Creating a financially secure future today is harder than ever before. Student loans and high costs of living prevent young professionals from building a nest egg, while their parents struggle to help without limiting their child’s ability to be self-sustaining. If you’re a young professional or a parent of one that’s stuck in a financial rut, you need the right tools to manage your money.
Financial advisors Terry Lineberger and Kelly Lauterjung, the coauthors of Hey, I Forgot to Tell You: What Your Parents Wished They’d Taught You About Money, are a father/daughter team introducing simple techniques for creating healthy, enduring financial habits. By the end of this conversation, you’ll have learned how to save money without feeling deprived, how to pay off seemingly infinite debt, how to initiate honest conversations with family members about money, and a whole lot more.
If you and your loved ones are digging yourselves into a hole, put down the shovel. Kelly and Terry will show you the way out and up.
Terry Lineberger: It really started when Kelly was a senior in high school and she had been accepted to the university of Oregon, so she’s my oldest daughter, she’s getting ready to go away to college, it was spring time of her senior year of high school. I was that panicked father that was getting ready to send my daughter out into the world and there was a tremendous amount of things that I had forgotten to teach her.
I put together a list of all the things that I thought she needed to know in life and made a Saturday morning commitment and got her to do it, I’m not sure she was extremely excited about the list but Saturday morning started with things like “Okay, you got to learn to change the tire of a car, we’ve got to learn to change the oil in a car.” I made her rewire the outlets in our house.
Kelly Lauterjung: Because every senior in high school needs to learn how to do that.
Terry Lineberger: My feeling was, she needed to understand electricity, not be afraid of electricity. There’s a process of turning breakers on and off and checking and doing it. I just panicked about those things. I never really panicked about finances with her because I work in this field, it was something that was dinner conversation, it was open air conversation throughout our life and Kelly had begun working when she was young, she was a lifeguard I think when she was 14 or 15.
Then she got older, she had other jobs and she had worked all through and in high school into college. She took a little bit of time off her first semester but then she got a job in college as well. We always had conversations, so I wasn’t really worried about that but that was the starting of making sure that as a parent, that I’m teaching my kids the things that I felt were important in life.
“All of a sudden, it occurred to me that I had forgotten to teach her things.”
Not because I didn’t know, but time passed by and then, as we started getting in to thinking about a book much later, it occurred to me that most parents probably forget to teach their kids a lot of things that they wish they would have but they just didn’t get the time and didn’t think of it at an appropriate time where their kid would listen.
I was lucky. Kelly was a very compliant teenager in the sense that if I said, “Hey, can you spend an hour with me on Saturday going to the auto store to pick up an oil filter so you can learn how to do this?” She was very compliant and like, “Okay dad, if that’s what we have to do today.”
Kelly Lauterjung: Make you feel better, we’ll do it.
Terry Lineberger: That was probably the good part of it. I’m a financial adviser and have been for a very long time and Kelly joined me in the business about almost three years ago. As we started meeting with clients, it became more and more evident that something like this was needed and I’ll let her talk a little bit about that part.
Kelly Lauterjung: Yeah. What really spurred me into the business, I was working in corporate America right out of college and my dad and my mom hosted a basic financial class at their home on Thursday nights one fall, so my husband and I signed up and there were several other couples in the class, and it just goes through basics of budgeting and savings and insurance, just kind of basic financial concepts and a lot of it was review for me.
I’m now third generation financial adviser, so financial concepts have always been talked about in our home, it’s nothing new. I was really new but I was floored by how so many people in our class had no idea how to even get started, they had never done a budget, they have never talked about these things with their families or their spouses.
“My eyes were really opened at that point that people needed help.”
After many conversations with my dad, actually he begged for two years to come work with him. I decided to take the jump and so I started working as an adviser and every meeting I go into, I have parent or grandparents ask me, “Can you talk with my kid, can you meet with my grandchild, they need to know this stuff, they need to learn about insurance, they need to learn about setting up their 401(k) at their employer.” I literally had a marriage proposal one time, “Please marry my son, he needs someone like you.”
Which was a little awkward but really, I think that’s what my dad was saying: these concepts just kind of slipped by. You get so consumed with the day to day, going back and forth, sports and school and everything and you probably don’t think about sitting down and teaching your kid about credit and debt and all these other concepts that we address in our book.
Terry Lineberger: Yeah, over and over, parents would say to us in these meetings, “My son is working, he’s got a good job but he never seems to have any money,” or “My daughter’s got a job that provides a 401(k) but I don’t think she’s participating,” or, “My son just got out of college, he’s got $250,000 of student loan debt.” So it was a constant reaffirming that it wasn’t that these concepts were unknown, but that no one was teaching them.
We’re talking all of a sudden, a person is 30 years old and they’ve never had any relationship with money from the perspective of other than Googling, “How do you create a budget.”There’s a lot of data out there on the internet but having a parent, probably the most trusted person you’ll ever have in your life talk to you about these things had been forgotten in a lot of cases. Certainly, schools don’t teach this and there really isn’t any other place that has been taught. That was the emphasis, that’s why we said, “We should put a book together.”
“Clients kind of asked us for it.”
“Can you write this stuff down so I can give it to my kids?” That’s really how we started with the process, making sure, what do we want to talk about? And our book is very general in nature and we hope is designed to create conversations between parents and children, and I mean that also, I am a child. I’m 55 years old but my mother and I still have these conversations and we try to transition the book about how am I going to help her as she made need more help later on.
How do I address the issues that she may be facing?
A lot of this is about building family relationships in that money is not a taboo subject. For some reason, money is the one thing families don’t want to talk about.
Charlie Hoehn: First of all, I also want to say that man, you sound like an awesome family. That is so cool that you did that as a dad. Kelly, I know it must have been challenging for you at times but…
Kelly Lauterjung: I think I was the only 8th grade girl on a budget.
Charlie Hoehn: Yeah, I mean, budgeting is going to make a comeback. It’s going to be cool one of these days when everybody’s freaking out. I do too.
Kelly Lauterjung: I think it’s cool. Budget day is my favorite day of the month. I sit down, put a little music on, light a candle, have a cup of tea, it’s so relaxing to me. I thoroughly enjoyed budgeting.
Terry Lineberger: You know, we think about budgeting a little differently than most people, when they have this idea of budgeting, they think of it as restrictive on their lifestyle. What I tried to express to Kelly as she was starting to earn money when she was 14, and I still stress this. you get to earn money every week at wherever you’re working, and you get paid and you get to decide how to spend it. No one else does.
You can decide to save it, you can decide to spend it on clothes, you can decide to spend it on apartment rent, whatever it is you want to do. You should be able to decide and deciding in advance is all a budget is. It isn’t about being restrictive, you have the same amount of money either way. We’re not restricting.
You just get to decide what your life’s going to look like by how much you spend on certain things and when you think of budgeting that way, what better tool do you have to design and create your goals and achieve them than to say, “Someday, I want to buy a car five years from now.”
“If I start saving now, I can walk into that dealership and buy any car I want.”
Versus having to show up five years from now and you have no money and have to be at the whim of some guy telling you what kind of loan you have to have, and what your payment’s going to be for the next five years.
It gives you an element of control, but it shouldn’t be restrictive, it’s just your money and you’re getting to decide where to spend it.
No One Teaches This
Charlie Hoehn: When you said no one teaches this stuff, it brought back this memory I had in my early 20s when I learned by myself, after college, after having taken financial classes, about compound interest and retirement accounts. I was furious.
Kelly Lauterjung: Well, you know sine, co-sine, tangent, geometry, algebra, all that but you don’t know how to balance your checkbook or how to pay your bills or fill out a check.
Charlie Hoehn: Or taxes.
Kelly Lauterjung: You know? Taxes.
Terry Lineberger: When Kelly was a teenager, we got her a checking and a savings account very early in life, but we didn’t get checks right away. All of a sudden, I think she was 16. I said, “Okay, now you got to go get some checks.” She goes “Well, I’m not going to use them,” I go, “I understand.”
“But you need to understand what a check is and how to write a check and what’s the appropriate way to utilize a checking book and balance your checkbook.” When she went away to college, I never paid a bill in college. I paid for her education, but she submitted a budget to me before she went away to college and said, “Here’s what I’m going to need on a monthly basis.”
We broke it down into what she would pay and what I would pay. I said, “Okay, I’ll give you this money on the 15th of every month to pay your monthly bills and your tuition and all that.” I only wrote a check to Kelly. I said, “But I will not give you any money until you have provided me your budget, as well as a reconciliation of your checkbook. So that I know you’re not bouncing checks or whatever.”
There were a couple of times, maybe twice in her college career where she called up and said “Dad, where’s the money? I don’t have the money yet.” I said, “I haven’t received what is required” and you know, “My bills are due” and I would just say, “That’s not my problem. That’s your problem.”
Kelly Lauterjung: He literally would say that.
Terry Lineberger: Literally, within an hour, you know, because it doesn’t take that long to be responsible. I would get an email with her budget and her reconciliation –
Kelly Lauterjung: The only reason it took an hour was probably because behind his back, I called my mom crying.
She would say “No, you need to do what your dad has asked and he will send you the money” so then I did it.
Terry Lineberger: There’s a couple of things that came out of that. One, we were able to build a budget that went through her three and a half years of college and say, “Here’s the things I’m responsible for, here’s the things you’re responsible for. Next year, you’re going to be responsible for these and by the time you’re out of college and you have your own apartment and you’re working, all of these are your responsibility.”
It was a transition time to say that life costs money, rent, apartment, all these things and so what I was trying to teach you was to be responsible and as part of writing this book, I found out that she actually learned other things during that process. It didn’t occur to me that I was actually teaching but that she was learning.
Kelly Lauterjung: Yeah, it’s true, we include what we call the transitional budget in our budgeting chapter of the book. I think that’s a really helpful tool for parents who are trying to help their kids, to usher them into their own financial independence. I think that’s a great tool that our book offers.
I think something that I really learned was that I can have other things going on in my life, like a paper due or a project or a class to get to. My landlord doesn’t care about that and my utility provider doesn’t care that I have a paper. My bill is still due and it was about learning that responsibility, you know?
That the world doesn’t revolve around me, that I have to be responsible enough to submit myself and my finances to whatever it is that I’m doing. You know, for my lease, for my utilities, for my groceries, that kind of thing. I really appreciated, after the fact, that we kind of structured my finances in college this way.
That he would send me just one check because it just geared me up for when I did live on my own and have my own first job that I was in control of deciding how I wanted to spend my money. If I blew all my money on going to the movies and hanging out with friends, if I got to the checkout line like you were saying earlier and I didn’t have money then I guess that was eating rice a‘roni that week.
Terry Lineberger: Well, it’s funny, as I mentioned this to parents. As a parent, with a daughter going to college, I knew a lot of other parents with kids at a similar age. I was talking with parents about this when we did it and now this has been, you know, 13 years ago, 14 years ago or whenever it was.
Most parents say, “No way, can’t do that” and even my wife fought me and said, that’s too much to burden her with as an 18 year old, she shouldn’t have to pay all of her bills and do a budget and go to school.
Learning About Life
Charlie Hoehn: That’s the real world for everybody.
Terry Lineberger: Yes.
Kelly Lauterjung: Yeah.
Terry Lineberger: I won on that battle with my wife but in hindsight, it wasn’t as difficult, and it allowed Kelly and I have many conversations about budgeting and financing, which led into the other parts of, you know, conversations between her and her husband. As they became married, we sat down, we developed budgets for them as a young married couple.
We go over issues related to, they are young married couple with a newborn baby. How do you start saving for that child’s education? My family’s gotten bigger, I now have two sons in law that are in the mix. We still have these family discussions about business and money and there is no subject that in a sense is –
Kelly Lauterjung: Not discussed.
Terry Lineberger: Not discussed but you know, one of the things, if you don’t want to teach your kids about things during life, that’s okay I guess. But they will deal with money almost every single day for their whole life. Even when they’re 10 years old, maybe it’s just buying lunch or an ice cream or whatever, they need to understand money and transactions but certainly, when they’re graduating from college, like you said, they’re dealing with money decisions every single day of their life.
This is where parents would say, “I never talked to them about those things. I forgot that or it never occurred to me that they would know this from school,” or something like that.
Kelly Lauterjung: Our book is about building blocks. We have suggestions—this is just our family’s experience, it’s not the right way or the wrong way but it’s just sharing what we’ve done in our family, starting off as kids when my dad took my sister and I to open our first savings account or when my sister and I, we would be gifted stock every year for Christmas.
Stock in our favorite company of that year, we would have stock in McDonalds or Abercrombie & Fitch or Limited Two or Hasbro. We had a whole stock portfolio by the time we turned 18.
Charlie Hoehn: I am stealing that by the way, I’m totally doing that for my daughter, that’s awesome.
Kelly Lauterjung: Do it, it’s amazing, it’s awesome.
Terry Lineberger: I would give them money, I’d say “Okay, we’re going to buy you a stock.” I’d give them money around Christmas, $500 or $200 or whatever it was. I would say, “Okay, we’re going to buy a stock, what do you want to buy?”
They would have to come up with an idea and then we would do a limited amount of research, maybe it was look up some information about it or –
Kelly Lauterjung: What’s the ticker symbol, how much is it trading for? Real basic stuff.
Terry Lineberger: Then we would buy, and most of those positions, they still have in their portfolio.
Kelly Lauterjung: I’ve never sold one. I still have it.
Terry Lineberger: Julie had four shares in McDonalds and two shares of this and whatever. One of the things also about money that I think, when I work in a commission-based system or they are talking about the embarrassment of not having enough money. I always shared with our kids, our financial status.
I came from a very poor background. My mom was only 15 when I was born, I actually have an older sister. If you do the math, my mom was in eighth grade when she had kids. That was it for her, growing up in the 60’s and basically having three kids by the time she was 17 as a single mom.
I didn’t come from money or have access to any of this and I learned a lot of this on my own. When I had kids, we didn’t have access to credit and debit cards back in the 60’s and 70’s. Nobody loaned a single mom with three kids money. When we did something, we only had cash available to us.
“I understood money from the sense that we don’t have any or we do have some.”
If we had $20 in our hand or we didn’t have $20, that was my concept of money. I tried to teach that to my kids and so there are times where I would have a really good day, I would have something happen where I made a lot of money. I remember going to the bank one time and getting 100 $1 bills for each of my kids and took them out to dinner, and I gave them an envelope with 100 $1.
I had a big stack of money to share with them the success. Because, they had participated as a family in the struggles that we were going through. I also wanted them to understand, if you work really hard and have that success, you share it with people.
They understood, I think, from a young age that we might not have money all the time and then we can have something happen and we can have success. I wasn’t afraid to share the failures in our family as well as share the successes.
Kelly Lauterjung: Yeah, I think that’s something that’s really important for parents to do, a great way for them to learn from you is obviously to share the things that you’ve done well because that can be an encouragement or a motivator to your kids. That’s just not just finances, that’s healthy habits or anything in life.
Also, don’t be ashamed to share the things that you’ve made mistakes on. That’s like a warning, don’t do what I did, share that with your kids. I have a newborn baby girl, she’s three months old. I do not want her to do any of the things that I did wrong in my life.
I’m going to sure to share those with her. I’m not going to be ashamed about it, it’s going to be a coaching tool for her so that she doesn’t fall into the same traps that I might have fallen into. Good or bad experiences, you should share them with your children and not be ashamed of them.
Let’s Talk About Savings
Charlie Hoehn: Talk to me about saving?
Terry Lineberger: Well if you get nothing else from our book—we highlighted this as we were writing it, it was the number one thing—you have to have a habit of saving and I don’t care how old you are. If you have a five-year-old or a seven-year-old, every dollar that they earn, whether it would be babysitting or mowing grass or whatever, a portion of that should be saved. There are quite a few studies that will say the habit of saving is the number one predictor of financial wealth over time.
I’ve always been a saver. I’ve saved a portion of every paycheck that I have ever made and I want to really impart that. If you don’t have this habit by the time you are 30, you’re probably never going to have it. It’s really important to get this habit early and as far as getting out of debt, I think of debt as: there are probably a couple of places that it is okay to be in debt.
I was in credit card debt and I’ve bought cars on credit and home mortgages. I have done all of that as well but about 15 years ago I said, “No more” and I literally froze our credit cards. I took my wife’s and my credit cards and I put them in a Tupperware container filled with water and I put them in the freezer. There was a reason for that: if we needed them, we could get to them. It would take a little time, we would have to let them thaw out and whatever.
“But at some point you have to just stand up and say, “No more of this.””
So we see huge amounts of student loan debt, credit card debt, consumer debt with cars, and it is basically people buying things they can’t afford to impress people and it is detrimental. In the long term, you can’t build wealth if you are going into debt every month. So saving is the most important thing we think you’d get out of the book.
Kelly Lauterjung: We talk about savings in our family. You know dad always encouraged my sister and I to save—when we first started working it was half. Half of whatever you earn, half goes into savings and half is up to you to decide what are you going to do with it. I have just always stuck with that even to this day, I save a tremendous amount of money.
Whether it would be short term goals that I save for, like I knew we were having a baby, so I decided you know what? This is going to be a huge life change, I am just going to save for the next nine months and that way we have a little extra cash on hand to buy all the baby diapers that we are going need. Or we save for long term things. It is just coming up with a plan the book really builds throughout the chapters. In the beginning, we have you sit down and really look at, “What are your goals?”
“And from there, you come up with a budget.”
And you decide, “Okay these are the things that are really important to me and how I’m going to prioritize how I spend my money but also how I save.” Then we talk about savings and how are you saving for those short term and long term goals, and then investing. The next step past basic savings is those really long term goals like retirement or college, and we encourage people to start investing and coming up with a plan.
The book is really just it builds on itself with encouraging people to start with the very basic concept of: what is it that you want to accomplish in life, what is most important to you, and then save accordingly and make yourself successful based on what you determine is important for you and your family.
Terry Lineberger: You know, you mentioned earlier you have a one-year-old and most parents want to in some way help their children with college and you have the choice right now to say, “I am going to start saving for that,” or not and if you don’t that doesn’t mean when she turns 18 that she doesn’t go to college. It just means it is paid for in a different way, right? Either she borrows, or you pay out of pocket or she gets a job, or she goes to a less expensive collage.
But the fact is, you have a choice right now that you can change that right? But you have to think about it now and I think savings is really saying, “What do I really want to accomplish over the next two years, three years, 10 years and how do I give up” –
Kelly Lauterjung: It is building a plan.
Terry Lineberger: Yeah and what do I have to give up now to have what is really important to me later and a lot of times, we do what’s fun today in lieu of what’s really important to us. I think saving is just part of understanding that.
Kelly Lauterjung: Prioritizing.
Charlie Hoehn: I think there is a hesitation around investing because it is a little confusing and it can be a little bit technical right?
Kelly Lauterjung: Yeah, there are a lot of resources. We really encourage people that we meet with to automate because then you can’t say, “Oh I forgot this month,” or you put something else as a priority. I mean, from day one when I got my first big girl job, I automated everything. I automated my 401(k) contributions and I set to increase my contributions yearly by a certain percentage amount and automation is going to be a real big part in being successful in savings because it’s mindless. You just set it and forget it.
Terry Lineberger: Well, there are a lot of tools out there. There is a lot of information, but this goes back to the purpose of our book in the sense that if you as a parent, may not know the answers. There’s maybe some confusing information about investments and so you avoid that conversation but I think as a parent, it would be okay to say, “You know I don’t know very much about investing so let’s call someone.”
Kelly Lauterjung: Yeah or let’s research it together.
Terry Lineberger: But I know we need to do it, right? I don’t know how to do it personally but let’s call someone, let’s get some answers, take a class, let’s do some research. I am not an overwhelming expert on debt and credit scores and all of that but I know that there is information out there. I am not an overwhelming expert on say certain types of insurance, but I know the purpose of insurance and why it is important in having those discussions with your kids.
They are going to get a car and they are going to need to have insurance and you would be surprised how often we talk to a young married couple with kids and say, “What kind of car insurance do you have?” And they have no clue or “When is the last time you talked to your insurance agent?” “I don’t even know his name,” is what they will say. So you should be having those kinds of conversations routinely. I have an insurance agent.
I meet with him once a year to say, “Here’s what’s changed in my life and what do I need to do to protect what I want to protect?” And your life changes. All of a sudden, you’ve got a 16-year-old that is getting a car or you have one of your children living out of state and you are helping them rent an apartment or something like that and also your insurance needs are changing. You don’t know it yourself as a parent, you can find professionals.
I think part of parenting is to say, “Look you are going to need these things whether I tell you about them or not but you are going to need this. Let us find someone that we can trust. Let us find someone that we can work with.” I think it is confusing whether it would be investments or insurance or getting a home mortgage someday.
We try to find and network with people that can give us the education and ongoing support.
So that we don’t have to be experts in everything, but we need to talk to our children about these issues because they’re going to face them. None of those issues that I have spoken about you yourself are going to face.
Charlie Hoehn: What do you say typically to the parents or the kids who are just wrapped up in their own embarrassment, or their own resistance of some sort that’s emotionally based that keeps them from the financial literacy you are trying to impart?
Terry Lineberger: Well I think the first place is today is a new day, right? Start today, you get started today doing something about it and it will be different five years from now or you can wait. We’ve had clients come in and say, “Here is what I’ve done and I made all these mistakes and I don’t have this and I don’t have this,” and so I say, “Here is our plan on how to get you moving” and then they may even come back and say something like:
“Well why can’t I just do this on my own?”
And I say, “Well you could, when are you going to get started? You are 50 years old and you haven’t started by now, when are you going to get started?”
I think just telling people, “Look, what you’ve done in the past has no bearing on what you can do in the future. Forgive yourself and today is a new day, you are a new person today. Let’s start there. And getting started, why I am so against it?
“Once something is started it is half way completed.”
That is so true in saving or investing or budgeting, once you get started it is much easier to keep it going. So if someone is struggling to start saving in their 401(k), start as small as you can. Start with the 1% and then every six months raise it by 1%.
Kelly Lauterjung: Yeah and take a baby step today, you know what I mean? Definitely don’t read our book, or if you tend to research online, don’t try to implement everything all at one time. It is a process so maybe the first step today is switching to cash for one part of your budget so that you for sure stay in control of eating out. Say, “I am going to only spend this amount and I am going to get cash and I am going to stick to it.”
Or maybe it is calling your insurance agent saying, “Hey what am I actually covered for?” So don’t try to implement everything at one time. Take a baby step, give yourself grace and one step forward is a huge step in the right direction.
Making Finances Fun
Charlie Hoehn: Do you have any advice on how to make this fun for people? Just facing it and accepting it makes it so much easier, right?
Kelly Lauterjung: Well the more you avoid it, the more you’re unaware and the more you’re unaware, things just slip through the cracks and then, all of a sudden, months have gone by and you haven’t checked your checking account. It’s like you have no understanding of where you’re at, so I would totally agree with you on that. I would say avoidance is just going to make the problem worse and so that’s why you just start with one area that you feel like you can tackle.
And you’d be surprised, I find that there is actually so much freedom in doing my budget and doing my automatic savings and then doing my automatic investing plan because it makes me feel good that I am doing something in the right direction. It may not be the most, maybe I only get to save $20 one month but that is $20 in the right direction and that is really exciting, and I think it snowballs.
“As you get going you start to see success.”
As you start to see your savings account build over time, it becomes really exciting. We automate savings, so I don’t necessarily check my savings and my investment accounts all the time. I do but not always. I am kind of nerdy like that but there was a couple month period where I just didn’t check my investment accounts every day and one day I went in and I added up my investment account, my IRA account, my 401(k). I just compiled everything kind of built myself a net worth statement.
I was floored at the success that my husband and I had. I literally ran into my dad’s office, I go, “Oh my gosh dad I’m rich!” I never knew I had all of this money because I automate here and I automate there and it was just really surprising to me how much I had already accumulated in a short amount of time and he was like, “Well it’s just math.”
Terry Lineberger: Yeah, well I could tell you, she goes, “I never thought I had this” and I said, “Oh I knew exactly how much you would have because that’s just math” right? You put in $100 a month and 12 months from now you would have $1,200. I mean it is just math. Now there is some growth components and things like that, but I said, “You want me to tell you how much you are going to have when you’re 30 if you keep doing this, or 35?” I can do that as well and don’t be surprised.
When we meet with our clients for example, we call them our progress review meetings, it is amazingly fulfilling when you have designed a process, and a person is doing these things, and then you call and say, “We’ve gone over this progress review and now you’ve got enough money to send your kid to college and you’ve still got five years left to do whatever you want but you’ve made it” and we cheer those success. Kelly says we’re our cheerleader for our clients because we want them to be successful.
We encourage them and give them great guidance; one of the reasons that Kelly finally came in this business, I had this friend from high school or from elementary school and he’s a school teacher and his wife is a stay at home mom. They’re not in any field that you would think makes a tremendous amount of money but he had a child 22 years ago maybe, 23 years ago and he called me.
He says, “What do I do?” and I said, “We start a savings plan right now.”
Literally it was about 100 bucks a month and then occasionally, he would make a little extra money and put money into it and about three, four years ago I was having dinner with him—his daughter is at the University of South Carolina. He’s paying for her college and she’s about a year away from graduating now with a master’s degree and he’s been able to pay for that.
“She has not had to take any student loans.”
We were at a dinner and he basically was thanking me in front of a lot of people for the ability to do that on the kind of salary he made and his wife being a stay at home because he started so early and he kept making progress and I kept encouraging him.
My daughter Kelly was there, and this was before she was in the business, and she came to me afterwards and that was the moment where she felt, “I should do this for a living.”
Kelly Lauterjung: It was so impactful because I was so proud of him for being able to have the diligence and that habit that we were talking about, the habit of saving, to be able to provide this for his daughter but it was so cool to see how my dad had played a role in that to be an encouragement to him and on that journey. I think that is a lot of what we do for our clients.
We sit and we say, “What do you want out of your life? What is it that you want to do?”
“And then we help them get there.”
We encourage them, and sometimes, they can feel defeated and deflated because they had to take money out for an emergency or they didn’t get to put in as much as they had hoped but any little bit is helpful.
I mean if you start with $20 here and then you get a bonus, so you put a little extra in, you’d be really surprised at how quickly your financial life can change just by making these small steps. I think accountability is a huge thing.
Going back to your original question of how can people be motivated when the circumstances might seem bleak. I think finding someone who can be an encouragement to you, be an accountability partner is huge. Maybe that is your spouse, maybe it is a friend, maybe it is a financial adviser, but I would really encourage everybody to have an accountability partner in reaching the financial goals you set for yourself.
Terry Lineberger: As a parent, I’ve never really met a parent that didn’t encourage their child. So part of this book is to have those conversations with your children and encourage them. This can work for you, and maybe I didn’t do it correctly but here are some things that we should talk about to get you off the right foot and if nothing else, as a parent, I hope you read this and feel the sense that “Hey, I can encourage my child to do even better than I have done.”
Maybe they have done well but they can do even better and I can be a source of encouragement. When they are frustrated or when they are afraid or when they are whatever, I can encourage them and tell them, “Hey let’s work through this together.”
I hope they get that from the book as well.
Kelly Lauterjung: Yeah, we want the book to really be a conversation starter on a multi-generational level. You and your wife starting to talk with each other, maybe your one year old is not ready to talk about it but you know, you implement some of these things and as she grows over the years you can.
As my dad was saying earlier, you probably need to have a conversation with your parents about what their care looks like as they get older, and are they prepared for retirement and what does that look like? The book is really meant to be a conversation starter, multi-generational, on basic financial concepts.
Work with Kelly and Terry
Charlie Hoehn: How can our listeners potentially contact you, work with you, and follow your journey, that sort of thing?
Kelly Lauterjung: We are both on LinkedIn. You can search us and connect with us and that is a great way to connect.
LinkedIn is a great way for most everyone to connect and stay updated about our journey and where we’re going, what’s going on in our family.
Charlie Hoehn: Could you give our listeners a challenge? What’s the one thing that you want them to do from your book today or this week that would have a positive impact?
Kelly Lauterjung: I would say for me, pick one person in your family that you want to have a conversation with and just do it and be vulnerable about it. Share something good that you have done or share a mistake that you’ve made and just start the conversation. Because often times, it is that first step, that first conversation just opens the door.
Then before you know it, there is a lot of freedom in having those conversations and maybe you get encouraged by one another.
“Pick a person in your family that you want to have a conversation with about one aspect of finances.”
Terry Lineberger: I guess I am thinking as an older parent with older children, but talk to your kids. Don’t let money be the one thing you never discuss with your children.
If you don’t have the conversations about sex, that’s okay. They shouldn’t have sex until they’re after 30 anyway. You should have a conversation about money because they are going to start buying insurance and gas and all those things—they have money decisions from a very young age.
Don’t let that be the one thing you don’t talk to them about.