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Kids and Money: Financial wisdom for all ages, courtesy of readers [The Kansas City Star :: BC-PFP-KIDSANDMONEY:KC]

Sometimes, kids need a little inspiration when it comes to picking up money-management skills.

That's why, for a recent column, I asked several financial experts to answer this question: What was the best advice about money your own parents or grandparents ever gave you?

After the column appeared, I heard from a lot of others who wanted to weigh in. Here is some financial wisdom that impressed me.

- Jane Williams: "Remember, when money problems come in the door, love goes out the window."

My mother's sage advice when my husband and I married in 1961. Mom didn't work outside the home and couldn't hold much of a conversation about finances, but she did say (this) to me before we left for our honeymoon.

- Gary Wollersheim: Advice from my mom: "Give to others/God first, and then save for the future, and you will have enough left over to provide for your everyday needs."

Mom was right, as usual. I am a retired Lutheran minister and bishop. Over the years, I have seen poor money management plague countless individuals and families.

- Sam Renick: "Pay yourself first."

My dad talked to my siblings and me about making great money choices at an early age. He did it repeatedly and without remorse. ... If you pay yourself first, you are automatically on the road to financial freedom. It is exactly what Warren Buffett and many others advise. Save first, then spend.

- Bob Apmann: "Never buy on time things that depreciate; only buy things on time that appreciate, like a home."

Sage advice received from my father when I was 12 or 13. This was advice from the '50s when credit was not so freely granted and "on time" meant something different. My experience as a financial planner has proved to me that one of the biggest impediments to long-term financial security is being in eternal car debt or never-ending lease payments.

- Nancy Comita: "Do not buy anything unless you have the money to pay for it."

It took me a long time to figure out that my parents were well off. And I had no idea how much until they passed away. They lived well below their means. And while I do use a credit card for everything, it is paid off each and every month.

- David Kupstas: What I remember most that my dad said: "If you need it, buy it. If you don't need it, don't buy it."

My dad was a product of the Great Depression. There were five children in our house. Granted, this approach is a little heavy-handed. All I know is I have never felt the need to spend or allocate every dollar I have. I just buy the necessities and with an occasional small splurge, sock away the rest.

- Marvin Rosman: "Spend less than you make. Make more than you spend."

My father came to the U.S. as a teenager shortly after World War I and owned a small business during the Depression years. He liked his one mantra so well that he (repeated) it twice. Now that I am an 84-year-old recently retired lawyer, I give my grandchildren the same advice I gave many clients over the years:

1) If you can't pay for it, you don't need it - the only exceptions are financing your home or investment property. 2) Don't pay someone else's mortgage. Buy, don't rent. 3) Excessive debt and unrealistic expectations cause more divorces than infidelity, drinking, drugs and in-laws."



Steve Rosen is assistant business editor at The Kansas City Star. To reach him, call 816-234-4879 or send email to


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