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Jim Lange: One of the problems that many of our listeners have expressed, and I personally have in my own life, is how to talk to my daughter about money. Neale Godfrey is an expert on teaching leaders and listeners how to talk to their children about money. She was a guest on the 68th episode of The Lange Money Hour.
Neale Godfrey: I want you to put it in perspective, but I also want you to sit down with the bills. Part of welcome to planet Earth is what I call the bill-paying game. Lay the bills out on the table. Now, if you can’t afford stuff, I don’t mean you personally, but one of your listeners, don’t scare the kids to death, to let them think that you’re so far underwater with everything. But if it’s a realistic budget and you guys are doing OK, lay it out on the table. What I do for younger kids is I literally count it out. I pay my paycheck in cash and I count it out, and everyone goes, “Wow! That’s a lot.” And I count out what goes to the government, then I count out what goes for rent or mortgage and utilities and phone and cable and on and on and on. Here’s what goes into savings. Here’s what goes into my retirement. Here’s what goes into my emergency fund. Here’s what goes for the vacation, whatever it is. And by the way, here’s what’s leftover. That’s the budget.
Jim Lange: And do you tell them that there’s money for their college?
Neale Godfrey: I do, absolutely, and I also tell them the expectations. I can afford a state school. I cannot afford a private college. Private college costs, and lay it out, you know, $50,000 a year. Do not set expectations. What I think is the worst thing in the world is to have kids get into one of the private schools in our country, and then, as a parent, you turn around and go, “You know what? I can’t afford it.” That’s not fair.