Important Money Lessons To Teach Your Kids

Saving money is an important aspect of building wealth and having a secure financial foundation.  In school, we aren’t really taught about the importance of saving and many of us find that as adults, we have to fend for ourselves.  But there are ways to empower the next generation, and that starts by teaching children the importance of saving from a young age.  Here are some simple ways to teach your children to save money: a piggy bank is a great way to teach kids to save and it is an easy way to do it.  Tell them the goal is to fill it up until there is no more room.  These piggy banks from GALT are so cute and my kids got to paint and decorate them all by themselves.  You can also open up a savings account for your kids, which we did as soon as our kids were born. Make sure you are leading by example, and start a conversation about money and the importance of savings.  These are simple things we have done with Carter and Kennedy and you can do them too.

Premiering in August on Million Stories (which is a FREE, online financial literacy entertainment platform), Milk Money gets real with millennial families raising kids in today’s economy. The series explores the true price of parenthood and dives deeper on family finances. With a diverse group of families, Milk Money profiles the lives of single parents, new parents and many more!  The episodes are short, very informative and so good.

Million Stories is a free new online channel that harnesses the power of entertainment and storytelling to make money matters easy, inspiring and manageable. The channel aims to provide millennials the financial skills and entrepreneurial mindset to face finance challenges through free extensive, easy-to-use learning resources.

Recently I got to interview the director Lara Everly. She is a current finalist for the NBC Female Forward Directing Program, celebrating female-driven comedy and women’s issues. Her affinity for comedy and improvisation (graduate of Upright Citizens Brigade) has led to working on sitcoms, half hour shows, features and many national commercials. and here is just a little bit of our interview.

1. What was your main motivation for putting a series together about money, the economy, and family finances? 

My motivation is in the form of two small children running amok in my house! When we shot this I had a 1 year old and 3 year old. Now they are 2 and 4. One of the biggest paradigm shifts a person can make in their life is having a child. This tiny human comes barreling into your world and knocks you right out of first place. You’re not the most important person in your life anymore. The moment we become a parent, you get propelled into a new perspective and suddenly your fiscal lens comes into sharp focus. How to earn, spend and save money changes radically and keeps changing as the family and kids grow, so I wanted to get honest and talk about it because point blank - kids cost money. 

2. How many different families did you interview or meet with before deciding on the families you would use in the series?

That's a good question. There were two different casting directors that helped source families and interesting stories. I also personally brought a few of the families we shot into the mix. The casting director would do the first round of meeting people. All the interviews were conducted over skype and then shared with the team. I would say in total we interviewed around fifty families?

3. How were you teaching your own children about money prior to filming and have your perspective and methods changed after completing the series?

Researching and filming the series taught me how key transparency is for your children. We tend to want to hide money and all things financial from them as a means to protect them, but we are actually protecting them and informing them by talking openly about money. When my kid would ask me to buy a toy or candy at the store that I didn't want to buy I used to say "I don't have money on me". I learned that lying like that - even to a 2 year old is a disservice. Kids are smart and they understand things like credit cards. We have evolved out of the paper-as-cash system so much. So now I will say something along the lines of , "Well remember we agreed on one new toy a month? And I know you really want this other thing, so we're not going to get this toy car right now. I'm sorry." It might cause a meltdown and that's hard. But it will be better in the long run. I try to explain that things cost money and that I work to earn money, so they don't think work is just something annoying I have to do that takes me away from them. My 4 year old finally registered that we pay our part-time nanny. It was a bit of a "Santa Claus isn't real?!" moment for him because he thought she was coming solely for the love of it. I felt bad, but then I had to let that mom guilt go. She does love him, but it's also her job, and it's healthy for him to understand that transaction.

4. What is the primary message you hope people/families take away from this series?

Raising children has become significantly more time-consuming and expensive. We are now in the era of intensive and attachment parenting and in the pandemic parents of younger kids and school-aged kids are really struggling. In today’s age we expect millennials, especially women, to work like they don’t have children and raise children as if they don’t work. The pressure and the cost of modern parenting can feel relentless so I wanted to create a shot that would help tackle the economic anxiety of parenthood by having an open conversation. I hope people watch the show and feel seen. The intention is for these living portraits to offer solidarity, support and empowerment.

5. Do you have a favorite memory of making this series, or was there a particular episode that resonated the most?

It's like having to pick which child is your favorite - haha. But I loved the episode with Ana and Brian in Yucca Valley. In documentaries, there is always the story you set out to tell and then the story that winds up unfolding. A good filmmaker will help craft the intended story but also stay open to the new ideas that unfold organically. We thought this was more Brian's story and his commitment as a father to make a 4 hour commute each day. And not to undermine that part of their story, because that is very intense, but the story that surfaced while filming was so much deeper and more complex and much more Ana's story. We learned that Ana had two late term miscarriages (miscarriage is something that 20% of women face and isn't talked about enough) and that their younger daughter Leighton had open heart surgery right after she was born. This loss was the main reason they moved back to Yucca Valley. It changed how they felt about being parents and the time they got to spend with their kids. They wanted to buy back time. What they needed was time to be with their two beautiful healthy children and they made financial and work choices to make that happen. In her grief, to conquer her insomnia, Ana started weaving rainbows in honor of her daughter, her "rainbow baby", which has now evolved into her successful side business selling weavings. There are rainbow details all over the house. Then when we were filming the family cooling off in their small stock tank pool, the camera unintentionally caught this rainbow flare over Ana and her girls. It felt like one of those rare magical moments.

Milk Money is a wonderful series that gets real with millennial families raising kids in today’s economy. It explores the true price of parenthood and dives deeper on family finances and is a must see for everyone.