Are you raising financially savvy kids?

This e-zine was originally sent on March 13, 2010.  It may have been edited somewhat from the version that was originally emailed, so be sure to sign up to make sure you are getting our e-zines fresh!

“The past does not define you, the present does.”

– Jillian Michaels


As we work with families, we spend a good amount of time sorting through beneficiary decisions and attitudes about life, money and the values which parents seek to pass on.

But one of the more difficult tasks for me is when I meet with a family who doesn’t have the confidence they wish they would have about how their children would handle finances, down the line.

At the point of making these decisions, we can put into place a whole range of mechanisms which will ensure that financial assets are properly distributed, when the time does come.

But wouldn’t it be great if our children had the experience and self-control to handle money, starting at an early age?

That’s why I’ve put together some pointers for you (10 of them) which will help your family raise children who “get it” when it comes to money. This is a great article to forward along to your friends and family, I think–it’s an issue which too often goes neglected within families.

And, of course, I’d love your thoughts (as usual!)…

Aaron Miller’s

“Straight Talk” Personal Strategy

Teach Your Children Well About Money

As Americans try to spend less and go on a budget this provides an opportunity to teach the next generation financial principles they may never have seen in the prosperous years they have been alive. Here are ten principles for teaching children about money:

1. Talk about money . Every time money is involved, parents have a chance to teach their children the values and analysis behind their actions. Money should never be the primarily topic of discussion, but it is one of the most important topics through which we communicate our wisdom and values to our children. Every purchase, investment, or donation can be a time to teach your children something about your values.

2. Talk openly about money. Parent makes a mistake when they keep information from their children. The only way children learn what is a good deal and what is too expensive is by the experience of what their family earns and what items cost. Hiding this information robs children of the financial education they need.

3. Talk factually about money. Many parents have strong emotions about money based on their childhood experiences. These emotions are always transmitted to children. Instead of helping children, they can cripple children from growing to make sound financial decisions.

4. Require chores; pay for optional work. Everyone in the family has to help complete the work that needs to be done. If you want to pay your children, only pay them for optional work they can choose to do or not to do.

5. Provide children an allowance they can make real choices with. Talk about money is important, but children need real-world lab experience to understand the consequences of their decisions. Consider giving them an allowance large enough so that they can purchase some of their own needs. Then continue to give them honest advice, and help them ask the right questions to make wise decisions based on their values.

6. Help children prioritize purchases. Ask them if this purchase is better than other purchases they are considering making.

7. Help children comparison shop. Help them consider issues such as cost, quality, and convenience.

8. Require children to wait before making large purchases . Adults should wait at least a month whenever they are making a large purchase. Children shouldn’t be expected to wait that long. Here is a good rule of thumb: Children should be required to wait as many days as they are old in years before being allowed to make a large purchase (over a week’s allowance). There is always tomorrow and over half the time they won’t remember what attracted them to it in the first place. Developing this habit will help make them resistant to impulse buying.

9. Don’t use money as a punishment. Your priority should be helping to give your values to your children, not buy their outward behavior.

10. Don’t loan your children money! If their desired purchase is something they should be saving for, let them save for it. If you want to buy it for them for the value of the experience, buy it for them. The principles are “If they want it, they have to save for it. If you want them to have it, you will buy it for them.” Loaning your children money for items they want teaches them they aren’t responsible and they don’t have to prioritize.

Some may disagree with all of these admonitions–I don’t intend to become a “parenting guru” in my spare time–but I do hope that, at minimum, this will help you be thinking about how your wishes get passed down.

Wishing you all the best!

Aaron Miller

Miller Law Firm, PLLC
Your Life Is Our Life’s Work!
101 E. Park Blvd., Suite 600
Plano, Texas 75074
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“Discovery consists of looking at the same thing as everyone else does and thinking something different.”

– Albert Szent-Gyorgyi


Wow, these last few weeks have been so jammed that these e-zines are going out later and later.  Sorry about that.  We’ll get back on track for the next one.  I’m about to head to ANOTHER hockey game!  This time with Elissa, my second oldest.  She missed out on the first one because she had a girl scout event, so she is really looking forward to this one.  (She really hopes she’ll see that monkey chasing the gorilla….)  What’s more fun for me is that I’ll get a chance to spend some one on one time with her.  As the middle child, she may not get as much one on one time as the others, so Wendy and I really try to be sure we make sure she gets that.

Well, last week, we talked about nursing home placement, and I’ve heard from quite a few friends and clients who passed it along to *their* friends and family for whom (I hope) it’s especially useful.


As you probably have gathered, I write you these weekly notes because I sincerely desire to offer my experience and expertise to the family issues that too often become rushed in the midst of a crisis. I read every response, and I’m so grateful to be connected to a group of families who are so committed to one another, and so responsive. Keep ’em coming…

And, of course, I’m always grateful for your referrals–they’re the lifeblood of our firm. While many lawyers spend an arm and a leg for expensive yellow page advertisements, we’ve found that our BEST advertising is the relationships we maintain with our clients and friends. No, I’m not averse to advertising our services–it’s simply that friends who are referred by our clients turn out to be our best kind of clients.

So, thanks for your continued referrals!

This week, I’m continuing the series started last week, and will give you some thoughts on what to look for when you check out a nursing home facility in person…

Aaron Miller’s

“Straight Talk” Personal Strategy

Making Nursing Home Placements That Work (Part 2)

So you’ve narrowed down your list, and it’s time to take a closer look at the options.

Good news: you don’t need to schedule your visits in advance. If you show up during regular business hours, you should be able to meet with an administrative staff member, who should be able to answer all your questions.  But you may also want to set aside time to tour a second time (in the evening or on the weekend), simply to see if there is a drastic difference in the atmosphere of the facility or the care being provided.

Lastly, it is very important to tour at least two facilities so you can see the difference in the physical facility and the staff.

While you are touring the facility, pay attention to your gut feelings.  Ask yourself:

• Do they seem to genuinely care for the residents?

• Is the facility clean?

• Are there any strong odors?

• Is the staff friendly?

• Do I feel welcome?

• How long did I have to wait to meet with someone?

• Did the admissions director ask about my family member’s wants and needs?

• Do the staff seem to get along with each other?

Put on your radar, and listen and observe. You want to be sure that the facility is giving proactive care, not just reacting to crisis.

And you’ll want to be armed with some questions, so here are a few examples of the types of questions the staff should be able to answer:

• How do you ensure that call lights are answered promptly, regardless of your staffing?

• If my father is not able to move or turn himself, how do you ensure that he is turned and does not develop bedsores?

• How do you make sure that someone is assisted with the activities of daily living like dressing, toileting and transferring?

• Can residents bring in their own supplies?

• Can residents use any pharmacy they wish?

• How many direct care staff members do you have on each shift? Does this number exceed the minimal number that state regulations require, or do you just meet the minimum standard?

• What sources of payment do you accept?

• How long has the medical director been with your facility?

• What is your policy on family care planning conferences? Will you adjust your schedule to make sure that I can attend the meeting?

While touring each facility, make notes and

Don’t Neglect Expert Help.

In addition to finding the facility you like best, don’t forget that you need expert legal assistance as part of the planning process. Without proper planning and legal advice from an experienced firm, many families needlessly squander their life savings on long-term care, and unnecessarily jeopardize their own care and well-being, as well as the security of their family.

If we’re able to help you with this process–great. If not, we’re happy to point you in the right direction, to ensure you’ve got an experienced advocate working on your behalf.

That’s what we do.

To your family’s wealth, health, and happiness!

Aaron Miller

Written by Miller Law Office

Miller Law Office

The Miller Law Office is here to help you build and protect your legacy. Rather than having a traditional estate planning practice, which is focused on transactions (such as the drawing up of wills and other documents), we have a more relational focus – having on-going contact with clients over the long-term, helping clients to protect themselves and their families.