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Are You Trash Talking Taxes With Your Kids?

Spend, Save, Give, Tax Jars

“@#$%&!* taxes!”

Is that the extent of the “discussion” you have with your kids about taxes each year?

You’re not alone. Most of us send exclusively negative tax messages to our kids with our subtle or not-so-subtle demeanor throughout the filing season. At minimum, kids in a typical family might overhear an expletive or two (or ten!) reverberating throughout the house in the days leading up to the universally despised April 15th deadline.

Expletives aside, have you ever taken the time to really explain what taxes are all about? Can you blame your kid for thinking that taxes are just some vague evil thing that make mom and dad grumpy? We’re doing our kids a disservice when we keep them in the dark about the what and why of taxes and how to handle them. Need more convincing? Check out Neale Godfrey’s thoughtful piece in Forbes: Life Is Taxing... Teaching Your Kids Real Financial Facts.

Here are a few ideas for shedding some light on taxes for your kids:

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Does Your Kid Have The Bad Money Gene?

Will there be a DNA test for the bad money gene?

Perhaps you’ve heard of behavioral economics — the study of the role psychological, social, cognitive, and emotional factors play in economic decisions. It explains why we’re such suckers for those cleverly worded BOGO offers and other sneaky marketing tricks. Our emotions, stereotypes, and rules-of-thumb interfere with our ability to make strictly logical financial decisions.

But what about our genetic makeup? How do our genes influence our financial decision making? That’s what the emerging field of neuroeconomics is all about. Can you blame your kid’s lousy money behavior on his 5-HTTLPR gene? Maybe a little. Check out Your Genes Might Affect Your Credit Score to see how a Stanford University study linked variations in a specific gene to riskier financial decisions and lower FICO scores.

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The How-Not-To Manual on Spoiling Your Kids and 10 Other Hot Family Finance Topics

Bill's Copy of The Opposite of Spoiled Signed by Ron Lieber

The How-Not-To Manual on Spoiling Your Kids

We all want to raise kids who are grounded, generous, and smart about money, right?

Yep. Just show us the manual!

Well, as of last week, you can pick up an excellent one courtesy of Ron Lieber, the personal finance columnist for The New York Times. It’s called The Opposite of Spoiled.