Clients can and need different financial planning for different stages of life — or at least for different states of mind. A nimble advisor can adjust to different types of saving or spending, which can happen multiple times for the same client, or family. Here’s one example of those types of differences.
A rudimentary ledger system helps my wife and I manage our children’s allowance and chore money. The ledger lives in blue marker on a dry erase board hung in the laundry room.
Almost daily we adjust balances as our four children get paid for the extra chores they do or when they “buy” something where my wife or I use a credit card to make their purchase. We add and subtract and circle the new balance and occasionally erase and start with the new balance again at the top.
Our oldest daughter is 15 and is proving to be a reluctant spender. She evaluates each item prior to purchasing it, weighing whether she truly needs the item or just wants it. She’s become familiar with buyer’s remorse and the consequences of impulse purchases, thus is a judicious spender.
Our 13-year-old, lives with a zero balance. He spends everything he earns as soon as he gets it. If he decides he wants something, he begins asking for extra chores to find ways to earn more. He calculates the total cost of the items he wants, including tax, and earns only that amount. We’ve learned that we can’t allow him to go into debt because he’s unconcerned with paying it back — he’d prefer the consequences of debt to the work to stay out of debt or to pay what he owes. He’s a spendthrift.
Our twins, aged 10, are a mixed bag. One is the impulse purchase king of the world. His bedroom is littered with the fad items that he and his buddies deem “cool” at the moment — fidget spinners, aluminum water bottles, etc. He spends to fit in with the in-crowd.