81 Money Lessons Your Kids Will Wish You Had Taught Them 25 Years From Now

Money Lessons Your Kids Wish You Had Taught Them 25 Years From Now

How can we as parents know we’re teaching our kids the right things about money? That’s a tough question. There’s lots of potential ground to cover, and it can be hard to cull out what’s truly important.

What if you could jump in a time machine, set the dial forward 25 years, blast into the future, and ask your children — now grown adults — what they wish they had learned from you about money? Answers in hand, you could just travel back in time and make sure you carefully covered those bases.

Obviously, that’s not going to happen, but I might have the next best thing for you. What if you could corral a whole bunch of thoughtful, accomplished, even famous adults and collect their answers to the following question:

What is the one thing you wish you had learned about money growing up?

Sounds like a lot of work. Fortunately, Farnoosh Torabi is already doing it for you. Every week day, she poses precisely that question to a new featured guest on So Money, her award-winning financial podcast.

In fact, just last week I was in the hot seat as the guest on episode 136.

My answer? Diversification, especially through index funds. (Although, in my parent’s defense, index funds weren’t even invented until Jack Bogle created the first one in the mid 70s when I was already in middle school.) Trying to pick and trade individual stocks rarely beats simply buying and holding an index. I wish every kid learned that in school.

My bonus answer: dollar cost averaging versus trying to time the market. That means investing at regular intervals with a consistent amount. No matter what happens, you’re bound to buy low at least some of the time. The technique removes emotion from the equation and inevitably yields strong returns over the long haul. Kids need to learn that emotion and investing are rarely a profitable mix.

You can hear the rest of my answers to Farnoosh’s So Money questions here.

What about the other 80 guests who answered the question before me? What do they wish they had known about money growing up? Here’s the complete list. Their diverse perspectives contain numerous unique pearls of wisdom while echoing a few very strong recurring themes. Dig in!

  1. Jean Chatzky (@JeanChatzky) from Episode 2
    Financial Editor, NBC Today Show

    I wish I’d known more about investing in stocks earlier.

  2. Robert Kiyosaki (@therealkiyosaki) from Episode 8
    Author of International Best Seller “Rich Dad Poor Dad”

    Every time I lose money, it’s because something I did not know. So, like I didn’t know I was such a sucker. I thought my CFO was an honest guy but he wasn’t. We’ve all had our disappointments in friends. We trust somebody and they disappoint you. A lesson I’ve learned over time is that from every bad person has come a good person. Like, this one guy I was doing business with. It turned out he went to jail. You know, holy mackerel, how come? He was honest, he was handsome, he had all the credentials, he went to Harvard, and he got taken off to jail. Holy mackerel. I never would have guessed, a family man with kids. But, from him, I met my best partners. And, you don’t know they’re good or bad until times are bad.

  3. Rebecca Jarvis (@rebeccajarvis) from Episode 9
    ABC News Chief Business and Economics Correspondent

    I wish I had learned it grows on trees. No, I’m just kidding. I can’t answer that. I’m sincere in this, because I think my mom did a really good job.

  4. Danielle LaPorte (@daniellelaporte) from Episode 10
    Inspirational Speaker, Business Strategist, Blogger

    I wish I had learned about compound interest.

  5. Dave Asprey (@bulletproofexec) from Episode 11
    Author of “The Bulletproof Diet”

    I wish I had known growing up that I’ll always be able to make money, and this is true of everyone. There was so much fear around money that was unnecessary. I just wish I had known to treat it as something that I can get more of and something that I can use for a greater good, and if I had known that, I think I would have approached it differently.

  6. Kate Northrup (@katenorthrup) from Episode 12
    Author of “Money: A Love Story”

    The more we put our attention on it, the more it grows. I had this idea growing up that if you just do enough affirmations, the money thing will take care of itself. I think it was because I was raised in a relatively spiritual household that was a little bit new-agey woo-woo. It turns out that you also need to have a spending plan, and meet with your accountant, and do your bookkeeping, and track your expenses. So, I wish I had known that there’s also an energetic value of paying attention to our money, and then that could be a spiritual practice as well.

  7. J.D. Roth (@jdroth) from Episode 15
    Founder of GetRichSlowly.org

    Money is not the source of happiness. Money can’t buy happiness. It’s true that wealthier nations tend to be happier than poorer nations, and there’s a certain level of financial security you need in order to not be at risk for health crises and so on. But once you reach a certain basic level of income, having more money really doesn’t increase your happiness that much. And, now that I’ve reached a state where I’m actually financially independent, once I reached that state it became very clear that I am responsible for my own happiness and I always have been and I just hadn’t realized that. You just can’t buy happiness with money. That’s not how it works.

  8. Leanne Jacobs (@leannemjacobs) from Episode 16
    Money and Lifestyle Strategist

    I wish I had learned to ask for money.

  9. Jacki Zehner (@jackizehner) from Episode 17
    First Female Trader Made Partner at Goldman Sachs

    I wish I grew up knowing about the investment side of money. I’ve lucked into it, frankly, but I didn’t know anything, never took any classes, and it’s not what my parents did.

  10. Stephanie Burns (@stephanieaburns) from Episode 18
    Founder and CEO of Chic CEO

    I wish I had learned the damage you can do with credit cards.

  11. Brittney Castro (@brittneycastro) from Episode 19
    Founder & CEO of Financially Wise Women

    I wish I had learned it’s okay to enjoy money. I would say, up until just last year, I’ve just been such this future saver, gotta save everything.

  12. Dr. Greg Wells (@drgregwells) from Episode 22
    Scientist, author, athlete

    I wish I had bought real estate earlier. There was an opportunity when I was in my early twenties to buy some property, and I didn’t do it. That’s probably the biggest mistake that I’ve made in my life. Buy real estate early and invest early, early, early, early and often.

  13. Melinda Emerson (@SmallBizLady) from Episode 23
    America’s #1 Small Business Expert

    I wish I had understood how important it is to check your partner’s credit score. I wish I had understood how important it is to understand how your partner views money and money issues, because that is such a huge conflict area. The passion and love part of relationships is the easy part. The money part is what gets hard, and you really need to understand your partner’s money habits, your partner’s credit, how your partner values money, and makes money decisions. Those are things you need to get the fine print on.

  14. Dan Schawbel (@danschawbel) from Episode 24
    Founder of Millennial Branding

    Money can be compounded, and even a few dollars made when you’re really young can turn into a lot of money later in life.

  15. Tom Corley (@richhabits) from Episode 26
    Bestselling Author of “Rich Habits”

    Live below your means. I wish somebody somewhere told me that. Everywhere, I was surrounded by wealthy people. We were poor but everybody was wealthy, so that topic never came up.

  16. Rachel Cruze (@RachelCruze) from Episode 29
    Bestselling Author

    Life gets very expensive the older you get. I think I was semi prepared for it. But, when you’re sitting there and writing insurance checks and property tax and all these checks every month and every year, life is just expensive.

  17. Soroya Darabi (@zady) from Episode 30
    Co-Founder of Zady.com

    One thing I wish I knew about money growing up is that it compounds, and I wish that someone had taught me more about what savings really mean and basic financial vernacular. These are things that sometimes you learn in economics classes in high schools, but not all high schools have them. I was raised by a single mother who is many things. She’s a genius and she’s an intellectual, but being interested in finance is not one of the characteristics I would use to describe her. So I had to sort of learn about money by getting jobs, and oftentimes, being paid check by check. But it was probably not even until five years after college that I opened up an IRA, and started investing some of my savings into a 401k, into stocks and bonds. And now I’m bullish on it, I’ve studied it and I’m very proud of my little portfolio. But something I wish I had learned early on is that basic vocabulary of finance. I think you can teach kids this vocabulary as early as eight or nine.

  18. Maxine Bedat (@zady) from Episode 30
    Co-Founder of Zady.com

    I took a lot of accounting and business school classes, and I’m really happy that I did that. That’s definitely a feeling of empowerment that seems pretty rudimentary and basic, and should be a part of our education. It’s not something that has to be scary. I’m sure there are very basic books that you can feel you just understand the language, and that’s really empowering.

  19. Les Gold (@lesHCP) from Episode 31
    Star of Hardcore Pawn on TruTV

    I wish I learned how important it was to have a financial executive helping you make some decisions. You know, one thing I’d never done is had a financial adviser until recently. I wish I would have done that sooner.

  20. Michael Parrish Dudell (@notoriousMPD) Episode 32
    Author, entrepreneur, consultant

    I wish I had learned about investing. I’m not great at investing. I don’t have money invested, really at all. It’s something that I don’t know a lot about. It’s something that I don’t know a lot about, outside of just from a theoretical and philosophical point of view. I’m not an active investor, and I probably should be.

  21. Barbara Stanny (@barbarastanny) from Episode 33
    Money Coach and Author

    It’s so much easier and it’s so much more fun than I ever expected. Once I got over my fear and once I got over my belief that there are certain secrets that smart people (i.e. men) know, it’s been tremendous fun. It’s been such a fun experience for me. I’m just getting ready to teach a class on investing, and I am so excited. I want everyone to realize how fun it can be when you get past your fear.

  22. Mr. Money Mustache (@mrmoneymustache) from Episode 38
    Founder of MrMoneyMustache.com

    Maybe one thing I would say is I wish I had known that money quickly goes from shortage to surplus, so you can relax about it when you’re younger. You should still do smart stuff, but you should be aware that you are building a really happy, powerful surplus that is going to change the rest of your life. Some role models in this area might help people. The problem is most of the role models who became wealthy through just being reasonable with money are pretty quiet. They don’t usually show up on TV. We just get the role models of people who came into a big pot of money like a sports figure, an actor or a business entrepreneur and that’s not an accurate picture. That’s just a tiny percentage of the wealthy people. Most of the wealthy people got there by just plain old earning, reasonable salary, and spending less than they earn, like lot less than they earned. It gets you to the same place. It’s good to understand both ways to do it.

  23. Ryan Levesque from Episode 39
    Marketing Expert and Business Coach

    The fastest way to make a million dollars is to spend 2 million dollars. What I mean by that is one of the biggest regrets that I’ve had in business is that I was slower to hire and outsource and build my team than I was. So, we have a team that’s about 15 approaching 20 people now in our company and for the first several years, it was just my wife and me. We were literally the ones doing everything: putting labels on packages while watching stuff on Netflix on the floor of our apartment originally and eventually our house. We just didn’t outsource, and I didn’t appreciate that statement until recently. If you want to grow and you want to build your business, you have to invest and invest in it. We bootstrapped our business, started with 500 bucks and parlayed that into really what is a multimillion dollar company.

  24. Amanda Steinberg (@AmandaSteinberg) from Episode 40
    ounder of DailyWorth.com

    It’s not how much you earn but how much you save, damn it. God, I wish I’d learned that young.

  25. J. Money (@BudgetsareSexy) from Episode 43
    Financial Blogger

    There’s an unlimited resource to it, but you can’t be really greedy and try and get it all. Someone mentioned “if you earn money, does that mean someone else loses that money? Does it like always equal out in the end?” It’s a really interesting question. I’ve never thought about that and, of course, it’s not true. You can always get money, but it’s not what’s important in life.

  26. Manisha Thakor (@ManishaThakor) from Episode 44
    Founder of MoneyZen.com

    Chasing after money can become a false God as your metric of success. It’s like stepping into a pot of honey that you just can’t get yourself out of. One of my key money goals in my life was to earn and save and invest enough so that I could live off my interest and dividends. I’m not saying that from an anti-money perspective, but I think what happens is in the pursuit of money we disassociate from ourselves and we also disassociate from one of the best parts if not perhaps the whole meaning of life, which is joy and happiness. And so, I feel like money is best used as a tool to make a difference in the world, which is also another way of increasing personal happiness.

  27. Chris Ducker (@ChrisDucker) from Episode 45
    Entrepreneur and Author of “Virtual Freedom”

    I wish I had learned money never goes as far as you think it’s going to.

  28. Linda Descano (@lindadescano) from Episode 50
    Head of Content and Social Media at Citigroup

    One thing I wish I had known about money: attitude is everything. It took me a while to understand that it’s not about the stuff but about the experience.

  29. Rick Edelman (@ricedelman) from Episode 52
    Founder and CEO of Edelman Financial Services

    I wish I had truly understood compound growth and the importance of investing in the stock market.

  30. Shama Hyder (@Shama) from Episode 54
    CEO and founder of the Marketing Zen Group

    I wish I had started saving even earlier. I don’t feel like I really started saving until I got out of school and I think it would have been smart — even putting a little bit away. It’s not a habit my parents cultivated, because my parents were not big savers in that way. They were more like “live for the moment,” which is a great philosophy in itself, but I do wish I started saving sooner.

  31. Nicole Lapin (@nicolelapin) from Episode 57
    Author, “Rich B*tch”

    It’s not about couponing and nickel and diming yourself. If you actually earn more money, you don’t need to save more money.

  32. Lauren Greutman (@markandlaureng) from Episode 58
    Co-founder of markandlaureng.com

    I wish I had learned that you should work for it. I never worked for money ever, until I got married.

  33. Robert Coorey (@robertcoorey) from Episode 59
    Online Marketing Expert

    I wish I had learned how to make it grow on trees.

  34. Michael O’Neal (@Solohour) from Episode 61
    Host of Solopreneur Hour Podcast

    Man, this is when I wish I could just talk to my parents and go, “Really, you didn’t tell me any of this at all?” It’s that money is way more important than I ever gave it credit for. It’s that the attitude that “money can’t buy happiness” is probably BS, because it certainly gives you a leg up on happiness. I’ll tell you. It gets you down the road. I think that it’s important enough at an early age. I look at some of these investors and how they tell you to invest early. I wish my dad had said to the 22-year old me, “Look, just put 150 bucks a month away and forget about it.” Even if I had just done that, now that I’m 43, it would have been a pretty colossal sum of cash. But, I didn’t know that enough.

  35. John Lee Dumas (@johnleedumas) from Episode 64
    Host of EntrepreneurOnFire

    I wish I had learned the power of compound interest. I definitely heard my father talking about it, but I didn’t get it so I didn’t understand it until later in life.

  36. Susan Beacham (@susanbeacham) from Episode 65
    Creator of the Money Savvy Pig

    I wish I had an even fuller appreciation of the impact of compound saving. So, I did the right thing because I listened to Susan when she told me, “Invest in the 401K.” But, did I drop too much money at Marshall Field’s? Yeah, probably. I could have put more in savings. Hindsight is 20/20, and I recognize that. But when I’m teaching first graders, I focus on teaching about the power of time and money.

  37. Gretchen Rubin (@gretchenrubin) from Episode 66
    Author of “The Happiness Project”

    I wish I had known more about compound interest. Compound interest is very powerful, and the younger you are, the more important it is. It took me a while to realize, “Wow! that is really a big deal!”

  38. Jamie Tardy (@eventualmillion) from Episode 67
    Business Coach and Author of “The Eventual Millionaire”

    Money is a game. You can learn the skills to make it better. It’s just like leveling up in a video game. As you start getting better and better and better, you need to play the game more and more and more. You can learn to do that, and I didn’t realize it. I kept thinking the circumstances were affecting me, when I can really change my own circumstances.

  39. Jeff Olson (@jeffolson_) from Episode 68
    Founder and CEO of Nerium International

    I wish I had known money was in abundance. It was everywhere, and you had to figure out how to get to it. I grew up with a scarcity mindset, and I didn’t realize that money’s there for you. I was almost afraid of it until I finally broke through. Seeing that dollars opened doors for me in college, I started realizing it was the pathway in many other ways. Instead of seeing it as a necessity to survive, I saw it as an opportunity to thrive more than anything else. That was my breakthrough.

  40. David Pottruck (@davidpottruck) from Episode 71
    Chairman of HighTower Advisors

    I wish I had learned how to do a startup. I would have loved to have done a startup when I was younger. I had no idea. How does one raise money? Who do you go to?

  41. Kabir Sehgal (@HiKabir) from Episode 73
    NYT Bestselling Author of “Coined”

    I wish I had known more about stock markets. my folks weren’t really into the markets, so the stock market was a very foreign idea. I wish I had known more about company fundamentals and what moves the stock earlier in life. Even in high school it would have been nice to have taken an economics course.

  42. Paul Sullivan (@sullivanpaul) from Episode 74
    Author of “The Thin Green Line”

    One thing I should have known about money growing up is that money is just a means of exchange. That’s all money is. The more money you have, the more you can buy. The less money you have, the less you can buy. But, it doesn’t mean you’re a better person. It doesn’t mean you’re somehow lacking if you have less of it. It’s no judgement on your intelligence. Unfortunately, I grew up in a place and a time and a set of circumstances in which money carried so much more weight. Money had all of these psychological connotations — all this baggage to it. Finally at 42, I look at it and realize money is just a means of exchange. If I could drill that into everybody — particularly people who think that the car they drive or the house they have means something more than “it’s a nice car” and “it’s a nice house.” Money is just a means of exchange. That’s one thing I definitely wish I had known earlier on.

  43. Marni Battista (@marnibattista) from Episode 75
    Dating and Relationship Expert

    I wish I had known that money is not personal.

  44. Frank Curzio (@FrankCurzio) from Episode 78
    Stock Expert

    I wished I understood the value of a dollar more as a kid. I’m trying to teach my kids that too because I’ve spoiled my kids just like everybody else. You try not to, but you love seeing that happy face, right? It’s so hard when you hear, “Oh, let me get this,” and you know they’re gonna play with it for like three days. I don’t know. That’s actually a pretty good question. I think you got me a little stumped on that one.

  45. Ryan Lee (@_ryanlee) from Episode 79
    Serial Entrepreneur

    That it’s abundant because I think my Dad was so conservative he was pushing me “Hey, Ryan, just stay as a teacher, you know, you’ll make a little bit more each year.

  46. Tiffany Aliche (@TheBudgetnista) from Episode 80
    The Budgetnista

    I wish I had learned how to invest.

  47. Bern Mendez (@yourgreatlifetv) from Episode 81
    Relationship Expert

    I wish I had learned that the sooner you add value and you make it about someone else versus yourself, the sooner you start making money.

  48. Mandi Woodruff (@mandiwoodruff) from Episode 82
    Personal Finance Correspondent, Yahoo!

    I wish I had known the answer to “What is a 401K?” Also, I wish I had known how to make more money. No one ever tells you. People tell you how to save it, but no one really tells you how to make more, how to negotiate, what to invest in, how to build your career, how to talk to the right people. I think that’s the kind of information that I’m hungry for.

  49. Ramit Sethi (@ramit) from Episode 85
    Author of the New York Times bestseller, “I Will Teach You To Be Rich”

    One thing I wish I had known about money growing up is paying for something doesn’t mean that you’re necessarily getting ripped off or that you’re shallow. It means that if you can afford it and you value it, get it. This was a huge realization for me. I don’t know if it’s just my parents or my family or my culture, or just the way I kind of absorb things. There’s this belief with a lot of people that if you’re paying for something, you’re getting ripped off. Why should you pay for that online course? You could just find it for free. I mean people love to say that. And, I just think, “What a short sided view.” I mean do you know how many people e-mail me? “Ramit, I’m deciding between these two books. Can you give me 250 words on each so I can make a decision?” I’m like, “Ramit’s number 1 rule of book buying: if you see a book that even remotely looks interesting, buy it.” Ten dollars and you get access to an author’s best thinking. I mean, come on. You will see me talking about these frugalistas or, even worse, extreme cheapskates who just always focus on cost. My belief is, “Look, if you can afford it and you value it, get it.” In fact, if you want $500 shoes, I will show you how to make enough to do it and you can buy them guilt free.

  50. Jeff Kreisler (@jeffkreisler) from Episode 86
    Award-winning comedian

    I wish I had learned that money isn’t just there. It doesn’t just appear on a tree outside your house. You have to do a little bit of the hard work yourself to make sure it’s there. You have to plant the tree to have the money be there.

  51. Jo-Na Williams (@JWilliamsEsq) from Episode 87
    Entertainment Attorney

    The one thing I wish I had known about money was how to save it. When I was younger, I really lived my life as kind of like a cash life. It was basically like: money goes in, money gets spent, money goes in, money gets spent. That’s how I was for a very long time. I wish that I had been either taught or guided in the way of understanding how to save money.

  52. Paula Rizzo (@listproducer) from Episode 89
    Author of “Listful Thinking”

    I wish I had learned how to make money faster.

  53. Dr. Corey Allan (@simplemarriage) from Episode 93
    Family Therapist

    I wish I had learned about all the good money can do — just seeing what it can really do for somebody else. We were really in our low points as far as after the business went under and we were struggling. We had a couple of times where we honestly had conversations of “Okay, what bill needs to be paid next month and what can be passed on?” It was during those times that a friend would anonymously drop money off, or a family member would say “Hey, I’ve been thinking of you guys here,” and they would give us exactly what we needed. So, it’s just how much good money can do.

  54. Laura Adams (@LauraAdams) from Episode 94
    Author of “Money Girl’s Smart Moves to Grow Rich”

    I wish that I had known there was so much opportunity. As a child I was very focused on: “what’s my career going to be? What’s the one thing that I’m going to do?” It stressed me out a little bit. I wasn’t one of those people that said, “I want to be X, Y, Z,” as soon as I was 7 or 8 years old. I didn’t have a career. People would ask me “What do you want to do?” I didn’t know. I think if I had realized back then that it was okay to do a lot of different things and it was okay not to have one specific career — I didn’t have to be a doctor or a dentist, it was okay just to not know and see where things go — I would have felt a little more at peace. So, that’s a great message for a lot of young kids. If you don’t know what you want to be when you grow up, that’s okay.

  55. Jesse Mecham (@ynab) from Episode 95
    Founder and CEO of YouNeedABudget.com

    There’s only one thing that I honestly wish I had known about money. I wish I would’ve spent more, because I’m naturally a saver. I wish I would’ve spent more money on a wedding photographer. We were trying to save a dime. There are times when that is not important. That was one of those times.

  56. Jenni Pulos (@JenniPulos) from Episode 96
    Actress and Producer

    I wish I’d learned that money can’t fulfill you in certain ways. I looked at it like, as many of us do, if I have X amount of money, that will make a happier, better life. Ultimately it’s not true. Money cannot define you. It’s lovely and it can afford so many things, but it isn’t that wider deeper thing in your life. It’s definitely a good thing, but I also think people who are blessed with having a lot of money need to give. They have to pay it forward with charity. I see friends that I know who have been very successful and are very generous. I think that is a must. So, the more that I hope to make, the more I want to be able to give to others. A lot of people get a lot of money and then they still feel empty. I think that there’s a balance there, because you don’t want to make money an obsession. Like anything else, it can become that.

  57. Zac Bissonnette (@ZacBissonnette) from Episode 99
    Author of “The Great Beanie Baby Bubble”

    I think the stuff I learned about money growing up was very real and very good. I think it was because my parents lacked the self-awareness to really shield us from the issues as much they knew should have. But, in hindsight, it was probably good. And I then think — and this is what Ron’s book is about — when you hide your kids from money issues, it often is not good. There’s a lot of learning to be had there.

  58. Tim Sykes (@timothysykes) from Episode 100
    Pro Investor and Founder of Profit.ly

    I wish I had known that it’s just a lot more interesting and a lot more advantageous to you, to really respect the journey of acquiring the money, rather than just getting money itself. I really am not a fan of the lotto, where it’s based on luck, your odds are terrible, and you don’t learn much. I am a huge, huge, huge fan of trying to make money, no matter how, whether it’s through trading, investing real estate, or just saving. It’s all about the journey. No one really ever told me that. I thought that once I had a lot of money, I would be so happy. Bbut when I look back at what makes me happiest throughout my entire journey, it’s the quest. It’s the climb. It’s the grind. More people should be interested in that, even though it’s not always fun. Sometimes during the grind, you mess up and you lose, and you’re not sure if you can get back up. That whole experience just makes you stronger, wiser, and a better person.

  59. Dan Price (@DanPriceSeattle) from Episode 101
    Founder & CEO of Gravity Payments

    I wish I had known that money is not as important as it seems.

  60. Kathleen King (@TatesBakeShop) from Episode 103
    Founder of Tate’s Bake Shop

    It’s astounding to me how some people, when they have money, actually think they’re better than somebody else. That’s a shocking realization that I’ve been able to unfortunately witness — especially growing up and then working in a wealthy community.

  61. Steve Stewart (@MoneyPlanSOS) from Episode 106
    Founder of MoneyPlan SOS

    I wish I had learned about compound interest! Ah! If I had known what that was, I know I wouldn’t have spent all my money on glazed donuts and Mountain Dew.

  62. Stefanie O’Connel (@brokeandbeau) from Episode 107
    Author of “The Broke and Beautiful Life”

    I wish I knew how expensive the mundane stuff was. Every time I order like toilet paper or paper towels, or all this stuff, it blows my mind how expensive it is. I just wish I knew to be prepared to spend all my money on what is gonna be really the mundane.

  63. David Stein (@jdstein) from Episode 108
    Creator of “Money For the Rest of Us”

    We happened to have a home with a $125 mortgage payment. I knew we didn’t have money, but I wish I had been more empathetic to my mom not knowing where the next dollar was coming from. I think I could have been more helpful. I mean, I was a good kid, but as a kid you’re a kid, right? When you’re an adult and you’re thinking things you wish you would have known. I wish I could have been more adult-like as a kid. Shown more empathy. I did help. I had to raise money for the water bill. So I helped, but I might have done it more willingly had I known exactly how little income we actually had. That’s one thing I’ve done with my kids. When we talk about annual budget, they know how much money we have and what we spend. When we traveled to Europe and Asia we showed them, “Alright, this is what it cost to travel.” My son realized it was a lot of money. So he went back to Japan and learned to travel on $1,500 for two months.

  64. Valerie Rind (@ValerieRind) from Episode 109
    Author of “Gold Diggers and Deadbeat Dads”

    I wish I’d known that it was actually unusual to have no debt. It was unusual not to have a mortgage and car loans and how important that was for your finances. I just kinda thought that the way my family was was the way the rest of the world was. And it wasn’t until much later I could see that the rest of the world didn’t work that way. Most people did have mortgages. I remember when I paid off the Volkswagen Beetle, a boyfriend at the time said, “Wow, I’ve never known anybody who paid off their auto-loan.” It was just stunning to me that people considered that an auto-loan was just something that you always had.

  65. Jeffrey Zurofsky (@jeffreyzurofsky) from Episode 110
    Restaurateur & CEO of ’wichcraft

    I wish I’d been taught to be a little more detached from money.

  66. Cat Alford (@BudgetBlonde) from Episode 113
    Money Guru & Founder of BudgetBlonde

    I just wish I knew a lot more about investing growing up. I would’ve started in college, I would’ve started with my side jobs in college. I wouldn’t have started at 25. I would’ve started at 18 for sure, if not sooner.

  67. Beverly Harzog (@beverlyharzog) from Episode 114
    Author of “The Debt Escape Plan”

    I wish I had just known the basics of: if you spend more money than you make, you’re going to be in debt.

  68. Simon Cunningham (@LendingMemo) from Episode 115
    Founder of LendingMemo Media

    I wish I had learned about earning power. I grew up in a family where frugality was emphasized above the ability to earn. That’s good because the secret to financial health is spend less than you earn. So let’s be honest, like 90% of Americans spend way more than they’re supposed to and need to reduce their quality of living. I think that you can have a great quality of living with very little money. But one thing that probably didn’t learn as much is to take on a second job, take on a third job. Do it with peace. Make sure you’re mentally healthy. I’m a big fan of therapy myself. One of the most beautiful things about this country America is that there’s so much potential to make money in this country. If you’ve ever lived overseas, you know. I lived in East Africa for 3 years, and the red tape and bureaucracy to try to start business and the economies in these other countries are very difficult. So it is a huge benefit and privilege to live in this country. I don’t want to get all like red-blooded American on you or anything, but I do believe that this is a land of opportunity. Just try to get out there and get another job. Do something on the side. There’s this blog I read called Gen-Y Finance Guy, and he just recently had a blog post called “The Anatomy of the Side Hustle”. That is exactly what I wish so many of my friends would pick up — the side hustle. It’s a beautiful concept. And boy, it’s so much better when I see people working on a side hustle and they’re making $25-$30/hr versus clipping coupons till late in the night making what? 25 cents/hr?

  69. Dr. Brad Klontz (@DrBradKlontz) from Episode 116
    Financial Psychologist

    I wish I had been taught about investing, and just the basics around: “This is an outline or a goal for how you become wealthy.” That was something that was utterly lacking in my family. We had a lot of tools and structures for staying poor.

  70. Jen Hemphill (@jenhemphilll) from Episode 117
    Money Coach & Entrepreneur

    I wish I had learned how much your mindset affects how you treat your money.

  71. Bill Rancic (@billrancic) from Episode 120
    Winner, “The Apprentice” & Entrepreneur

    I wish I had learned that you have to respect it, and you have to appreciate it, and you have to be smart with it.

  72. Crystal Hammond (@crystalh8725) from Episode 121
    Founder of SophisticatedSpender.com

    I really wish I would’ve known that nobody’s perfect. If people were more honest, we’d find a lot of times we’re all going through the same thing — that’s one of the reasons I started to blog too. We’re either in a process of messing up our credit, fixing our credit, or building it and making it better. So if more people knew we were are all in the same boat talking about it, we would get better faster or avoid a lot of the mistakes.

  73. Todd Tresidder (@financialmentor) from Episode 122
    Founder of FinancialMentor.com

    I wish I hadn’t idolized money so much. I was in an aggressive entrepreneur as a kid. I started out with a paper route and then magnified that out into multiple paper routes and did them on a motorcycle and then got into hot cars like any other kid in high school. I really was into money and stuff as a kid, and I wish I had a deeper perspective from an early day. I was definitely about money back then. You know, I still am to some degree. But it’s definitely taken a much more balanced place in my life.

  74. Lauren Bowling (@finbestlife) from Episode 123
    Founder of Financial Best Life

    I wish I had known to not shop your feelings. I think, looking back on it, it seem so obvious. It’s like, “Oh you got a bad grade on a test and then you went to the mall.” But when I was younger, I think I could have avoided a lot of financial headaches if I had just been more cognizant of my feelings and then knowing my spending triggers.

  75. Matt Giovanisci (@mattgiovanisci) from Episode 127
    Podcast Producer & Coffee Connoisseur

    I wish I had known that money can always be made, and it’s never always gone.

  76. Jon Acuff (@jonacuff) from Episode 128
    NYT Bestselling Author

    The one thing I wish I had learned about money is: it’s okay to make a lot of it.

  77. Elle Martinez (@Elle_CM) from Episode 129
    Founder of Couple Money

    I wish I’d learned more about investing. I was very fortunate that one of my bosses — I think it was in my early 20s — literally sat down with everyone in the office and talked to us about the importance of investing, even a certain percentage, to get the match and why that is essential to do now rather than later. That was really good. I just wish I’d known that earlier, because time is really such a huge advantage.

  78. Stacy Francis (@FrancisFinance) from Episode 130
    Founder of Francis Financial

    I wish I had known much more about money growing up. I wish I had known that it’s not scary. Money, numbers, math. I don’t know if any other listeners feel this way too, but funny enough, I was the girl who never raised my hand in math, and here I am owning a financial planning firm. I never thought in a million years that I would be where I am now. I realized that the more you learn about money, the more you become empowered. And the more you crave knowing about it, because it’s not scary. If anything, it’s one of the best things you can do to make yourself feel better about yourself, and better about your overall situation.

  79. Andrew Schrage (@MoneyCrashers) from Episode 131
    Co-Founder of MoneyCrashers.com

    I wish I’d known about interest. I didn’t have a full grasp of the compound interest idea and concept. If I’d known that earlier on, I would have at least started putting more money into a savings account or a CD at a much earlier time.

  80. Ryan Holiday (@RyanHoliday) from Episode 134
    Media Strategist & Bestselling Author

    I wish I had known that money is a lot easier to earn than you think, right? When you have parents who are on a salary and a pension, what they make is what they make. There’s no chance that one day they’re gonna come home and have made more money in one day than they made in the last year. But as you get out of that mindset and you meet entrepreneurs or creative people, you realize that a single or a tiny decision could have massive financial implications. In some ways, this makes money a lot less intimidating, especially when you see people who you wouldn’t have expected to be very, very successful have made or done more than you had ever dreamed that you could do.

Did any common themes stand out to you? Perhaps the power of compound interest, the importance of investing early on, or the concept of abundance.

Now that you’ve peered into the future, it’s time to get back to the present.

What will you be teaching your kids about money now? What if you picked a new entry each weekend and discussed it with your child?

That would definitely be “So Money”!


Unknown aka The Blog Post Author

Great article. Really interesting insights -- both practical and philosophical.

Bill Dwight aka The Blog Post Author

Thank you for commenting Mac. It was a lot more work than I anticipated to collect and edit all of the responses, but it turned out to be much more rewarding than I anticipated too. It was enlightening to really reflect on all the diverse perspectives. If you get a chance, drill down on some of the underlying podcasts too. With the added context of each person's life experiences, some of the responses take on a whole new meaning.

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