• Kids and Money

    Stocks and Bonds for Kids

    Parents want the best for their kids. You want to teach them how to be successful and a large part of their success involves financial literacy. You know by now that I am a huge fan of talking about money. Talk to your partner. Talk to your kids. Talk to your parents. This article I wrote for Richmond Family Magazine is a primer on stocks and bonds. It's useful for parents and kids. Let me know what you think. What money topics do you want me to tackle in a kid-friendly way? How did the conversation go at your house?  

  • Kids and Money

    How to Talk About Money with your Kids

    Many people would rather talk about sex, death or politics instead of money. We all know how often we talk about those topics, so how many conversations are we having around money with our kids? In the words of Jay-Z "zip zero, stingy with dinero." OK, that may be a slight exaggeration but the power of societal taboos around money are strong. I wrote this article for Richmond Family Magazine to help parents navigate these potentially tricky and sometimes awkward conversations.

  • College,  Kids and Money,  Planning,  Savings

    Don’t make this tax mistake: 529 account edition

    A lot of people don't realize this but (real) financial planners review client tax returns as part of the financial planning process. This helps us point out ways to help clients save money on taxes, correct errors, or identify an investment manager that may be churning (trading frequently) or simply generating a lot of taxable gains and dividends.  One frequent Virginia state income tax deduction that many VA 529 account owners forget involves VA 529 plan contributions. Don't make this same mistake!  Check out this video (please ignore the ridiculous thumbnail image...) and find out how you might save more money on your VA state income taxes! **This is not…

  • College,  Kids and Money,  Savings

    Maximize Your Virginia 529 Plan

    How can I maximize my tax-savings using a Virginia 529 account? What happens if my kid gets a scholarship? These are the kinds of questions I frequently hear from parents as they start saving for college.The Virginia 529 College Savings plan is pretty straightforward (especially after you read my post about the VA 529 plan that breaks it all down for you here!). However, there are a couple nuances that parents and other family members should be aware of to maximize their 529 account.Let's review four things about the Virginia 529 Plan that you will definitely want to know!VA 529: What Changed Under The 2017 Tax Law?Prior to the passage…

  • College,  Kids and Money,  Savings

    Which Virginia 529 Plan Is Best?

    You’re ready to start saving for college. You go to sign up for a Virginia 529 College Savings Plan, but are immediately faced with a decision about which plan is the right one for you. Or maybe you have been pitched some expensive-looking mutual funds or a life insurance policy from a broker but you just aren’t sure that’s the right path for you. No worries. Today we’re going to dive into the three Virginia 529 College Savings Plans so you can make an informed decision about what’s best for you and your family. In no particular order, let’s get started. Virginia 529 Option #1: Invest529 The Invest529 is the…

  • Kids and Money

    Should Your Kid Earn an Allowance?

    Parents want to know, should my kid earn an allowance by completing chores? A lot of us were raised that way but it may not be the best choice. Check out this quick video for my thoughts on giving an allowance and tying it to chores plus teaching your kids about money.  I think giving an allowance is a great way to teach kids about money. Yet parents don't always use this tool as well as they could. Want to learn more about giving your kids an allowance? Read Is It Time To Give Your Kid An Allowance? for more tips on how to teach your kid to manage money.Not quite…

  • Kids and Money,  Savings

    Can An Allowance Teach My Kid To Save?

    When parents start giving allowance we all dream of that moment when our kid says “Mom, will you put this in my college savings account? I want to prepare for the future” …no, just me? OK, well financial planners aside, I think it’s safe to say that we at least want our kids to not spend all of their money at one time on beef jerky. How can parents teach their kids to save? As you know from my previous post, I’m a big fan of giving an allowance. Allowance can be a powerful, hands-on tool for kids to practice making saving and spending decisions without making expensive credit mistakes.…

  • Budgeting,  Kids and Money

    Giving Your Kid An Allowance (is it time?)

    Should I give my kid an allowance? When? How much? Parenting seems like a never ending decision tree that starts during pregnancy and ends...never. Most parents I talk to have the same basic goals for their kids. Many parents want to raise kids who are “good with money.” One tool parents can use to teach kids how to handle money is allowance. Today we are going to talk about giving an allowance (or not), earning it, spending it and saving it. There is a lot more emotion tied up in how we handle money than first meets the eye. Parents can begin by identifying what values they want to pass…

  • College,  Kids and Money,  Planning

    How To Talk About Student Loan Debt With Your Teen

    Feeling overwhelmed about the high cost of college? You’re not alone. A 2016 study Citizens Financial Group survey said that 57% of millennials wished they hadn’t borrowed so much money to attend college. This statistic leaves parents in a difficult position. Selecting a college tends to be a highly individualized and stressful situation for the student (and their family). We want to support our children’s choices, but we also want to make sure our children’s choices are as informed as possible.Talking to our kids about their choice of college can become even more confounding when you consider this tidbit from a 2014 study by Citizens Financial Group: 46% of students…

  • Employee Benefits,  Kids and Money

    Dependent Care FSAs: The Employee Benefit Parents Shouldn’t Skip

    Do you have a kid under 13? Do you pay someone to watch them so you (and your spouse) can work? You may be eligible for a Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account (this is separate from your Healthcare Flexible Spending Account ). Childcare is a huge drain on many families’ budget but few families seem to know about or take advantage of this employee benefit. In this post we will go over the who, what, why, and how of Dependent Care Flexible Spending Accounts so you can make the best decision for your family and possibly save some serious money. What is a Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account? OK, first,…