In 2013, a Cambridge University study showed adult money habits are set by age 7. Parents and older adults shape young children’s financial perceptions, often unknowingly, and despite the fact Gallup found two of three adults worldwide are financially illiterate (2015).

A recent blog post on featured tips on raising money smart kids. The blogger, Sam X. Renick, wrote the song “Get in the Habit” aimed at small children, but it sounds good to me. “Get in the habit like Sammy Rabbit, from every dollar, save a dime.” In addition to being a catchy tune, it has audience participation and decent guitar licks. I like it, but I am a music aficionado/CFP.

You mold children’s concepts about money all the time. “Turn off the lights,” “We can’t afford it” or “We will get it when we have the money.” I have no training as a psychologist, but kids soak up what you say and what you do. Like a good salesperson, think of a slogan. We were late to the financial literacy for children party, but in the early '90s, I stole Bill Clinton’s “Ending welfare as we know it.” Instead of handouts, our kids got money twice a month in a checking account, and yard maintenance was included. They were responsible for their clothes, lunch money, et cetera. Their mother was a Savings and Loan officer, so she monitored everything. I do not claim genius; it was blind luck, I was tired of being nickeled and dimed constantly and stumbled on a slogan.

If you talk the talk, walk the walk. When you squander money but tell your children to be frugal, you look like a turkey. Be realistic, genuine and enthusiastic; kids will mimic you. There are no magic bullets. Be patient and let them make mistakes, it is how we learn.

Be sure to let children know both the O’Jays and Pink Floyd got it wrong; money is NOT the root of all evil. Geoffrey Chaucer in "The Canterbury Tales" nailed it; avarice, the love of money, is the root of all evil. Money can be positive, ambivalent or corrupt; it depends on you.

Are Higher Retirement Contributions Limits on the Horizon?

Barry Ritholtz argues for doubling 401K elective deferrals limits while almost tripling ones for IRAs, $36,000 and $15,000, respectively. While perfect for me, I am not sure increasing limits will help the majority funding retirement. People struggle with retirement not because of low caps, but, rather relatively flat inflation-adjusted wages. Especially worrisome is higher maximums could be a diversionary smokescreen camouflaging a Social Security privatization scheme. Since the majority of American adults are financially illiterate privatization would be disastrous except for the financial services industry.

You can’t always get what you want, but Buz Livingston, CFP can help figure out what you need. For specific recommendations, visit or come by the office in Redfish Village, 2050 Scenic 30A, M-1 Suite 230.