Five Tips to Avoid Raising Financially Illiterate Kids

“Many parents would rather talk to their kids about sex and politics than money, hemophilia ” says St. Louis investment expert, Matt Hall, President and Co-Founder of Hill Investment Group.

He continues, “The dangers of not being financially literate are huge. Many parents set the child up for failure by remaining silent on the topic of money, but also by helping to create a lifestyle that is unsustainable once the child is independent. We all want to build resilient little people, but the key is to be intentional about the lessons and values we talk about, teach and model.”

Some advice for talking to your kids this summer, Hall adds, ”Talk about making money, analyze costs, develop a plan and recognize the power of being responsible…these are the initial steps for success.”  He can break it down into age groups as well – from toddler to teen – but here are some tips:

  • When should a parent begin talking to their kids about money? 

A general rule of thumb is to start teaching basic money concepts when a child can count. The truth is that they’ve probably already started learning about money by watching and observing Mom and Dad’s behaviors when dealing with and talking about money. Check out this awesome link for a curriculum to follow from kindergarten to 12th grade
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  • How should a parent open the dialogue?

Start by making it natural. Normalize the topic by talking about it and being open regarding how you and the family will make important money decisions. Conversations can start at the check out counter or at the kitchen table, but the point is to start and then layer money talk in wherever and whenever you can.

  • Should children get an allowance?

Yes, an allowance can be considered income for a child’s first job. It’s not a gift. Make the expectations crystal clear and hold firm to paying only for top notch work. If making the bed is a basic requirement then don’t pay for it. Pay for tasks that go beyond expected chores.

  • When a child has their own money, how should they be advised to spend it?

Consider sharing experience instead of giving advice. Let your child consider making a choice instead of feeling like she might have to either go with your guidance or against it. Talk about taxes, charity and personal spending decisions you’ve made in the past. Which ones are you proud of and why? Where would you love to have a “do over.”

  • If my son wants to spend all his money in the vending machine, should I stop him?

If your son makes a conscious decision to spend all his money in the vending machine the consequence will be revealed when he can’t buy something else. One of the best ways to teach kids about the boundaries of money is for them to bump into them (in safe ways) on their own. Think of this as tuition towards a valuable lesson.

Unlike the often dry and academic investment advice provided by brokers, Hall’s storytelling is entertaining and inspirational and he has advice for all age groups including children and teens. In fact, he details his inspiring story and his evidence-based investing methods in his new memoir-manifesto, Odds On: The Making of an Evidence-Based Investor.

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Matt Hall is the President and Co-Founder of Hill Investment Group with offices in St. Louis, MO and Houston, TX. He is the lead on all strategic matters — crafting the firm’s vision, establishing its exceptional standards, and managing key relationships. Hall is forever a student of his craft and has attended the highest level of training and education tied to investment theory and practice. What’s more, Hall has led many training programs for top advisors, and founded a peer group of hundreds of advisors, called Evidence-Based Advisors, from the U.S., UK, New Zealand, Australia, Belgium, and Canada.

Hall graduated from the University of Missouri, Columbia with a bachelor’s degree in English literature. He and his wife, Lisa, have a young daughter who is the star of their lives.

Learn more about Hall at and connect with him on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Odds On is currently available on 800 CEO Read, Amazon and other fine booksellers. 

Sleep when baby sleeps… and other fairy tales

The FTC requires me to tell you that I am compensated as a Brand Ambassador for Arkansas Better Beginnings. As a Brand Ambassador I do receive payment for being part of their program, what is ed but most of all, I receive the information I need as a “new again mother” to give our little angel the best chance to get her on her way to being all she was created to be.

We are fostering a newborn in our house now. It’s exciting and rewarding and totallphoto 1(48)y exhausting. Complete strangers now feel the need to share their words of baby wisdom with me in the middle of Kroger. This weekend, a lady told me that pure vanilla extract can be used in place of Orajel. She stated that she has a slew of grandchildren, so according to her, she is an expert.

“Sleep when the baby sleeps.”

That’s a popular piece of advice, and it sounds very logical. But I’ve got stuff to do! I’ve got laundry and dishes and a high-maintenance five-year-old to contend with. I’d love to napping right now (Baby is asleep in my arms as I type this), but Momma’s gotta make a living! Luckily, I have some really good health supplements and a supportive husband, so I’m surviving.

Baby experts are EVERYWHERE. I appreciate their interest, really, but I prefer to get my advice from a trusted, evidence-based source like Arkansas Better Beginnings website.

betterbeginningsTheir website has valuable information for parents such as “Your Child at Birth”, “Your Child at 2 Months”, “Your Child at 2 Years”, etc. that highlight what’s happening at each stage of your child’s development. Each downloadable sheet outlines what to expect at the well-child visit for that age, as well as information about age-appropriate nutrition, sleep, behavior and safety. And information is provided in English and Spanish.

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I was relieved to read on the “Your Child at Birth” sheet, “For the first 6 weeks, your baby will not know day from night. So her sleep will not have a schedule.” So Babywise moms, back off! Let me just enjoy this cuddle time and maybe I’ll sneak in a quick nap later.

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High quality child care and early childhood education sets the stage for how well our children learn, how they think of themselves and how they interact with their world. We as parents, child care providers, educators and citizens have a responsibility to make sure all of our children have the very best experiences they can. Better Beginnings, Arkansas’s Quality Rating Improvement System, has been developed to do just that. – See more at:

What’s Her Name?

What’s her name?  2010-05-23 17.57.07

As conversations often go with a four-year-old, troche it started with an easy question: Where’s your belly button? I had just showered and was drying off and M noticed that I don’t have a belly button — at least one like hers. I told her that some people have “innies” and some people have “outties” and mine just happened to be an innie, treatment but that I indeed do have a belly button. Then the questions got a bit harder. M asked “Why?” Being a nurse, I gave her the semi-technical answer that belly buttons are were babies were once attached to their mommies by an umbilical cord when they were growing inside the mommy’s tummy, and depending on how the doctor cut the cord when the baby was born determined if they had an innie or an outtie.

Then she threw me a doozy. “Whose belly was I in?” (She finally understands that she’s adopted and that means that she wasn’t in my tummy.) I responded with “your birth mom.” Then she hit me good. “WHAT’S HER NAME?”

I tried to distract her, change the subject, bribe her — anything — but not this question. Not right now, not with us standing in the bathroom, me still in a towel trying to get ready for work, late as usual. And honestly, not ever. You see, I know her birth mom’s name. I know her history. I even know approximately what she’s doing and where she’s living today. It’s not a pretty story. It’s not a story that a 4-year-old needs to know or can grasp. She persisted a bit longer. “What’s her name? What’s her name? You know, don’t you?” I told her that I did know, and that one day I’d tell her, but it wasn’t a story for today. She finally gave up and we proceeded through the morning routine as normal.

Gymboree Sale On Now!

First Father’s Day with a Daddy

This time last year, about it M’s daycare teacher’s were sweet trying to include her in the week’s art projects and card making geared toward dads, and they let me come to the daycare’s Father’s Day party. See I adopted M as a single mom, so M didn’t have a dad. I was it. And we were getting by pretty nicely. But I knew she longed for a daddy. She saw the other kids at school and her friends at church with their dads. She’s a smart cookie — she knew something was missing. So we started praying during bedtime prayers for God to send M a daddy. She was very intent in her prayers. We prayed for a Godly man who was kind, loving, a good provider — someone who would love M as his own and be a wonderful husband to me as well. (And my addition was that this man would pursue us — it wouldn’t be anything that I manipulated or concocted — that is was God ordained.) We prayed this same prayer many times over. Then months and months pass. And our prayer was answered to a tee. Anthony came along. He pursued our friendship then my courtship. It is truly a God thing how we met, fell in love and married. And M is so happy. She loves having a daddy. And what a great daddy she has too! Yes, an aswer to prayers.


Walk for the Waiting

Many of you know my story with foster adoption, buy information pills but here’s the elevator-speech version. I wanted to be a mom, so I went through The CALL’s foster parent training in October 2010. I was approved as a foster parent in early January 2011, and my first placement was a beautiful baby girl. I was able to adopt that baby girl 11 months later, and she has blessed my life so much. I’m walking and raising money for Walk for the Waiting, so other children like my daughter can find safe, loving homes. They deserve it.

To sponsor me, go to

Thank you!