Start money chats at the toddler age | Kids Can Budget (And So Can You) EP #3

Hi, my name is Vianna, I’m a CPA, CA and I help parents start teaching their kids about money and savings from a very young age.

I recorded an interview series where I chat with parents about three main money questions that I was curious about:

1. What did they learn about money as a kid

2. What do they wish they had learned

3. What is the biggest money lesson that they are teaching their kids.

This week I chat with Carolyn Jones (The Financial Moment), I’m so excited to share Carolyn’s story with you!

To get started teaching your kids about money and savings today grab my FREE Kid’s Budget Jars Printables:

Check out Carolyn’s Freebie (details at the end of the episode!):


[00:00:00] Vianna: Hi everyone. Today we have Carolyn here with us, and I’m so excited to have her on because she’s a very good financial person to chat with. . Um, Carolyn, would you please tell us a little bit about

[00:00:12] Carolyn: yourself? For sure. So, um, I am a money coach, so I help people to create and establish a budget to try and help them reduce their debt.

And um, most recently I have been encouraging and helping people along the path to home ownership. So that’s a little bit about me. I have about 25 years of experience as a finance manager, and this is my side passion to be able to help people and provide them with some, um, great financial literacy.

[00:00:39] Vianna: Thank

you. Yeah. I love having guests on who have a financial background because even though my audience knows, like I’m a CPA and I have this financial background too, like I think it’s so important to hear from every different perspective, not just mine. Like my belief isn’t the only belief out there and not the only way to do things.

[00:00:55] Carolyn: Oh, for sure. Definitely. Everybody has a unique perspective, right? .

[00:00:58] Vianna: Exactly. So diving right into the questions, um, what was your first memory of money as

[00:01:05] Carolyn: a kid? Oh my goodness. I have to tell you this story. So, um, when I was young, my parents decided, Okay, why don’t you get a paper route?

And so not to age myself at all, , but um, back then, , you had to, um, deliver the. Papers. Right. And also in addition to that, you actually had to collect the fees for the paid newspapers as well. And so, um, you know, I was tasked with this particular neighborhood and I’d have to go door to door and just ask them for their subscription fees.

I think it was at the end of every month, and this is where I learned the most about money because, um, everybody had a different, uh, take on it, right? Some people were like, Yeah, sure. Here, I have my check ready for you. And then the next person would be like, trying to duck, you know, make sure not, not listening to the doorbell and, uh, and, and you know, so it’s very, uh, unique perspectives on the relationship with money.

So that was probably my very first kind of eye opener as to, you know, what, you know, everybody’s different when it comes to money. Wow.

[00:02:08] Vianna: Yeah. I love that. I love that entrepreneurship style too, because you’re out there earning your own money so how old were you when you first

[00:02:18] Carolyn: started this paper route?

I’m guessing I must have been between maybe like nine or 10 perhaps.

Wow, that’s really young. It’s young. Yeah. So back then I think you could get a paper route for that of that age and now you think you have to be a little bit older, but, But yeah. So it’s funny, you’d send this nine year old out to go do collection work.

It’s just . Yeah. You know, that would

[00:02:37] Vianna: be unheard of. So at that time, for sure, would you go out by yourself or, um, would your parents go with you? Cause I feel like this is, this would a

[00:02:47] Carolyn: challenge.

Yeah. You know, it’s funny because again, it’s a different time, right? So back then it was like, you know, you’re just going out to do your paper route and they didn’t really have any like, um, safety concern, which is interesting because you’re dealing with money.

And I think back then it was a lot of cash, right? But, Yeah, so no one, like my parents would just, I mean, the, the, the what I can remember, they would help me when it was like bad weather and things like that, right? For sure they would drive me around, but as for the collection part of it, I don’t really remember them coming to assist or, you know, not worrying worried at all.

[00:03:21] Vianna: Yeah, it’s always like, it’s always such a different, um, generations have different customs and different things that they’re, um, okay with and not okay with. Right. I exactly. The funny side story is that, um, when I was pregnant, I heard, but my friend’s mom told me that when she was a baby, it was a custom to leave your child in a stroller to nap on the porch. Like just so they get fresh air or nap outside. And like it was just, it just made me think of like, that’s not something you would ever, ever do here. You were like, What? Oh my

[00:03:55] Carolyn: goodness. . . Yeah. . That’s terrifying. . That’s right. . Exactly. So it was just funny how things change over time. Right, exactly. Exactly. You know, and I don’t even know if it’s for the better because really, you know, it’s, um, something that, uh, I guess you’re just more cautious because of you know, just society, right? Societal changes. But you know, back then a lot of kids had more freedom and they were able to just run and play and you know, and not have any worries. So, you know, different times, but you know, who knows if what’s best and what’s not, right?

[00:04:27] Vianna: Yeah, it is kind of sad because like having that paper route, being on your own, you could, at such a young age, you could build so much independence and confidence like that really, I I imagine that really helped you throughout your career

[00:04:39] Carolyn: too.

For sure. And it’s funny because, um, as in my current job now, like, um, you know, a part part of being the finance manager, I’m also responsible for accounts receivable. So , so it’s funny, it’s like full circle, right? , full circle.

[00:04:57] Vianna: And you probably have this, have the same experience of all the different customers I’ve worked in AR before and definitely know. That’s right they’re the the ones you pay ahead of time and the ones you have to like send them multiple invoices

[00:05:07] Carolyn: to . Exactly.

[00:05:10] Vianna: Going on to the next question then, what would you say was one thing that you wish you would’ve learned before entering adulthood and life on your own?

[00:05:20] Carolyn: Yeah, I would say, um, learning more about, I guess, debt, um, credit cards, the use of credit cards, and how, um, to best navigate that. Because I remember when I was going into university, um, at that point I had never had a credit card before.

I just, you know, worked part-time jobs or whatever and, um, As I was in university, now that’s when they’re marketing to you and they’re saying, Hey, you know, you can have this shiny card and you can do whatever. And I was like, Okay, sure more free money for me. Right? So no one really taught me at that, at that point in time, that you know, it’s gonna create debt and this is what you have to do to kind of navigate that.

And so, um, I think one of my wishes is that I could have learned more about it before entering into that total realm of, um, using credit cards and things like that.

[00:06:07] Vianna: Yeah, that’s so important. And it’s so strange to me that it’s not taught in schools, and oftentimes I think even parents forget to talk about this, maybe sometimes they don’t even have a good handle on credit cards themselves, so they don’t know what to say, but it is a scary thing to know that like once you enter to your university, there’s all these credit card companies that are trying to approach you and trying to get you to sign up and give you free offers and free products and just to like entice you and say it’s free money and when you don’t really understand how

[00:06:38] Carolyn: interest works, that’s exactly it.

So that’s a really good one.

[00:06:42] Vianna: Yeah. There should almost be just like a lesson, just right before or um, or a mandatory lesson, right?

[00:06:48] Carolyn: Yeah. You know, just something that would, um, educate people as to what the ramifications are of spending. Right? So, um, yeah, I know it’s not in the best interest of the credit card companies, but at least like you said, in school or, um, you know, the work that we’re doing right. Just to try and educate people out there and, and to make a difference so that when they come across these things that they already know the answers.

[00:07:10] Vianna: Right. Yeah. Yes, exactly. Well, that leads us to our next question. So I think we, we mentioned briefly that you have kids. Can you tell me a little bit more about them? How old are they now?

[00:07:21] Carolyn: For sure. So I have, um, a son actually who is 26 years old, and I have a daughter who is, um, 17. So a little bit of an age gap. So it’s like raising two only children, just so you know. Yeah . That’s,

[00:07:37] Vianna: that’s so interesting. So in terms of, um, what you taught them about money with your finance background, have they been very well prepared? What did you teach them when they were younger?

[00:07:49] Carolyn: Um, yeah, like, so I think I did a, probably a better job with my daughter who was 17 than I did with my 28 year old, 26 year old . Cause probably I was young then too, right? And I didn’t really know much about it, management of money. But, um, now I think for him, um, I don’t talk so much about how to manage money, but how to prepare for the future.

So it’s more about talking about, um, goal setting and trying to, um, you know, plan so that don’t live for just today, because tomorrow is going to come and you wanna be prepared for that. And that’s kind of our conversations. Um, now with the older one, but with the younger one, actually, she had her first time, first part-time job um, this summer, um, she had two jobs and so she was having a lot of money coming in, so she’s like, Oh, this is great. Fantastic. And, uh, so I kind of taught her how a simple budgeting rule, um, where you take a percentage and you put X amount away for savings. You have X amount for. Spending Okay. And, and so forth, right?

So she kind of learned as soon as the money came in, she knew how to make those transfers and she was actually navigating it on her own. So, um, so yeah, that’s, you know, kind of the things that just simple basic budgeting skills so that, that as they get older, they’re already used to doing stuff like that, right?

So that’s kinda what I’ve imparted, hopefully into my children. . Yeah.

[00:09:07] Vianna: No, that’s perfect. I think that that’s like the number one thing, right? Like every paycheck you get in, you put aside whether it’s 10%, like whatever amount you’re comfortable, but just getting into that habit of doing it with every single paycheck is so important.

It’s that habit, the habit building. Mm-hmm. It’s even better, like if you have a budget and you have a plan, but just bringing it down to like the very basic level, just having that habit of putting a bit of money away, like that will really set you up for a

[00:09:35] Carolyn: very, Exactly.

And I think, um, just kind of, um, probably seeing her brother too, right? Cause you know, she’s seen him, um, also do these things when he was a little bit younger. And so I think now it’s like, Oh yeah, I could save for a car, I could save for, you know, some of these bigger ticket items, right? And so, um, I think there’s a little bit of an incentive there now, right?

So it’s actually something that she wants to do and not just be excited when the money comes in to spend it .

[00:10:00] Vianna: Oh yeah, definitely. Oh, that’s such an important thing. And it’s so interesting because I, I like to talk about modeling as parents a lot, but because of your kids a bit of an age gap mm-hmm. , she was able to model her brother too.


 I imagine it was like double the impact because she was modeling you and her

[00:10:17] Carolyn: brother, so she doesn’t have a stand a chance, I don’t think. . Yeah.

[00:10:24] Vianna: That’s,

[00:10:25] Carolyn: that’s.

[00:10:28] Vianna: That’s great. And so in terms of that then, like with finance in your background, was money always an open topic? Like I found like with a lot of parents and other guests that I’ve interviewed for them, growing up money was kind of a taboo subject and it wasn’t really talked about. And one thing I like to encourage is to have that conversation openly at all times, like whenever possible. So was that kind of what you did with your kids too?

[00:10:54] Carolyn: You know, I wish I had done better, to be honest with you. Like, I don’t think it was taboo, because that’s part of, you know, who I am, but I don’t think I did a, uh, a better, good enough job when they were super young. So if I, like even like toddler years going into early elementary, um, you know, just talking like the basic principles because even now I’ll notice that they are, um, they forget.

So like, you know, they think that the, the ATM is just this endless pit of money , right? So and, and so I wish kind of going back, if I could go back and do that age group better. So I think I kind of, you know, picked up when they were like 10 or so, but you know, the younger years where they can actually feel and touch it and say, okay, this is money and this is how much this cost and, you know, that type of thing.

So I wish I had done a little bit better job, um, um, in the early years, to be honest with you.

[00:11:43] Vianna: Oh yeah. And well, that’s my whole business is helping parents encourage them to do that. But luckily because of your finance background, I think your kids turned out wonderful. Yeah. Yeah. Hopefully that.

But I definitely do encourage that from a younger age too. And it’s a matter of, um, well you probably know this better than I do, but a lot of parents say there’s a certain point where your kids stop wanting to listen to you. So if you can get to them at the younger stage where they are still paying attention and are like, oh, mom knows everything, and Yeah.

And that’s a good spot to get in there with some financial wisdom.

[00:12:21] Carolyn: Absolutely. Cause I can attest that, you know, with my older son that it’s much harder now it’s harder to him to them about it. Um, which is why, you know, I don’t think I can really influence him on his spending practices, but I can, I influence him with his future goal planning.

So I. would highly, like, you know, recommend like if your, your audience has younger kids, it’s, I can speak for it, that it’s, it’s easier to talk to them when they are younger for sure.

[00:12:46] Vianna: Thank you. That’s a wonderful endorsement there.

So we talked a little bit about your childhood with money and how you’ve been teaching your kids. I like to talk a lot about like the parents’ mindset and I’m, I’m sure like with your finance background that you have your financial life in order.

Would you share a little bit about how you do your budgeting, if you do a budget at all? Um, in terms and like how it works in the household? For

[00:13:13] Carolyn: sure. Yeah. So I’ve always, um, so between my husband and I, I, I guess I’m the one who was was responsible for doing the budgeting in, in most families, it’s always one person, right?

That, that, that has that burden, I’m guessing. And so for me, that was what, that was it. So, um, I did create a budget. Um, it’s nothing fancy to be honest with you. It’s just a simple spreadsheet that I use and, um, kinda keeps track of all the expenditures that are going out and the income that’s coming in.

And then again, planning for other. You know, other items that, that are also high, like vacations and things like that, right? Mm-hmm. , But the one thing that I, I have to say that I probably struggled with all those years is, um, unexpected expenses and those, cause you can’t plan for that you know? Yeah. And when you’re in finance, and I, I, I don’t know if you agree, but when you’re in finance, like every dollar is like counted for and you’ve got it all, you know, systematically laid out. But then something will come and it’s like, boom. Like what happened? , right? Yeah, exactly. Yeah. . And so it’s like you gotta reset. Like even just, um, this past week we had our, um, washing machine died. And I’m like, You know what? Like we just fixed our fridge not that long ago and so here we go with the washing machine now. Right? And so luckily, you know, we have some fun set aside for that, but you know, these things can just throw you off and throw you off of your nice little pretty plan. And, um, so that’s probably been my, my biggest struggle I guess over the years.

And now I’ve kind of learned that you gotta plan for unexpected things, right? Cause they’re always gonna come.

[00:14:47] Vianna: Yeah. That’s a huge, that’s a huge thing that I think a lot of people struggle with. And, um, one thing about, like, my love for budgeting is I’ve just gotten so used to practicing, um, living well below my means.

 I always have a good track of what’s coming in and what’s going out and the things that are going out um, are they necessary? I’m at a point where I kind of, everything is pretty much the same. Like there’s life changes that happen when I got married, when we had a of course, kid, of course, course.

All those like wonderful disruptions changes the amounts here and there. But overall, like what I’ve learned to do is just always live below my means always save whatever’s left over, and then always have that as my emergency fund. So whether it’s for, um, saving for the future or saving, um, having those random expenses, I felt like I was always covered because of this um, the savings that I have with these practices. So it’s kind of hard because, um, I think it’s never too late to start, but it’s always great to start as soon as you can. So even with your kids now, I’m sure when you’re encouraging them to save that 10%, like that’s, that’s where they start, right?

That’s wonderful.

[00:15:58] Carolyn: Absolutely. Absolutely. Yeah. Because it’s something that, that is how debt is created. Cause people use credit cards and loans and things like that as their emergency fund. Yes, exactly right. And so it’s so like that, that is such a key thing to living below your means and having that money set aside for those things, because that is where debt comes from.

It’s not really, I mean I’m, I mean, it does come from spending to excessive spending. But I think a lot of the time when something happens, people rely on that as their backup plan. Yeah.

[00:16:28] Vianna: well, so I loved having you here today. And just to wrap up a little bit, um, I think you had something fun to share for our audience.

[00:16:37] Carolyn: Yeah, so I’m, I’m hoping your audience is very financially savvy since they’re listening to you. So, I, I , so I just, I have created, um, a kind of a cheat sheet for budget tips that just gives some unique ways on how to, you know, stay on track with your budget.

Because sometimes, like you said, you know, kind life kind of veers you off path and sometimes you need a little bit of help to kind of get back. So these are some great tips. I think there’s like 12 in total, uh, tips that, uh, can help you get back on track. I can share the link with you, um, for the show notes or, and also it’s um, the financial moment back slash budget tips.

[00:17:12] Vianna: Great. And I’ll be sure to include all the links in the description as well, and yes, absolutely. And like I said at the beginning, that’s why I love having other, other guests that have a strong financial background because not one method works for everyone. I love for my audience to hear about different methods and then try, there’s the most important thing is to try and find the one thing that works that they will actually stick with.

[00:17:35] Carolyn: Right? Exactly. Thank you. Thank you so much for having me. I appreciate that. Thank

[00:17:40] Vianna: you for being here. And I’d love to, I’m gonna continue the show on to the, the next year, so maybe we could bring you back as well for a specific topic

[00:17:46] Carolyn: next time.

Yeah, that would be wonderful.

[00:17:48] Vianna: Wonderful. Okay. Thank

[00:17:49] Carolyn: you, Carolyn. All right. Take care. Take care.

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