Teaching Kids Money Concepts

teaching kids money conceptsTeaching kids money concepts is easier with The Four Money Bears. A book review by Patrick Eng.

I was recently introduced to a book called The Four Money Bears, by Mac Gardner, a Certified Financial Planner practitioner based in Tampa, Florida.  He created it to help teach youngsters (ages 5 to 10 years) about money. It’s a charming story, and a great way to begin money conversations in any family. Grandparents can read this book to their grandkids, and parents can use it to introduce financial concepts to their children at an early age.

Gardner uses the four money bears – Spender Bear, Saver Bear, Investor Bear and Giver Bear – to teach kids about the four primary functions of money. Each has their own strengths and weaknesses; and, as such, they cannot be successful on their own. By working together to create a game plan (budget), they can all be successful.

Reading the book as a family is a great way to discuss the many uses of money and learn how to view each in a healthy way. You can go online at to learn more.

Teaching kids money concepts with The Four Money Bears.

The Four Money Bear Rules:

  1. Spend Cautiously
  2. Save Diligently
  3. Invest Wisely
  4. Give Generously
By |2022-01-13T09:02:20-07:00January 31st, 2022|Books, Financial Planning|

Psychology of Money

McCann-WEBOne of the most important lessons I’ve learned in my career is that financial outcomes are governed by behavior, not knowledge. It has to do with the psychology of money. Our financial success is most influenced by our emotions and feelings, rather than the facts and formulas.

Isn’t that the case with so much in life?

Our emotions are uniquely our own, given our diverse backgrounds, ages, and experiences. So, it’s important to be aware of our emotions and their impact on the decisions we make. At the same time, it’s unrealistic to think we can shut them out of our decision-making process.

Even reasonable people can react poorly to financial circumstances. In The Psychology of Money, the author highlights this reality and explores proactive steps anyone can take to work in tandem with their emotions. Here are two interesting examples.

You’ll Change

I’ve seen this in myself and my clients countless times. Your goals will change. Your work plans will change. Your kids’ plans will change. Thus, it’s important to avoid the extreme ends of planning; don’t make narrow plans that take you down only one path. When life changes happen, be ready to change your plan. Just because you made a decision that worked well under prior circumstances doesn’t mean you must stick with that decision forever.

Getting Wealthy vs. Staying Wealthy

This is a fun one to observe. As people move from wealth accumulation toward financial independence and retirement, their attitudes about money often change in surprising ways. It’s like any other life change – graduating school, getting married, having kids, becoming a homeowner, starting a new job. It’s never quite what you thought it would be. Often, it’s better than what you imagined, yet there are always new fears you didn’t anticipate. You begin to view risk through an entirely different lens. Focusing on stability and dependable income often becomes more important than hitting the great opportunities.

As a financial planning professional, I see it as my role to help each client develop strategies that will enable them to succeed through their unique psychology. Not despite it.


For Further Reading – The Psychology of Money

psychology of money

*A portion of proceeds from your purchase at helps support independent authors and bookstores.
By |2021-01-12T14:54:53-07:00February 1st, 2021|Books, Financial Planning|

Mindful Spending

If you want to plan and track your spending but have struggled to use budget apps or software, kakeibo budget journaling might be a good fit for you. Kakeibo (kah-kay-bow ) is a form of budget journaling created by Japan’s first female journalist, Hani Motoko, in 1904. The word literally means household account book, though it has become more-commonly known as mindful spending.

An important distinction of this budgeting system is that it must be done on paper (not with an app or digital spreadsheet). This makes it a great resource for those who are highly-tactile learners. Consider using a kakeibo if you enjoy using a bullet journal.

Mindful Journaling = Mindful Spending

Budgeting in a kakeibo is intentional and reflective. The point is to sit down and think about your four categories of spending: needs, wants, culture and unexpected. By focusing on the larger picture, it helps to simplify budgeting. Kakeibo is about creating a routine of review and reflection daily, and celebrating small wins that add up into big savings. Would you  like to give it a try? wrote an in-depth article on how to budget with kakeibo. It includes a free PDF template you can print or use as inspiration to create your own journal in a favorite notebook.

– written by Tobi McCann

By |2020-07-16T13:53:13-07:00August 3rd, 2020|Books, Financial Planning|

US Economy Showing Resiliency

Amid a period of scary viruses and social unrest, it’s time again for a reminder that the wise investor maintains a written long-term investment plan, then holds on tight and stays invested when markets are volatile. Despite everything, U.S. markets and the economy are showing remarkable hardiness. How is the US economy showing resiliency? Read on.

We experienced a nerve-wracking stock market correction in March 2020, with U.S. stocks declining about 33 percent. Since then, markets have come back strong. Stocks rose around 30 percent from mid-March to mid-June 2020, as measured by the S&P 500 large company index. Who could have guessed?

Then May brought surprisingly strong employment numbers as the economy gradually re-opened. The number of unemployed fell by 2.1 million, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. (Note: the bureau acknowledged misclassification of workers on temporary layoff in its reporting since March. While May’s unemployment rate remains high at 16.4 percent, it still represents a dramatic drop from April.)

It’s wise advice to remain calm and steady in challenging times. Doing so helps us endure and navigate the unpredictable. Investors, too, are often rewarded for staying calm in volatile markets.

“Emotions can have lasting consequences, and this is particularly true when you try to time the markets,” says Josh Hile, a Seattle-based investment analyst.

Perspective Financial clients have a clear, written, long-term investment plan, executed using broad diversification and reputable mutual funds. Rough times tend to be easier to get through, as a result.

Speaking of the U.S. economy – built on grit and a never-give-up spirit – allow me to share a book recommendation. Graham Moore’s The Last Days of Night is a historical novel about the invention of the light bulb and efficient electricity transmission. Featured in the story is the sometimes-nasty rivalry between Thomas Edison, George Westinghouse and Nikola Tesla. It’s an engaging read and wonderful break from every-day stress.

As Moore describes his work, “I love the notion that I could write something that two people could share. That’s the goal.”

By |2020-06-15T16:15:06-07:00June 22nd, 2020|Books, Current Affairs, Investing|

Eat Complete

Eat CompleteEat Complete by Drew Ramsey, MD effectively details the importance of nutrients and the role they play in brain health. After working with mood and anxiety disorders in patients, Ramsey began researching nutrition and how it affects the brain. His latest book is an amazing scientific resource detailing what nutrients your brain needs and why. For example, nutrients such as zinc and selenium – which most people don’t consider daily – are crucial in developing and protecting your brain.

Ramsey stresses the importance of meals that are tasty, budget appropriate and easy to make. Unfortunately, his recipes require a lot of prep and clean-up, and include expensive or difficult to find ingredients. They also lack alternatives for nut, egg, and shellfish allergies. So people with food allergies should consider the recipes a starting point, not a complete guide. If you are willing to try new foods and don’t have dietary restrictions, this is a great recipe book.

Overall, Eat Complete is an enjoyable, informative read that inspired me to change my grocery shopping and eating habits to improve my brain function. The nutritional information is universal. Those who enjoy reading about health and nutrition, learning about how the brain works, or delving into biological science, will find much to love. I recommend picking it up.

The True Super-Food

Did you know spinach contains 6 of the 21 essential nutrients? Magnesium, folate or folic acid (B9), vitamin E, vitamin K, iron and potassium provide nourishment for all three functions of brain support: foundation, protection and ignition. This is even better than kale or quinoa!

By Tobi McCann

By |2020-02-13T13:10:12-07:00March 2nd, 2020|Books|