Teaching my daughter a lesson

Written on June 6, 2011 at 2:17 pm , by

No, I don’t mean the  “See, what did I tell you?” or the  I’m-your-mom-so-I-know-better variety. I mean the really good kind, the invaluable life lesson that helps your kid grow…

I just got an email from my daughter’s 4th grade teacher, telling me how in recent months my girl has blossomed from a “quiet, behind the scenes” student to one who always raises her hands, is jazzed to share her thoughts and opinions, dares to be different, and is brimming with confidence. Wait, there’s more! This coming of age coincides with a big surge academically, including one of the highest scores on last weeks math test (please, let me gloat a little), mainly because she’s asking more questions, pushing herself harder when she doesn’t understand something–you get the picture.

So after passing the happy news to her dad, I sat back, reflected a moment, and gave myself a little pat on the back. At my worst I can be a tiger mom, holding her to exacting standards, scolding her for sloppy or lazy thinking, making her play that piano etude 5 times until she gets it right. And I’ve lectured her over and over on the value and rewards of hard work and not backing off—to the point of overkill, I’m sure. But now my girl is blossoming, and what a joy to behold. Sigh. Guess I may have been doing things pretty much just right. Like many moms, I was being too hard not on my daughter, but myself.

Saving for Your Kids’ Retirement!?!

Written on May 26, 2011 at 1:52 pm , by

I work in a cube so I do try to keep the noise to a minimum but when I got in a press release, “Should You Start Planning for Your Kids’ Retirement?” I had to laugh out loud in a you-have-got-to-be-kidding way. I mean, I just really started being somewhat serious about my own retirement a few years ago. Now I need to plan for the boys’? Well, yes and no. This was also partly one CPA’s clever idea of how to teach your kids—and yourself—about money.

Rick Rogers offers these suggestions, among others: Starting at  16, contribute $5000 year to a Roth IRA for your child. (Sure; right after I pay off the yacht. And Rutgers University.) Everyone should save at least 10 percent of take home. (Okay; this makes sense. Not happening–see RU, above–but something to aspire to.) Take half of what you have been spending on your kids’ games and tech and invest in for the kid instead. (Now this is starting to make some sense.)  Get in the habit of saving something regularly rather than waiting for a big sum to show up.  (All right, I’m convinced.) So what about you? Are you preparing your offspring to continue living in style? I thought I was doing that just by sending them to college, but, hey, I could always be doing better, right?