the podcast on this topic.
I’m just curious, what unique insight or perspective do you think your book brings to this topic? Why should folks pay attention?
Doug Nordman 04:28
We got this question a lot from the publishers. When you start shopping around a manuscript, their attitude is “Oh, gosh, not another one on personal finance. Not another one on raising money-smart kids.”
The difference this time is that we’re looking at a two-generation perspective. We’re looking at what us parents did, whether it was brilliant or not quite so brilliant, but it’s got Carol’s reactions, both at the time that we did it to her, or with her, and as an adult now having to face the whole parenting situation of trying to do it again for a new generation.
And we had done a literature survey, just like any new subject that we’re researching and trying to put together an outline on. And that really stood out from the crowd.
Now, it’s a big world, it’s a huge internet, there’s always room for one more book about personal finance, but this one, this perspective from the generation that had it happen to them, as well as now they have to do it on their own, that was different, that was unique, and that was the part that really caught our interest and led to the book.
Carol Pittner 05:27
And the whole point of the setup was to make it feel as if you were sitting in the house, and you’re at the kitchen table, and you’re just listening along to one of the usual family conversations.
Doug Nordman 05:36
I’m sorry to say that’s what our typical family conversations sound like.
Carol Pittner 05:39
Exactly. And at no point did Mom and Dad sit me down and say, “Okay, grab a notebook, grab a pencil. Here’s all the things you need to know about money.”
That was no way to get it done. What happened was a thousand small conversations here and there, whether it was at home, at the grocery store, at the shopping mall, whatever the situation was.
So then, in the book, when you go back and forth, you’re hearing both sides of that conversation, and then you’re also hearing the forethoughts and the afterthoughts from the parents and the reaction from the kid.
Andrew Chen 06:05
Yeah, it was really nice. It almost feels like a dialogue in a way, so you can get both perspectives.
Doug Nordman 06:13
Good. Thank you. That was a hard one to pull off to make sure we kept up separate voices and telling the story from both perspectives.
Andrew Chen 06:22
As I read your book, one thing that jumped out clearly was to let your kids make their own choices and mistakes when the stakes are low and the environment is safe, and making them live with the consequences, so that they internalize the feeling of what it’s like to mess up with money…
Whether it’s squandering an allowance and then not having enough money to buy something big that they really want, or even overdrawing their first checking account, getting hit with high fees. Letting them fall down on their own, so that they hopefully develop some self-motivation to make better choices when they’re adults and the stakes are higher.
And I couldn’t help thinking, as I read the numerous examples in your book on this. What if your kid doesn’t instinctively view it as a mistake to burn their allowance, their money? They don’t learn any lessons about things that they would do differently.
There are plenty of people who blow their cash on paychecks right after they get them. They live paycheck to paycheck, and they live with those consequences.
I’m just wondering, what kind of coaching or words of advice actually accompany the early bad money choices that Carol may have made to make it a learning or teaching moment, so that the right lesson stuck and bad choices didn’t simply repeat themselves again later?
Carol Pittner 07:31
You’re right. Every single person is different, and so is every kid. Any experienced parents will tell you, even within the same family, all the siblings behave differently.
Some kids are natural savers. Some kids are the ones that seem to be handing out money faster than they can bring it in. That’s the same for adults in the adult world as well.
The idea behind starting so early is that you’re starting with smaller amounts. We’re talking about the $5 ice cream truck, or the $15 pair of shoes, or even the $50 Hot Wheels set. We’re not talking about a $50,000 Mustang just yet.
But by starting small and by getting used to all those emotions and all of those validations that you feel when you buy something, you start to prioritize and understand what matters to you.
When you’re a kid, it’s all about coloring supplies. We had Pokémon. We had Beyblades and Yu-Gi-Oh.
Doug Nordman 08:23
We got all the consumer fads.
Carol Pittner 08:26
All the fads. And then you get to middle school, and it’s about shoes and hats and clothes and backpacks and skateboards.
And then you get to high school, and things get even bigger. Now you’re talking about cars and bicycles and, for the brave souls, motorcycles, and all of those other kinds of things.
But as you’re going through these different stuff, you’re prioritizing what really matters to you, and so you’ll spend your money accordingly.
But the whole purpose of financial independence is to not be a cheapskate. You’re not supposed to be depriving yourself. You’re supposed to be taking that money and allocating it towards what matters to you and what makes you happy.
Doug Nordman 09:00
Freedom. And I think that every kid, no matter how old they are, when they finally have that realization, will one day get tired of living that way. Even if you are 35 years old still living paycheck to paycheck, eventually you’ll hit rock bottom for the 100th time and say, “I’m tired of living my life this way,” and figure a way out of it.
Also, speaking as a parent, if you do have a child that’s an adult that’s persistent in that kind of behavior, that gives you an idea of how your estate planning is going to go and how you’re going to pass your assets on, or even if you want to pass any assets on to a child like that in the first place.
But the parental duty that you’ll do when they’re young, to help them learn with small amounts of money and then start ripping it up, that may someday come back when you’re older and unable to manage your own assets, and you want somebody that you trust, that knows you well, that will be able to manage those larger amounts of money for you.
So I keep telling Carol that we really are nice parents, and we really do like doing this and teaching her all of these skills, but also it’s about managing our money for us when we’re no longer able to.
Andrew Chen 10:10
When Carol was younger and invariably made some money mistakes as she was just learning about this stuff, what was the dad coaching side? For sure, there were internal feelings, but were there coaching or words of advice that you then paired to help her make sense of the emotions, so that she could really get the lessons that you were trying to impart?
Doug Nordman 10:32
Yeah. And it starts out in a very simple format here: “How did that make you feel?”
Carol Pittner 10:38
“I can’t believe I did that. Why did I do that? I should not have bought that thing.”
“It looked so cool in the shelf, but when I brought it home, it’s nothing. Why did I waste my money on that?”
Doug Nordman 10:47
So we’re validating the feeling, and we’re letting that go on as long as it needs to, because there’s a certain amount of venting and ranting that has to happen.
And then, at the end of that, the next thing you say is “Well, I can understand that because I’ve made a few of those mistakes myself when I was your age. What do you think you could do differently next time?”
Carol Pittner 11:03
“I’ll just leave it on the shelf. I know I can find it on Amazon nowadays, so if I really wanted it in a week, then I’ll be able to go and buy it then.”
Doug Nordman 11:09
And next week, I would say, “Remember last week when you said you were going to wait a week before you made this mistake all over again?”
Now, maybe that’s a little over-aggressive on parenting, but the whole point is it does not take many of these incidents for the kids to empower and internalize these things. You’re teaching them to manage their money. You’re not even ready for a conversation about saving or investing yet.
And once they get the handle, they understand the feeling of control they had with their own money, now they’re ready to learn the techniques to start saving more.
Andrew Chen 11:39
One nuance I’m curious to get your thoughts on, because I think about this with my own daughter too: How would you know that Carol had had a disappointment?
Like when I give my daughter a toy, when she’s uninterested in it, she just puts it down and she stops playing with it. She’s three also, so I don’t feel like she feels great remorse and comes to me and says, “Man, I wish I hadn’t had that toy.”
I know it’s not exactly a comparable example because my daughter is so small, but I’m just curious. What was the trigger for you, Doug, to know that “This might be a good discussion moment when I can help Carol make sense of the feelings, that maybe we could do it better next time”?
Doug Nordman 12:23
One indication would be whenever a toy broke or whenever it failed miserably in the first couple of hours. Another indication would be when she had spent all her money on something and then stopped playing with it a week later, and then started complaining about how it didn’t really work out.
Or she’d come home and she’d talk about a kid, a friend, or somebody she knew at school who had this awesome toy, and how she immediately needed $500 to be able to go get one for herself, and what kind of jobs could she do around the house to earn that money to spend on that kind of a toy.
There’s always a teachable moment around it. And for us, it also started off just as simple as buying groceries in the grocery store, knowing that she could buy her One Special Thing.
And when she chose that One Special Thing to buy from the grocery store and we got it home, then the experience she had with that, whether that was a toy, or a book, or junk food, however she enjoyed it, however she felt about it, we’d have a conversation about that.
And we’d be back at the grocery store next week, buying another One Special Thing, so that was a chance to revisit last week’s decisions and think about how you would change your behavior.
Andrew Chen 13:25
Super helpful. I want to circle back to the One Special Thing here in a bit. But first, just at a macro level, what are the couple of themes or lessons, if you had to pluck them out, that you would really want folks to take away from your book, for folks who haven’t read it yet?
Carol Pittner 13:46
Certainly, One Special Thing. We’ll come back to that one.
The other thing would definitely be about having the conversation. It’s very easy to get accusative and to point fingers and to say, “You’re doing this wrong.”
Doug Nordman 14:00
“I told you not to do that.”
Carol Pittner 14:02
But what also helps is to have that whole spectrum of “It’s not just this decision you could make. You can also make this decision. You can make this decision.”
And as you’re laying out all these decisions, you’re still giving your child the opportunity to make it for themselves.
Doug Nordman 14:19
I’ve mentioned already that you want your kids to learn to manage their money before you even begin the process of talking about saving and investing. The very first thing you have to do is be comfortable with managing the money.
Some kids catch on right away. Other kids aren’t ready until they’re well into elementary school, just to get the idea of managing their money.
Another big macro theme is that you don’t want to be sitting there as the authority figure telling your kids what to do. You want to be the authoritative parent, not the authoritarian one. You want to be the authoritative, experienced, smart parent who the kid wants to get the advice from and keep consulting and talking with, hopefully for the rest of my life.
But the other thing with that is that you want to give them the incentives, the motivation, to learn to save and invest. And one way to do that is to point out how they could earn money from jobs around the house to buy that special toy.
Or how, if they do things to save money in their everyday life or with the family’s decisions, there will be profit sharing. Anytime that they help the family save money, they get to keep some of the savings as well, for whatever they want to spend it on.
Andrew Chen 15:25
I definitely want to come back to the profit sharing thing in a bit too as well. I wanted just to double click on one thing you said just now, Doug, which is that you want to be the authoritative figure that they want to come for advice. How do you do that?
Doug Nordman 15:39
They’ll come to you and talk about a problem with a toy, or with some expense, or not having any money, or envy over a friend’s toys. And this is a chance. It’s a teachable moment.
You want to validate their feelings and talk about how they feel, and then talk about how once, when you were their age, or an experience you had, or “Here’s what it’s like as a grownup.”
And then, from there, you can brainstorm with your child. They’re helping in the conversation over ways to solve the problem.
Authoritarian is “I’m telling you to do it this way. Don’t ask any other questions.”
Authoritative is having a conversation and using your experience and maybe a little bit of wisdom to guide the problem, and come up with some kind of a solution that the child feels like they’re solving.
Now, every kid is different. You’re going to have one that’s going to be Warren Buffett, and you’re just going to stay out of their way and let them make their first billion before you ask them how they feel.
On the other hand, maybe you have someone who does enjoy spending or never really did get the point of saving and investing. And that is going to take a lot of conversations about how to design their life around that issue.
Carol Pittner 16:42
But the whole point again is, to a child, they’re approaching the parents from the mindset of “You’re giving me guidance.”
It’s not that you’re telling me what to do. It’s that you’re giving me all these options that either I’ve already done and you’re validating that I’m on the right path, or I’ve never even thought about that and I’m learning new creative ways to approach these sorts of situations.
Doug Nordman 17:00
Coaching and mentoring.
Andrew Chen 17:04
That’s really good advice. That’s gold there.
You mentioned first step: managing money. In the book, there’s this part. I think it’s related to this concept where you talk about this concept of the five W’s: who, what, when, where, why, and then how.
Can either of you share what you mean by that, what that is, what that’s about?
Carol Pittner 17:24
Sure. When you’re a journalist, you’re always wanting to know the situation.
What happened? When did it happen? Where did it happen?
Who was involved? Why did it happen? The whole nine yards.
That’s the same thing when it comes to money: Kids just want to know how they can use money to their advantage.
“How much am I getting? Where can I spend it?”
“What can I do with it? Who can I give it to?”
Doug Nordman 17:42
“Give me more.”
Carol Pittner 17:44
“How can I get more?”
Let’s take a very simple situation that kids are interested in. You hear the chime of the ice cream truck as the ice cream truck is going around the neighborhood.
Now, this might be a routine thing. During the summer, it might happen every Tuesday at 2:00 p.m. So the kids may hear the ice cream truck, and their first thought may be, “Ooh, ice cream, I want some.”
But none of them are thinking through, “Okay, I want ice cream. How am I going to get it?”
“I need some money. Hey, Mom and Dad, I need some money.”
And at some point, mom and dad are going to wisen up and say, “We’re not going to give you money for the ice cream truck. That’s what your allowance is for. That’s what all these jobs around the house are for.”
So, you as the kid realize, “Okay, I need to have a stash of money ready to go because the ice cream truck keeps coming by once a week every Tuesday.”
For different kids, it’s a different realization. Some kids will know like clockwork that the ice cream truck is coming once a week, and they’ll have that money stash ready to go.
Other kids are going to have to go through that entire rotation of “Ooh, there’s ice cream. Hey, I need money from Mom and Dad.”
“Mom and Dad won’t give me money. Oh, I just missed the ice cream truck. I’ll try again next week.”
It will happen a couple of times before they will finally come around to “Okay, I have my money ready. When is the ice cream truck coming?” or “Who is going to be giving ice cream this day?”
Andrew Chen 18:56
That’s really, really good advice. It’s almost like being aware of the thought process the kid is going through.
Maybe as an adult, you’ve been through that enough, so it’s ancient history. But for a kid, they need to go through that themselves before they actually internalize the lesson. So, I really like that.
Doug Nordman 19:18
You’re getting on a big enough sandbox to run around in and learn from and make mistakes and fall flat on their face without actually causing injury or permanent damage.
Carol Pittner 19:29
And one of the things I’m realizing with my own daughter (she’s not even two years old yet) is she has no concept of time.
She understands when she feels hungry. She understands when she feels tired. She understands when she feels happy.
But in terms of arranging her day, she doesn’t really know how to schedule. She doesn’t know how to read a clock, or look at a calendar, or do any of the things electronically that we do to keep track of our days and our times.
So, believe it or not, money is probably one of the first markers your kids will have: recognizing that “We go to the grocery store once a week to spend money there,” or “We go shopping once a season for new clothes for every changing season,” or “It’s the beginning of the school year, and we need new supplies.”
Doug Nordman 20:08
I think kids will learn how to understand coins and dollars before they learn how to tell time.
Andrew Chen 20:13
After I read your book, I told my wife, “Go on Amazon and buy a play coin set,” because I need to expose her right now, after reading this book. So, I like that.
I wanted to dive into this “One Special Thing” thing. You mentioned in your book, this idea of the One Special Thing, and using that as a teaching opportunity, especially for young children, when you’re out shopping together.
First, could you just explain what that is?
Doug Nordman 20:39
We got that from a children’s book years ago. It’s just that idea of you’re at the grocery store and you want to come away with something, and you’re either going to throw a temper tantrum to get it or you’re going to follow the rules.
So we came up with a rule that you could buy “One Special Thing.” Those words are capitalized.
And it’s dependent on good behavior. If you’re not following the rules in a grocery store, you have to abandon the cart and go back out to the parking lot and go home and try again another day.
Maybe you’ll actually have to follow through and do that to get them to understand that One Special Thing means you have to behave in a grocery store, and be helpful, and use your inside voice, and not grab things off the shelf, whatever the rules are.
And then you get to pick. And just the thought of, at the end of that, being allowed to pick that One Special Thing.
We also found sometimes it was very helpful to just give Carol the $1 or the $2 that she can hold in her hands. And we would remind her, “That’s the money that you have to behave for that One Special Thing. If you don’t behave, then you don’t get that One Special Thing, and you’ll have to give the money back.”
So, that’s the incentive behind One Special Thing. And then that became a life lesson because as they learn to spend their money and they’re looking at all the things they could buy, you can reflect back on that One Special Thing.
What’s your One Special Thing? What do you want to spend your money on? What One Special Thing do you want?
Carol Pittner 22:03
“I could go on this vacation for senior year spring break, but I also know that I really need a new car, and that’s going to really help me for life after college, so I got to make a decision there.”
Doug Nordman 22:14
It’s just more teachable moments and more discussions.
Andrew Chen 22:17
You mentioned that you can put constraints on the One Special Thing. For example, it has to be under a certain price, or it can’t be something bad for you. How do you make sure that the One Special Thing they buy isn’t bad for them?
I get it’s enough to say that the One Special Thing has to be, say, under $10 or something like that, because every item has a clearly marked price. But it may be harder for a kid to tell what’s good for them, say, a storybook.
Doug Nordman 22:44
I’m pretty sure they’re not going to start with a sprig of kale or broccoli or some other healthy vegetable. Again, you let them explore their spending decisions. They’re going to go buy that junk food or that piece of candy or that prepared and packaged Lunchable, anything they want with that amount of money.
You get a chance to talk about crisis, but you also get a chance to talk about the value of what they’re buying. “Is this going to give you an upset stomach? Is this going to make you feel happy?”
“We can read a book a thousand times and enjoy it together. You can eat that chocolate bar just once, and hopefully, you don’t make yourself sick.”
Those kinds of discussions. And kids learn from experience, not from parents’ wisdom. So, that chocolate bar is going to get bought five or six times before they get tired of it, and then maybe they’re ready to try out this crazy idea that they could enjoy a book instead.
Carol Pittner 23:33
And you don’t want to deny the child. If they say, “I want this,” and it’s those Toblerone things that are three feet long (it’s under the $10 price but they’re three feet long), your job is not just to say no.
Your job is to say, “That looks pretty cool. Are you sure that’s the one thing you want?”
“As we were going around the store, you also saw this thing and that thing. What about any of those things?”
But if the kid says, “No, I want this three-foot stick of chocolate,” then that’s the answer. But in that whole process…
Doug Nordman 24:05
They follow the rules.
Carol Pittner 24:06
They followed the rules, and they’ve made their decision, and they’re sticking by their decision.
Doug Nordman 24:10
I’ve also been reminded as a grandparent that the longer you delay introducing your kids to the word “no,” the less you’ll hear it come back at you at a bad moment.
Andrew Chen 24:22
Yeah, I remember reading this part of the book and having a real internal struggle because my kid is going to pick the Toblerone, and I want to say no because I don’t want her to eat that junk. And it sounds like the learning here is let them eat the junk a few times until they realize they don’t want it anymore.
Doug Nordman 24:41
How did you learn not to eat the junk? You probably, at some point, ate enough junk in your life, and you got tired of it, and decided, “My junk eating days are over, and I’m going to go start eating more healthy food.”
If a kid can learn that lesson at age six instead of at age 16 or 26 or 56, then it’s that much further ahead for their lives and their quality of life.
Andrew Chen 25:05
So, that’s the One Special Thing. There’s a part in your book where you talk about chores versus jobs. I like your framework of not paying for chores, but paying for jobs.
And if I recall correctly, even having a list of jobs, almost like a menu posted on the fridge, so you could see anytime. If Carol wanted to earn money, she could just walk over and see what jobs are on tap and at what prices. But you weren’t allowed to do any jobs until your chores are done.
First of all, how do you distinguish chores from jobs? What are chores, and what are jobs?
Doug Nordman 25:38
Every family is different, and this is a controversial topic. We wandered into a minefield when we started writing about this because some families do not believe in paying any allowances at all. We feel that any allowance you give a kid just lets them learn how to handle money.
Other families feel like kids shouldn’t be doing jobs. Why do child labor when they’re supposed to go out there and be a kid? Some families even feel like chores are something that should be done by the parents as part of raising a family.
Everybody’s got to make their own choices, and our choices are laid out there for you to pick and choose what works for you.
The subversive, ulterior motive of the parents is to put enough money in their hands, so that they can learn to make choices enough so that they can choose something, but not so that they can choose everything. And eventually, they’ll learn from the constraints on those resources, of that allowance, even if they don’t want to go on to anything else.
Chores is just what you do to keep the house nice and clean, a great place to live, and safe for the family. It’s you helping the family.
You got an allowance just for being a good member of the family. We never really had a definition of that.
Carol Pittner 26:42
And I never thought to ask either. I was afraid to ask what it meant to be a good member of the family.
Doug Nordman 26:48
And what if you weren’t?
Carol Pittner 26:50
Because what if I had more piled on top?
Doug Nordman 26:51
What if we tried to return you for the warranty?
And then the chores are just something that’s reasonable and age-appropriate.
Again, every kid is different. Some kids will want to make their bed as soon as they’re four or five years old. Other kids, not speaking to anybody in particular, will never make their beds.
So, you just pick a chore that makes it worth the idea of having chores in the house. For example, kids may not be able to empty all the things in a dishwasher until they’re tall enough to reach the cabinets, but they can certainly go help empty the waste baskets. And that’s the idea of an age-appropriate chore.
And after that, if you did your chores and you did your homework, you’re doing fine, you’re all caught up, if you want to earn money for that toy, now you can go get a job. I’ve seen even in families that have more than one kid, they’ll list that job chart on the refrigerator, and the first person to volunteer for that job gets the money if they do the job right.
So now you’ve got not bidding, but competition to take that job. A “Help Wanted” sign goes up on the refrigerator, you’re going to spring on it if you want another toy.
Andrew Chen 27:51
What are examples of jobs versus chores? I get the waste basket and emptying the dishwasher. What are examples of jobs that you would pay for versus chores that you would not?
Carol Pittner 28:01
Doug Nordman 28:03
Absolutely. And washing the car. Now, when you’re only three feet tall, you’re not going to wash the roof of the car, but you’re certainly going to be able to do a good job on the wheels.
And there’s an element of training and supervision that goes in it. You’re going to figure out an age-appropriate job that they’re motivated to do in the first place, and you’re going to help them figure out how to do it, so that they understand the things you’re trying to get out of a job, and understand how it’s supposed to turn out.
And then, to some extent, you’re inspecting. You’re not going to pay them the money unless they do a good quality job. So, all of those things are parents helping the kids to learn how to do their own chores, their own jobs, and earn money from them.
Once you teach the kid to mow the lawn to your satisfaction, you’ll probably find out that they’re going to go out in the neighborhood and mow everybody else’s lawns for more money before they’re going to bother for your lawn anymore.
Carol Pittner 28:50
And some of it is going to be partly based on what your kid is interested in. I learned of a really cool story the past year. This was neighbors of my in-laws, and they have boys that are very interested in the trash truck.
These kids would get on their bicycles, and they would follow the trash truck at a safe distance around the neighborhood as they were doing their rounds for the day. And the boys soon realized, they said, “Wait a minute. We can charge every neighbor a dollar per trash can.”
“We’ll come out every morning, and we’ll put their trash cans to the street the day a week that you do have your trash day.” They’ll put the cans out, and they’ll bring the cans in.
To the adults, a dollar a week, that’s nothing. But to the kids, when you have all 25 of your neighbors paying a dollar a week, that means you’re getting $25 a week.
Doug Nordman 29:33
Carol Pittner 29:33
Which means you’re getting $100 a month, which means you’re getting $1200 a year. Now, what can a 10-, 12-, 14-year-old do with $1200 a year? It’s quite impressive.
Andrew Chen 29:44
So it sounds like jobs are basically things that you would pay somebody else to do anyway, but instead, you’re paying your kid. Whereas chores, you’re probably not going to pay somebody to take out the trash, empty the dishwasher, etc. Is that how you draw the distinction?
Doug Nordman 29:54
Exactly. And every family is different. Every family is going to feel that there’s some kind of a boundary.
For example, making dinner might be a chore. On the other hand, making dinner for the entire family to help out over a holiday, maybe that’s a job.
Andrew Chen 30:08
What would you say to parents who have the worry that by paying kids to do certain things, they fear they’re setting the expectation that they have to pay to do every little thing? Without paying them, you can’t get them off the couch.
Doug Nordman 30:21
Again, you’re going to draw a line between chores and jobs. Chores have to be done first, and then jobs have to be done later.
And it’s fair to have a conversation about that: how sometimes you’re going to do a job just because you want to learn a new skill, or “If you learn how to do this job, we’ll pay you a little bit of money, so that when you get really good at it, then you can go do it for the neighbors and start your own business and earn a lot more money.”
Those are reasonable expectations. And compare what you want their behavior to be to what other adults would do in a company. You’re probably going to do things at your company that you’re not necessarily going to see in your paycheck, but things that help you advance and get promoted and eventually get more money that way.
That conversation is easy to start out at a very young age, even if they’re in elementary school. And of course, by the time they’re teenagers, they understand that a lot better.
Andrew Chen 31:13
I wanted to talk also a little bit about compensation for getting good grades. Carol, I think you wrote this part of the book where you said you think it’s probably better not to pay directly for getting good grades, but instead, award privileges rather than giving money.
To you, or either of you really, what kind of privileges are effective motivators? How should a parent think about what privileges would be effective for their kid? Is it just based on observation as a parent about the types of things your child values?
How do you respond to this?
Carol Pittner 31:50
Let’s talk about a younger kid that’s in elementary school. They go to their school day, and at the end of the school day, they see a bunch of their friends playing in the park. Maybe they’re playing basketball together, playing soccer on the field.
But you want them to come home and do their homework first. Maybe the new privilege can be that they can go and play on that basketball court or that soccer field for an hour after school.
Maybe it’s someone who is in middle school, and they just want to go out for a movie with their friends. Maybe the new privilege is “Tell us what time the movie is going to be at, and what day of the week. We’ll drop you off and pick you up, but you can have the evening with your friends.”
Like you said, you’re going to be gauging what is important to your kid. For some kids, believe it or not, the big thing nowadays is smartphones, and the games that you can play on phones, and TikToks or other interactions that you can have. For them, that’s a big privilege, so maybe it’s something along the lines of expanding screen time, or giving them their own device, or having their own account even.
Doug Nordman 32:44
As long as their grades are up.
Carol Pittner 32:45
As long as their grades are up, because you do have to prioritize that grades are an important part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Doug Nordman 32:55
I’d go even further and say that when their grades are up like that, and when they’re doing good, many high school students are able to earn college credit for some high school classes. It’s a dual credit sort of a system. For example, you had a high school math class.
Carol Pittner 33:10
It was calculus.
Doug Nordman 33:11
The junior college would come in and teach calculus, so she actually had college credit for a high school class. And if that puts her that much further ahead in her college education and she’s able to do college in six or seven semesters instead of eight or 10 or 12 semesters, maybe there should be profit sharing.
If you do good in that class, and you get that college credit, and we save money in the college fund, maybe you should share half of that money.
Carol Pittner 33:33
And I remember watching my fellow college seniors, as everybody was doing that senior year job scramble, they were all insanely jealous of the economics majors, the two that managed to get a lot of their credits done in high school. Not only were they out a semester early, but they were in an offset, which meant that they weren’t competing with everybody else at the same time for jobs.
There were fewer applicants in a bigger market. And we couldn’t believe that one of them came away with a job for $90,000 a year. We’re sitting here, we’re broke college students trying to get a job.
Doug Nordman 34:04
Carol Pittner 34:06
And here is one of our friends who is already getting $90,000. We couldn’t believe it.
Andrew Chen 34:14
Speaking of profit sharing, I was curious if you guys could explain a little bit about how profit sharing works. It sounds like it was a very effective way to teach about savings, frugality, making good purchasing choices all throughout Carol’s childhood.
Doug Nordman 34:31
I’ll start by saying that when you join the military, you get paid the same amount of money as everybody else in the military at that rank, at that level of number of years of service. But if you volunteer for the harder jobs in the military, the harder specialties, some of the smaller, more difficult communities, then you start getting more money.
You might get a little more money for learning how to jump out of airplanes, with a parachute. You might get a little more money for volunteering for the submarine force and so forth. And then, as you get to the end of that service obligation, you might get offered a big bonus check to continue that service and keep on going.
So, that’s a very powerful motivator for me. I’m sorry to say it was an extremely powerful motivator for me. When you put that kind of profit sharing in the hands of a seven-year-old, it’s equally as powerful.
Now, for a seven-year-old, that’s probably something like “Bring healthy lunch from home, and we’ll pay for that. That way, you don’t have to buy a school lunch. And for all the money you save from not buying school lunches, you get to keep half of it.”
Carol Pittner 35:30
And the same thing with school supplies. When you have to buy those specific graphing calculators, which I find it hilarious that the prices have not changed after all these years. I’ve been out of high school almost a decade now, and it still costs $100-150 per graphing calculator.
I could buy a brand new at $150, or what I could do is I could go on Facebook Marketplace, I could go through the local high school or the local community college, and see if someone was selling one for $40-50. Then I could have made at least $100 in profit.
That $100, $50 would go back to Dad because it was his money in the first place. This was my parents being generous and giving me the money to buy the school supplies that I need.
But then I would get the other $50. Suddenly I had an extra $50 for 15 trips to the movie theater or a new pair of really nice Nike shoes.
Doug Nordman 36:22
You can carry this to extremes. When you get that school supply list in August, then you can add up the numbers at your local school supply store and figure out how many hundreds of dollars you’re going to have to send your kid to school with in school supplies. And you always know what next year’s list is going to look like because they’re always going to come out with the same list every year.
If your kid is smart enough and forethinking enough to start buying that stuff from garage sales, then if they spend $50 on a $300 list, that’s $250 worth of savings that they get to share in some of the profit. All it takes is a little forethought and planning to make that happen.
But it also develops a mindset of “How can I get this without paying retail? How can I buy this out of cycle, out of season?”
“How can I buy used? How can I make something work?”
Carol Pittner 37:07
And you’re only talking on the front end. You’re talking about the purchasing of the item. Let’s go back to that graphing calculator.
I know I’m going to be done with it one day, and that the next generation is going to be buying graphing calculators. That’s one less thing for me to maintain and store and keep clean in my house, but then there’s another generation that can use it as well.
I just made $50 from our profit sharing. And then, depending on how well I kept that graphing calculator, I might have a $5 or $10 loss, or I might be able to make exactly even on that calculator, selling it to the next person.
Doug Nordman 37:37
And we get the question a lot: “Where is all of this money coming from? What hidden trust fund do you have to put into raising a kid?”
And the answer is that it’s the same amount of money you’re going to spend either way. And hopefully, the mistakes they make when they’re younger will leave you with more money to spend when they’re older, instead of having to make even bigger mistakes when they’re older.
But when you’re spending that money, an example, we called it the clothing and toiletries fund, and we looked at what our family was spending on average to clothe and bathe an average teenager. She was 11 or 12 at the time, on her way into teenagerhood, but she had the attitude down pat.
But the whole point was that they have a certain amount of money that they need you to spend on them every month as they’re growing, and as their clothes wear out, and as they need more hygiene attention. This works for boys as well as girls.
And we said, “We’ll give you the money that you need for your clothing and your toiletries, and we’ll give it to you starting every month. You’ll get $25 a month for your clothing and your toiletries.”
And the joke was when we started this, we said, “You can look really good, or you can smell really good, but you’re going to have to make some choices.” And it worked out very well because you felt like you had the power to make good choices.
If there was a fad competition or some kind of craze at school, you could sit back and figure out whether this was really worth spending your $25 on that instead of begging mom and dad for the money.
Carol Pittner 38:59
And that was the other thing. I could have that $150 budget, but if I had bought two T-shirts and a pair of jeans at a brand name store, that was it.
Doug Nordman 39:08
But you’d look really good.
Carol Pittner 39:09
But then it would only get me through a day of high school. I would only look good for one day, and then I’d have to do laundry every single night, and then I’d start getting some weird questions about why I’m wearing the same stuff over and over again.
To me, as a woman, it mattered that I was wearing something different every day. And I was willing to trade the quality of the clothes, maybe not designer brand but something that you could get at a Kmart at the time, or a Walmart.
Doug Nordman 39:32
Or a Goodwill, a thrift store. And the other advantage of that was that initially we’d start out at $25 a month, but then we’d start stretching it out: $75 a quarter or $150 for every six months. And now you’re getting a lot more money to play with.
It’s the same amount of money you’re going to spend either way, but now you get that dumped into your checking account upfront. You have to think hard, especially if that comes right before the holidays or right before the summer. It’s a small amount of money now when you’re 13 or 14 years old, but when you’re in college, when you’re at your first job, it scales up.
Andrew Chen 40:06
Yeah, definitely. Carol, when you started getting the monthly budget or the quarterly budget, were you instantly making good choices?
Was there a month or two where you just blew the cash, and then you had to live with the consequences? Because then you’re stuck. Dad is not going to bail you out.
Help us understand how that experience was.
Carol Pittner 40:42
One thing you’ll notice is that your teens naturally start getting more possessive of their stuff, and they’ll actually start taking care of their things. They’ll stop leaving things on the side of the road. They’ll stop leaving things on top of the car.
There are a couple of instances where I left something next to a backpack, and I picked up the backpack, but I forgot the thing. And I lost quite a number of jackets that way.
Then I had to buy a few jackets, which are not cheap. Hoodies nowadays are expensive.
But it would be those little situations. I had a situation once where I forgot my school books in my locker, and Mom said, “Okay, I’ll drive you up to the high school. We’ll grab your books out of the locker.”
What I didn’t account for was the fence being locked. So I decided to scale the fence because the building was open, because there just so happened to be a teacher in one of the classrooms. But in the process, I ripped my shorts on the fence.
And it was one of those moments where because I already had put myself in this situation where I was going to the high school on a Saturday morning and jumping a fence, there was now evidence that I had jumped the fence on a Saturday morning. I lost one of my favorite pairs of shorts in the process.
Doug Nordman 41:44
How did that make you feel?
Carol Pittner 41:45
I still remember it. It’s been almost 12 years since that happened, and I still remember it.
Andrew Chen 41:51
I assume, Doug, you, in fact, had never bailed Carol out if she misused the money. Is that right?
Doug Nordman 41:58
We would talk about it. And there was, I think, one time where you went too far on your credit card. You ended up with more money spent on credit than you actually had the money to cover with your paycheck or whatever it was.
Carol Pittner 42:10
Ironically, it was during 2009, so the government was getting bailed out, and I was getting a bail out.
Doug Nordman 42:15
What we basically did is found a whole bunch of jobs for her to do over the next couple of weeks so that she could earn real money for real labor of quality work, and be able to earn her way out.
Essentially, it’s like going to your boss and saying, “Give me all the overtime you can. I really need to pay some bills.” And it worked out well.
Of course, as a parent, when your young adult comes to you and tells you that they screwed up like that, and they are looking for a bail out, and you make all that work, as a parent, it’s okay to keep reminding them every day or so of why they’re working so hard and how they got into the situation in the first place.
I’ll also say that the clothing and toiletries fund, some of Carol’s experiments as a young teenager with various potions, various types of shampoos and soaps and other wonderful chemistry experiments didn’t work out, and I think we’re using some of those today. We’ve been out of the house for 15 years, and we’re still using some of the leftovers from those days.
Andrew Chen 43:10
That’s great. Carol, where did you feel like it had the greatest financial impact on your childhood budget in terms of profit sharing?
What were the areas that had the most meaningful financial gain? What type of profit sharing?
Carol Pittner 43:28
Certainly school supplies. We’ll start there, because they happen every year. Every year, there’s a new list, so there’s new things to be bought.
And that translated into college, when you realized that you didn’t need the textbooks past the year that you finished. You might have one or two books that you still keep on the shelf as references for your professional career, but you recognize after a while that you don’t really need the problem set from Physics 5. You don’t need the problem set from Hydrology 2 or 3.
So, you’ll figure out how to preserve your stuff and take care of your stuff, so that you can resell it either to break even, or even make a small profit. I think that was the most direct way that I saw profit sharing work.
What others might see that I didn’t personally experience is that if you are earning your company money, but you are also earning your company savings, you may be able to say to your boss, “Hey, I saved you guys $5 million last year. How’s a $50,000 bonus this year?”
It’s those little things where if you’re keeping track of what your capabilities are providing for your organization, whether it’s your job or beloved church or beloved community event, then there is a way for you to also have a little bit more to take home as well.
Andrew Chen 44:40
And Doug, just to give folks who are listening a sense, so that it sparks some ideas, could you laundry list out some of the areas where profit sharing was used throughout Carol’s childhood?
Doug Nordman 44:52
As a young kid, profit sharing was picking up cans for the Hawaii five-cent rebate for every aluminum can. That was all yours.
Carol Pittner 45:00
That was middle school.
Doug Nordman 45:02
That was $3 or $4 a whole week. That was a lot of money.
Carol Pittner 45:05
At the end of the day in middle school, the custodians knew to just stay on back for 10 minutes and watch me and a couple of other kids. We would just open all those trash tops and pull out all those bottles.
Five cents apiece. I got $20 every month out of that. That was awesome.
Doug Nordman 45:18
There was riding your bicycle to school instead of paying for the school bus ticket. There was making a home lunch instead of buying the school lunch. And as she got older, we started scaling this up.
And I’ll skip ahead to the end result here. When she was in college, we had saved a college fund. And as a college student, your goal, if you’re going to do college right, is to spend all the college fund, and even more if you can.
So, to limit that attack of the “giving all the money you can” syndrome, what we did was we said, “If you’re a wise steward of the college fund, with our guidance, and if we help you make the right choices, and you do eventually make the right choices, then there will be profit sharing when you graduate.”
And that came to a head faster than I realized. There was one time you came home from sophomore year, you came home for Christmas, and she was a little more tense than usual for a Christmas holiday sophomore year.
And we learned that the college had not built enough dorms for everybody, and that the new juniors were expected to move off of campus. And she had been told that she was going to be voluntold to move off campus. You were 19 or 20 years old, and you had to figure out how to get an apartment, how to take care of cooking for yourself, how to live off campus essentially.
Carol Pittner 46:35
On top of everything else that I was doing: homework and classes and ROTC.
Doug Nordman 46:38
And keep your grades up. It was a stressful situation. And of course, you only take out that kind of behavior on the people you love and trust the most.
So, after the fourth or fifth explosion in this minefield that I had no idea I was tap dancing in the middle of, I said, “What’s the problem here? Do you just want to have to manage the college fund on your own? Why are you asking me all these questions about how to afford the apartment and things like that?”
And we talked about it, and she decided she did not want to have to manage that five-figure college fund at the time. That was probably more stress than she needed in her life right then.
But what we did decide is that if she had moved off campus, then I did not have to pay room and board. So, instead of paying room and board to the university, the money that would have gone to them would go straight to her. I would give her $6000 or $7000 a semester.
Carol Pittner 47:30
Which was all I needed for gas money and food money and electrical money.
Doug Nordman 47:34
It was apartment rent, it was groceries, it was the college meal plan, however she wanted to spend it. And the deal was we would give her that money upfront at the beginning of the semester, and whatever was left over at the end of the semester was hers to keep.
Now, $7000 as a money management project as a college sophomore or college junior, that’s a significant challenge, and there are consequences for screwing up. But on the other hand, we had been working toward this moment for 10, 12, 14 years with smaller amounts of money, so we had just scaled it up to four figures at this point.
I remember as soon as we said, “Here’s what we should do. What do you think?” suddenly you could just see the tension drain away.
And she instantly found two roommates for the apartment they were in. She instantly got on Pinterest and figured out cooking in bulk for a week at a time.
I remember you were riding your bike most of the time because you were spending all day out of campus anyway. You didn’t need to spend the gas or worry about parking fees. A whole bunch of frugal mindset.
Now, you’ve heard that comment, “Living like a poor college student.” You did. I never asked you how much of that money you kept at the end of the semester, but it was yours to keep.
Carol Pittner 48:38
And it was enough for me to have an emergency fund at the end of college. Now, granted I had done Navy ROTC, so I knew I had a job the moment that I did college, but that job didn’t pay me for the first six weeks after college. That’s a different story for a different day.
But it was very useful to have that emergency fund because in that same period, due to the nature of my job, I had to go from the United States to Spain and all the way back again.
I’ve really enjoyed having our own place off campus, myself and two roommates. It’s been over a decade, and we still talk about it, because we really enjoyed the quiet, and being able to control our environments, and eating the food that we liked, and having the bedtime that we liked, and not having to worry about the folks above us or the folks below us. It just worked out beautifully.
Doug Nordman 49:22
And I got to say, she was a better steward to the college fund than the university was.
Andrew Chen 49:28
If I might ask a personal question, Dad, would you have bailed Carol out? Because the college fund in a semester, when moving off campus and figuring out all these things, it’s a lot to take in. You’re in a different city.
If she had overspent, would you have bailed her out?
Doug Nordman 49:45
In the military, we have an investigation we do whenever there’s a mishap. And one of the things we asked was “Was this due to your own misconduct, or was this in the line of duty?”
So we applied that same logic because she was on ROTC scholarship. It was pretty clear that if this was in the line of duty, for example, there’s a fire in her apartment and she had to replace a bunch of stuff, and she had messed up the insurance, that’s a mistake, and you’re going to learn from it, and we’re happy to help you with the bailing out.
Carol Pittner 50:14
But the people downstairs having a fire in their apartment, and you just happen to be the bystander.
Doug Nordman 50:19
Again, you should have thought about insurance and followed some of the advice you’ve heard over the years, and maybe there would be a bail out for that.
Now, if it’s totally due to your own misconduct, that wonderful weekend on Padre Island that she did perfectly right during spring break, and can’t remember any of it, but ended up spending $5000, or so I’ve heard. Nothing like that ever happened to me when I was in college.
There would be no bail out for that. That’s an “adulting” mistake, and that’s how you learn “adulting.”
Andrew Chen 50:47
Super insightful. I’m getting all these ideas. I might apply this to my own kids.
Doug Nordman 50:55
Please apologize to your daughter for us someday for everything that’s about to…
Andrew Chen 51:00
I’ll say it’s all Doug’s fault.
Doug Nordman 51:02
Andrew Chen 51:04
I wanted to talk a little bit about this creative idea that you guys used called the kid 401(k). You write about this in your book. But for those who haven’t read it, can you share what the kid 401(k) is, and how did it work in your situation?
Doug Nordman 51:20
Again, I know it makes it look in the book like we thought about this stuff in advance. The kid 401(k) occurred because the military was actually starting its own version of 401(k) for the military at the time.
Every day at work, we were getting told about the wonderful things that the military thrift savings plan was going to do for us, for our 401(k)’s and saving for retirement. So, when her eighth birthday came up, we realized we had an opportunity for a teachable moment and a big milestone.
A kid 401(k) is designed to teach deferred gratification in a very personal and very concrete way. You have to wait a lifetime.
At age eight, she got a big raise in her allowance, but there were mandatory contributions to the kid 401(k). And at eight years old, she had to wait eight years before she was allowed to tap the kid 401(k).
But that meant that at her 16th birthday, there would be $5000. You say that in a dark or evil voice.
And that $5000 would be enough to an eight-year-old. It would be enough for doing anything with a car. We all know that you have to adjust that number for today’s values of used cars, but it would be enough to buy the starter car and pay for some gas and insurance.
So, the whole idea at eight years old is that you know that you have a kid 401(k) that’s going to give you a huge sum of money (to an eight-year-old) at age 16, for you to go out and buy your first car. That was the whole idea behind the kid 401(k): to teach eight years of deferred gratification.
Now, the marketing is what really sells this program. Every month, we would have a glowing report of how much she had contributed, how much the parental matching had put in there, the awesome stock market performance. If your spreadsheet is a little bit off, then you have to raise the stock market performance to make sure everything stays caught up.
And we would do this every month. We would say, “You had only put a few bucks in here, but look what compounding has done for you.”
“Look what the 401(k) is doing. Look at the stock market.” If the stock market was up that day, we would talk about the kid 401(k).
Everything had a relationship to the kid 401(k). You could wrap a story around all of those things in their world relating to that kid 401(k).
And we take you through this in the book. We show you how to design that spreadsheet. You can actually plug in the numbers for your own family’s finances and for your own goals, whatever you’re trying to do for them at age 16 or whatever age you’d pick.
But the whole idea is that they could look at that every month and see that progress and understand that. When they go to their first job and they say something at the first job to the company about contributing to the 401(k), they understand. It’s not a problem.
But also, that teaches them that deferred gratification. And a surprising side effect that we did not anticipate is it eliminated almost all the gimmes about cars.
We use an example in the book where the 12-year-olds were sitting around one day talking trash, and it got competitive. You might remember an old TV show, Pimp My Ride and MTV Cribs. Consumerism was running rampant.
The first kid said, “When I’m 16 years old, my dad is going to buy me a Cadillac Escalade.” And the other kid said, “When I’m 16 years old, my mom is going to buy me a Hummer.” That, of course, was as good as you could get back in those days.
Everybody looked at Carol to see what she was going to do. I’m sitting on the sidelines pretending to read my book, but overhearing this entire conversation and pretending to not listen to them.
Carol says, “When I’m 16 years old, I’m going to have a kid 401(k), and it’s going to have $5000. I’m going to buy any car I want.” What are you going to do to top that?
The unintended consequences here for parents who are considering this advice is that a couple of weeks later, after the story had circulated among all the other parents of the 12-year-olds, the parents started coming up to me and saying, “Hey, Nords, tell me more about this kid 401(k). How does this work?”
So we had to explain what we’d been doing and why we’d been doing it that way. But you got to age 16, and there were no car gimmes.
In fact, we talk about this in the book, too. She actually knew that I wanted to buy a nerd car. This was back when Priuses were the hot hybrid car.
She knew I wanted one because I’m an engineer, so she offered to contribute her $5000 into the family pot of money to buy a used Prius. And she wanted an equity share in the car.
When a 16-year-old comes up with that idea on her own, you have to honor that. You have to make that work and say, “Yes, that’s a wonderful idea, and we are going to do that.” You have to call that bluff.
Carol Pittner 55:52
And I did not see this part, but the other part I didn’t realize about it was that I had much more invested in that car personally. It was two parts.
First, it was my car packed away for a year and a half. I was 16 years old, and because I was born late in the year, I was going to college at 17 and a half. I was only going to have the car for a year and a half, but in that year and a half, I wanted to make sure that I got all the money I invested back.
And that was one of the terms of the deal: any dents, dings, scratches, what have you that happened to the car was coming out of my deposit. There was a minor fender bender in a Walmart parking lot on a Christmas day when you had these awkward hangovers.
Doug Nordman 56:30
Not her fault.
Carol Pittner 56:31
We won’t get into that story, but I walked away with $4800. Again, that’s walking into college with a $4800 seed that grew a little bit more, and then became the fund for my college car when I went off campus and I did actually need some wheels for the days that I couldn’t bicycle in the thunder or I needed to bring some loads into the campus.
And then, when I left college, I still had that car. That car quite literally went from the United States all the way to Spain with me, and it was my adventure car while I was stationed in Europe.
And then that car actually made it all the way back stateside before it finally, unfortunately, came very close to dying on the side of a road during a holiday weekend, but we made it through. So then that car got traded in for a new car.
So, every car that I have, I still relayed it back to the kid 401(k), because the reality is that that money is constantly carried forward into the next car.
Doug Nordman 57:22
Did you ever have to borrow money for a car?
Carol Pittner 57:25
No. I get the weirdest looks all the time. I’ve used both official dealerships to buy brand new cars here, and also used dealerships where they’re trading stock.
I’ve done private sellers at this point. I’ve even done a venture with you guys. I’ve pretty much done everything you can do, except for Carvana and CarMax and a lot of these new programs that are coming up.
But every time, whether it’s the used car dealership or the brand new dealership, they’re always saying, “Okay, how do you want to finance it?” And I’d pull out my checkbook. I say, “How do I do this?”
And they just look at me. They look at my checkbook, and they look at me, and they say, “We need to review our policies first.” Because that’s how seldom they actually have someone walking in.
Doug Nordman 58:04
“We can’t take cash.”
Carol Pittner 58:05
“We actually don’t know what to do.”
Andrew Chen 58:07
Doug Nordman 58:09
Here’s another thought. That equity share that she had in that car when she got her driver’s license, growing up in Oahu, your driving skills are not going to survive in some place like Manhattan or Los Angeles or Houston, so we made her do all the errands for the rest of her time in high school. And what I mean by that is she would do all the grocery shopping for us.
Carol Pittner 58:31
For a 5% delivery fee.
Doug Nordman 58:33
We pay a delivery fee.
Andrew Chen 58:35
Pre-Instacart. You were like the Instacart.
Doug Nordman 58:36
Absolutely. So I was happy to profit share on that. I didn’t set foot in a grocery store for almost two years.
She pumped all of her gas. She did all the errands, all the things we could think of that required someone other than me to drive a car somewhere.
Carol Pittner 58:49
Profit sharing for oil changes. I could take the oil change to somewhere else, or I could just get the money from Mom and Dad for doing it myself. It’s the same.
Doug Nordman 58:55
So, that whole ownership attitude in that car really paid off by giving her better driving skills, by making her focus on taking care of her stuff. And we saw the stories from the other families where the kids weren’t necessarily as invested in their cars as they should have been. And there were always stories of that one girl that went through two or three cars in a year.
Carol Pittner 59:17
In a semester. And I had heard, because then you realize that you’re sharing the road with those people.
Andrew Chen 59:24
So, just to be clear, the doing the errands with the car, were those paid jobs? Was that part of the deal for having the car?
Doug Nordman 59:33
That was part of the deal for having the car. And there was some money coming in, for example, the grocery delivery fee. Or if she would run errands, she would take care of her own errands at the same time.
So there was a combination. It wasn’t really a very clear line between what was paid and what was part of being owner of the car. But it was the subject of negotiation, and we had a lot of good discussions about that.
Carol Pittner 59:53
The things that were very routine (Mom and Dad always went to the grocery store once a week, we always went for Walmart once a month), those things were automatically on the list of “These are things you will do. We’ll give you a delivery fee, but there are things we can do.”
And then, when it came to things like there’s a special sale downtown for Labor Day, we would talk about it a few days in advance. “Hey, would you be willing to go down there and pick out this, this, and that?” Or nowadays, you can order everything online, and you could send out your teen to go and sit in the Target parking lot or wherever it is to pick up the order.
Doug Nordman 1:00:20
We did TaskRabbit before it was cool.
Andrew Chen 1:00:25
Just to circle back to the kid 401(k), I just want to make sure this is really clear for folks. This is not a literal 401(k). This is a dad-managed 401(k) or a dad-managed savings program.
If I understood correctly in your book, it’s held in Dad’s account, but the spreadsheet that separates Carol versus Dad is managed by Dad, so you can see that. One thing I wanted to clarify was: Is that portion actually invested in the stock market, or are you guaranteeing the 1% per month?
Carol Pittner 1:01:04
You have to make sure your kid establishes trust. You can’t offer them 5% and then come back with 0.5%. They are going to add it up quickly, and they’re going to start hoarding their money, and they’re never going to trust you ever again.
That might be a little extreme, but it’s going to be pretty darn close to the truth.
Doug Nordman 1:01:20
Or so I’ve heard.
Carol Pittner 1:01:20
Or so you’ve heard. So, this is where you as a parent need to do a little research and use the tools at your disposal.
For example, if you promised your kid 1%, then maybe look at a high yield savings account that has 2%. Or if you know that you already have investments that are racking up 7-8%, then maybe peel a little bit off the top of those investments to have almost like an emergency fund that will already be readily available as the kid 401(k).
You don’t have to tell your kids, “You already have $5000.” You don’t have to tell them that. You don’t have to tell them how the sausage is made or what’s really happening underwater.
All you have to do is make the spreadsheets show what the progression would look like.
Doug Nordman 1:02:00
And make it cool.
Carol Pittner 1:02:01
And at the end of the rainbow, there’s that pot of gold waiting for them.
Doug Nordman 1:02:04
We committed to having $5000 available in our checking account when she hit her 16th birthday, and we made that happen just by doing what everybody else does: saving the money for it.
Andrew Chen 1:02:15
Is it correct, then, that you would take the contributions, you would actually invest them in your account, and you just knew that at age 16, you’ve got to produce $5000?
Doug Nordman 1:02:24
It was even less sophisticated than that. Again, we are not brilliant investors. We are just able to plan out ahead.
What we did is we said, if I remember correctly, that “You’re eight years old, so you’re going to get $8 a week for your allowance, but $3 a week is going to go into the kid 401(k).”
She still ended up net positive, getting more money in her allowance, so she really didn’t care where the rest of it was disappearing to. That $3 seed, and I can’t remember exactly what the parental match was, but it was a pretty big sum like $15.
And the stock market performance was amazing. I think it returned something like 12-15% every year for eight years. It was awesome.
But that’s just to make the spreadsheet math work out eight years down the road at $5000. So I started with the $5000 and made the math work backwards to the money that she was putting in, the matching, and the stock market performance.
We talk about all those parameters in the spreadsheet in the book. But as a parent, as a grownup, you have to commit to having that money available at their 16th birthday.
Now, however you do that, maybe you leave in the stock market and sell some stocks the week before. Maybe you have a sinking fund that you put $100 or $200 a month into, every month for the next eight years. However you do that.
Carol Pittner 1:03:35
Maybe you quietly saved up all of the money your kids got before they understood what a birthday was. The gifts from the grandparents when the kid was still in diapers, and you’ve saved that all together in a separate account and never told your child. That could also qualify.
Doug Nordman 1:03:47
Sure. However you do it in your family is your business. But again, you’ve made an obligation on your own to have that $5000, or whatever the sum is, at their 16th birthday.
Carol Pittner 1:03:57
And it has to be there.
Andrew Chen 1:04:00
From the parent’s perspective, the kid has a guaranteed return effectively.
Doug Nordman 1:04:03
Absolutely. And you’re keeping this simple because you’re starting with someone who is eight years old. And by the time they’re 16, they might understand more the nuances behind it.
It would warm the cockles of my heart if I started getting questions like that from a 14-year-old, and it would be a chance to have a good conversation about it. But the guarantee is still there. You will have this $5000 because it’s a teachable moment about trust and the results of deferred gratification.
Andrew Chen 1:04:28
At eight years old, did you know that you wanted a car at 16? I keep thinking back when I was eight. I don’t think I had that desire.
I was too young. What would I do with that? How do you make that lesson sink so it’s not abstract?
Carol Pittner 1:04:43
Exactly. One of the things that Mom and Dad did in particular was they did not give me a ride unless it was something already pre-established. I did not get rides to school every day.
First off, you have to remember Hawaii does not have winter. Let’s start there.
And the second thing is that there was a school bus system, so it was easy for me to go to the school bus stop and catch the bus every day. If I didn’t catch the bus, then I would have to pay a penalty to Mom and Dad for them driving me to school.
If I were doing afterschool programs that were in a different location, basketball across the island or something like that, because Mom and Dad were financing that, then they would have an interest for me to get there in time, so they would drive me there.
But let’s say I find out on Friday morning that all my friends are going to this place Friday afternoon, I’m just going to have to find my own ride there. If that meant calling a cab, I could do that.
But if that meant riding my bicycle, which I did more often than that, I would do that. Or even if one of my friends were driving by then, it was “Hey, can I catch a ride with you?”
So, you’re right. As an eight-year-old, you don’t necessarily want your own car. What you want is the freedom that a car gives you, the ability to just walk out to the garage, pop your key in the dash, and just roll out and go wherever you want to go, whenever you want to go.
Doug Nordman 1:05:54
And there’s an amount of selling the dream to an eight-year-old imagining themselves as a 16-year-old driving off to glory in that car that they got from the kid 401(k).
Carol Pittner 1:06:03
And all kids have seen cars everywhere. You see the line to and from school every day. You see all the cars up and down the highway.
You see movies like Cars, and you see all those journey movies that talk about how you’re going from one place to another.
Doug Nordman 1:06:19
And Fast and Furious.
Carol Pittner 1:06:20
And Fast and Furious for the teenagers. But there is a part of you that wants to have that freedom.
Andrew Chen 1:06:27
Related to the 401(k) concept, from the book, it sounds like Carol, you were contributing to a Roth IRA very early. At what age did you start contributing? And Doug, how did you introduce her to the concept of what a Roth IRA even is?
Because it’s really abstract for a kid. It’s 59 and a half. You can’t think that far.
Doug Nordman 1:06:47
It’s an entire lifetime away, but it comes a lot faster than you’d expect.
Carol Pittner 1:06:51
And that was the thing about the kid 401(k). The kid 401(k) was already set in motion when I started my first legal job. The State of Hawaii allows you to work at age 14 for up to four hours a week.
That was all I could do for my first job. It was $6.25 an hour for four hours a week. And I would put 100% of that much to my Roth IRA at the time because I was already doing jobs around the house that I didn’t have to report to the IRS, and I was already earning an allowance that I didn’t have to report to the IRS.
But this official job that had W-2 income, that I could put in a Roth IRA, and that had tax withholding on it, this was real money. This wasn’t an invention by Mom and Dad that was being made between their savings accounts.
Doug Nordman 1:07:33
You had to do real tax returns for this.
Carol Pittner 1:07:35
I had to do real tax returns for this.
Doug Nordman 1:07:37
I’ll point out that this was in 2006. Back then, that was the dark ages for minors having a sub-custody of a Roth IRA. In fact, Fidelity wouldn’t even do it until she turned 18 years old in 2010.
But today, Fidelity will start Roth IRA for anybody, of any age, for any reason. They have become aware of how easy it is to do that. They get a customer for life out of it, and I wish they had realized that way back in 2006.
But the point was she had W-2 income. In our minds, that was a totally legitimate reason to start a Roth IRA.
The other thing we did as parents, we said, “This is too big to screw up.” We all have done that spreadsheet where you show somebody what happens when you make your Roth IRA contributions at a young age and stop at age 30, versus the person who starts at age 25 and still never catches up. You could show those spreadsheets and you could talk about it.
But as a parent, one thing you can absolutely do is you can essentially bribe your kid to contribute all the money that they have as earned income up to $6000, under 2021 rules, to their Roth IRA.
Every year, we made sure that Carol had enough money given to her to maximize the contributions to Roth IRA. I think every year, you got pretty close.
Carol Pittner 1:08:50
I got quite close. I had to go back and look at the amounts for what the maximums were for Roth IRA that year. But because I had other sources of money, because I had the allowance, because I was doing jobs around the house, I could take all that W-2 income and put all of that into my Roth IRA.
Doug Nordman 1:09:06
And maybe you bribe the kid with saying, “We’re just going to gift you the money from Mommy and Daddy.” Maybe you say, “We’ll match every dollar you put in your Roth IRA with a dollar of our own.”
The IRS doesn’t care where that earned income comes from, as long as there is documentation that there’s earned income. Today, we’re much smarter and more experienced at this, and you can start a Roth IRA for a kid of any age, as long as you can pay them justifiably earned income for something that they wouldn’t normally get paid for as a member of the family.
One of the classic examples is paying your toddler granddaughter a modeling fee of $25 an hour for pictures that you use on your website or your social media. That’s a business that I have that I pay self-employment tax on as the author of the book and running the social media to market the book.
Paying that toddler $25 an hour for photos and having that go into Roth IRA, that’s a legitimate expense. That’s a family business. And the tax rules, they all support that.
That is one way to start a Roth IRA at a very young age. Now, arguably, that toddler is not going to earn $6000 in baby modeling fees, but it still could be $1000 a year with just one hour a week.
There are many ways to do that. Again, as amateur investors, as beginning investors, we might overcomplicate that. But I encounter that question all the time on my website and on social media from my audience, so we talk over all the permutations and the options.
But I would say any parent, whenever their kid starts to get their own earned income or their own employment income, W-2 income certainly, they should focus very heavily on contributing to that Roth IRA while they’re in their teens. And the compounding, I think that dramatically accelerated your financial plans.
Carol Pittner 1:10:47
I’m 28 right now, so I’ve already done a whole lifetime since I was 14.
Doug Nordman 1:10:50
Of Roth IRA contributions.
Carol Pittner 1:10:52
We talk about the kid 401(k) being only over eight years. Now we’ve just done another 14 years on my Roth IRA alone, and that’s not counting all the stuff that I’ve been adding to that Roth IRA as an adult. I’m not even working right now.
But because I’m married to somebody, as a spousal IRA, I can do that as well. My husband is putting in $6000 in my IRA. And what I say by “I’m not working” is I spend most of my time at home.
Doug Nordman 1:11:18
She’s just a parent.
Carol Pittner 1:11:20
I spend most of my time at home, but I also have a remote part-time job that I’m working. By no means is that money going to support a household or even enough to really contribute to an IRA. But because I have that relationship, I have that married filing jointly relationship, my IRA is still getting money after all these years.
Doug Nordman 1:11:38
This is what we mean by too big to screw up.
Andrew Chen 1:11:41
So it sounds like you started contributing at 14, if I understood correctly, right?
Doug Nordman 1:11:45
Andrew Chen 1:11:48
I get the “too big to screw up” part. I definitely get it. I share the sentiment.
And you can manufacture earned income so that the kid can contribute. But then, when you do that, they won’t necessarily grok the value of that, unless they really feel it. So, that’s what I’m trying to get at.
Because it is a little bit about that specific contribution, but really, to me, what it is is about the mindset to know that you should prioritize contributing to that because that has the best tax profile by far, and you need to let time work in your favor.
Carol Pittner 1:12:25
You’ve been doing that since this kid was five years old. They were prioritizing getting ice cream from the ice cream truck that only came once a week.
Andrew Chen 1:12:32
But I feel like that’s different because the ice cream is something you eat. Your belly feels good after you eat it. The Roth IRA is like “I’ve got to wait until I’m 60?”
“Retirement? I haven’t even started working. Why am I worried about retirement?”
That feels more abstract. So, how did you do that at 14?
Doug Nordman 1:12:48
It’s all in marketing. You show somebody how, when you were their age, you wish you’d had your Roth IRA. You show the spreadsheet.
They’re 14 years old. They can understand a Roth IRA spreadsheet, and they can see what the contributions do.
If you’re starting even younger, you’re absolutely right, that’s very difficult to make that concrete. It’s very difficult to make that worthwhile. Maybe you just do that behind the scenes and don’t even bother talking to your child about that.
But when they’re teenagers, you can start having that conversation. And the longer you’ve been working on this kind of financial literacy, the longer they have been learning to manage their money and saving it and investing it, the more receptive they are to a way to get free money for retirement. And keep in mind that she was raised in a house of financially independent parents.
Andrew Chen 1:13:30
I want to get to that point because I know in the book, you talked about how every day, Dad drove by with a surfboard, so it was very clear that this is what retirement gets you. But you are still the exception. Most people do not have the ability to retire early.
Carol Pittner 1:13:47
That’s the key. You’re not the only person that’s teaching your child. You’re in charge of them 24 hours of the day, but you’re not around them 24 hours of the day.
They’re learning from their classmates. They’re learning from the local teachers. They’re learning from their coaches.
They’re learning from the neighbors down the street. They’re learning from the church community. They’re learning from what they see on YouTube and TikTok and live TV.
They’re learning from the internet. You’re not the only teacher for your kids. So they’re going to stumble across stories about how Nicolas Cage is having issues with his own estate, or they’re going to run across recessions where they’re listening to all these adults crying on TV about their 401(k) plans suddenly dissolving, and they can’t live happily in retirement.
They’re not just going to see the examples of what the parents are setting at home, but they’re going to see also better and worse examples out in the community of what life could be like. Your family may be financially independent, and they may be supported, but the kids are going to go out in the community and they’re going to see those angry teachers who can’t retire because they still don’t have enough money.
The kids don’t want to be around those teachers, and the teachers don’t want to be there either. But because of this monetary situation, the kids are feeling the same misery that the teacher is feeling.
Andrew Chen 1:05:02
I can see how that would be. That lesson could be especially profound if Dad is really retired and the teacher at school has no path to retirement.
What would you say to the parent who, for whatever reason, they can’t, they don’t want to even early retire, so they’re working a normal, long career, but still they want to teach their kid about the value of contributing to their Roth IRA at 14 or even earlier? How can they role model because they’re not retiring early themselves?
Doug Nordman 1:15:32
But you would again talk about financial security and financial freedom. You’d model the behavior that you want them to eventually start behaving and internalizing on their own.
Maybe you’re going to work a long, traditional career, and you’re going to work until age 67, and then start taking Social Security. But in that case, you would emphasize that you are going to have some savings, you are going to have some quality of life, you’re not going to be a burden to your adult children as you get older and older…
And you’re going to reassure your kids over and over that you’ll be able to take care of your own finances and that your money will last longer than you will. And as kids watch your behavior as an adult and compare it to other behaviors, maybe they are getting worried that they’ve got to take care of mom and dad in their old age. “You’re going to take care of us, but you’re going to have enough money to do it.”
So, those things are designed to reassure a child, but you’re also talking about agency, you’re talking about empowerment, and you’re talking about financial freedom, choices, ways to work in ways that I never even could have imagined when I was in my 40s, and things that my parents and my grandparents never would have imagined in any part of their lives being able to do.
And since she’s been raised in this environment, she’s never even realized that she’s been surrounded by the swimming pool of financial independence. You’re in that environment all the time, and you don’t notice the difference. Now it seems like it’s a normal way of life to her, just being raised among that.
And she has leveraged it even better than we ever did because she never really had a chance to stray too far off the path of learning how to become financially independent. That sandbox got bigger and bigger as she got older, but she had more and more skills, and then the stakes did not get out of hand. So, it’s more achievable when you’re raised that way.
And I would tell parents that if you’re able to save and achieve financial independence and financial freedom, that’s wonderful. But if, for whatever reason, you’re not able to do that, then at least your kids will be reassured that you’ve got choices, financial security, and you’re living a good life, and you’re doing good things.
Carol Pittner 1:17:30
And the other thing is that you’re not the only teacher. You can always use YouTube.
The best thing about the internet nowadays is when, especially in Facebook groups, people would say, “Hey, I’m a parent. I just had a newborn.”
“I don’t know much about money. How do I teach my kids about money?”
You can get on the internet, and you can Google “how to teach kids about money” or “what is an IRA,” and so on and so forth. Because you have this whole portal that one day your teen is going to be able to go in that portal as well, you can pull yourself out of the way for the situations that you’re not able to provide an example in.
Andrew Chen 1:18:05
How should parents handle the question of “How rich are we?” or “How much money does our family make?” when their child inevitably asks?
Carol Pittner 1:18:12
Doug Nordman 1:18:15
I still do that.
Carol Pittner 1:18:17
I’m a full-grown adult and I still ask these numbers. We call it the “big number,” and that’s the net worth of the family.
Doug Nordman 1:18:25
My part of the family, not her part.
Carol Pittner 1:18:26
Exactly. But by no means do you have to share the big number. What you do is you share qualitatively what’s going on.
When the recession was happening, and I was coming home every day, and kids were finding out they were going to have to move out of the neighborhood because their family just lost the house or what have you, I would go home and say, “Are we in trouble?” and they’d say, “No.”
“We can keep the house. We’re going to start some renovations next year. We’re not going to work because we don’t need to.”
“We can still pay for your college. That hasn’t changed.” But here’s all these qualitative things, right?
We didn’t mention how much college costs. We didn’t mention how much renovations were going to cost. We didn’t even talk about rent.
But I’m reassured knowing qualitatively that I still had college and my car and the house, and so forth.
Andrew Chen 1:19:10
Then what happens? Because that may be appropriate at age eight. How does it progress?
Doug Nordman 1:19:17
As they get older, you’re going to know your kids. You’re going to know when they’re ready to talk about that.
I remember there was one day you looked over my shoulder inadvertently when I was working on Quicken, and you saw our net worth, and you’re like, “Holy cow. Is that how much we’re worth?”
And that’s that old line from the situation comedy where you say, “Your mother and I have enough money, but you are still poor.”
But the whole point was “That looks like a lot of money, but we have to spend this much money every year, and we have to make this last for the next 50, 60, or 70 years.” And that’s a teachable moment.
“Yes, it looks like a lot of money. It would make an awesome weekend in Las Vegas. Unfortunately, we have to be adults about this and manage it responsibly for the rest of our lives.”
“And we’ll show you how to do the same with your money when you start earning serious money as an adult.”
Now that you’re in your 20s, this goes way beyond the original idea of money-savvy family kids, but we are talking about estate planning. In our family, to me and my spouse, it makes little sense for her to inherit money in her 60s or her 70s (hopefully when she’s very, very old) from us, so we would like to share some of that inheritance now. So we’re gifting a little bit of money every year.
Now, there’s two things going on behind that. One of them is that we’re gifting the money to make sure that we can give the money away and share a little of our inheritance now while we’re all still around to talk about it, while it still has some impact in your life. Enough to do anything, but not enough to do nothing.
And yet we’re also teaching her how to be comfortable with many more, larger sums of money, so that when that day does come that she inherits, she’s not totally unready and unable to handle a large sum of money, probably a couple million dollars or even more, and that she’s comfortable with that.
It goes even further for disability planning. When your adult child, when your responsible adult has the durable powers of attorney and the permissions and the other things that they need to be able to manage your finances for you, if you end up in a coma or in dementia or some other problem, you’re taken care of. And better still, your adult child doesn’t have that caregiver stress that would occur from having to take care of mom and dad.
I’ve been in a situation where I spent six years caring for my father during his last years of Alzheimer’s, and it was terribly stressful because we never talked about this stuff. It was always “I’m fine. Don’t worry about me.”
Until it happened, and it wasn’t. And I don’t want my eventual caregiver to suffer any of that kind of stress.
I want them to be able to handle it. I want them to understand where all the money is. I want them to have all the power to do the things they need to do to take care of me without stressing themselves out.
Those are the kind of conversations you can have with a young adult in their 20s because you started them out with an allowance when they were four years old, and with a kid 401(k) at the age of eight, and a Roth IRA when they were in their teens. It comes full circle.
Andrew Chen 1:22:05
All right, guys, this has been a tremendous discussion. I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. It was truly a delight.
Where can listeners find out more about both of you and what you’re up to?
Carol Pittner 1:22:19
There’s a website called childfire.com. There’s a few blog articles you can read there. There’s also a roll call of the podcasts and different resources you can access.
And I’m on Facebook. I’m under my own name on Facebook, so you can always reach out to me via message. Between the two of us, we’re in a lot of different financial independence groups.
Doug Nordman 1:22:36
Carol Pittner 1:22:37
So you’ll find us around those circles as well.
Doug Nordman 1:22:40
I’m at The Military Guide. I’ve been doing this for over a decade, so the search engines have rewarded me with the front page for my name, and for the-military-guide.com, and for the book “The Military Guide,” and for “Raising Your Money-Savvy Family.” We’re climbing up the ranks on that one, too.
We’re fairly easy to find. And we answer questions as often as we can, for as many people as we can, because it helps us write better blog posts, and it gives us more book ideas. So, we are happy to answer questions for free.
Andrew Chen 1:23:08
All right, we’ll definitely link to those resources in the show notes. And thanks so much again for spending this time with us. It was very insightful.
Doug Nordman 1:23:14
Absolutely, Andrew. Thanks!
Andrew Chen 1:23:16
Cheers! Take care.
Doug Nordman 1:23:16
I’m glad to be here.
Carol Pittner 1:23:17
We’ve enjoyed this, too.
Doug Nordman 1:23:18