Hey Kids, Here’s How Much Money We Have…

As parents, we want to shield our children from so many of the harsh realities of the adult world. Sometimes we try to “protect” our kids from other facts, too, even benign ones. Many parents resist or avoid telling their children what they earn or how much money they have saved for college.

Some parents feel uncomfortable revealing this information. Perhaps they fear they might be judged or questioned. Maybe they wish they had tucked away more. If teens have their sights set on an expensive college, their parents may be reluctant to explain that a school is financially out of reach. (more…)

Bay Area Housing Dilemma

In most parts of the country, buying a home is a rite of passage for a young or newly married couple or someone who has settled into a career.

The U.S. Census Bureau reports that at the end of last year, 64.2 percent of Americans were homeowners, but that percentage varies dramatically by age. Of people age 65 and older, 79.2 percent owned homes, but among those under 35, slightly more than one in three—36 percent—were homeowners.

If you live in the Bay Area, you might be chuckling at those statistics. Housing prices in this region are stratospheric and steadily increasing. Between the fall of 2016 and the fall of 2017, the median price for a single-family Bay Area home jumped 15 percent, to $825,000, a new high, according to CoreLogic. The dream of home ownership remains out of reach for many people, even when couples are each making six-figure incomes. (more…)

Change Your Money Mindset by Rejecting the “B-Word”

Is it possible to discuss spending and saving without mentioning the word “budget”?

Many people—and plenty of so-called financial experts—insist you can’t pay your bills, set enough money aside for retirement or understand your spending unless you create and follow a strict budget.

Their rationale is that when you see where your money goes, you can then trim your spending and siphon off cash for fun stuff like vacations or obligations like paying off your mortgage or credit cards. (more…)

Making Peace with Your Teen’s “Impractical” Major

Graduation time is nearly here, which means that many high school seniors will hear two questions again and again: “Where are you going to college?” and “What are you going to study?”

Some students may say that they’re thinking about becoming a petroleum engineer, a software developer or a computer programmer. All those careers fall under the so-called STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) umbrella. When those students earn their degrees, they’ll have little trouble finding well-paying work with long-term career potential.

A 2014 Bureau of Labor Statistics report predicts that STEM jobs will grow 13 percent between 2012 and 2022, a pace exceeding the 11 percent growth rate of other occupations. If your teen has her sights set on becoming an information security analyst, recruiters will be lining up: Demand for workers who can fill that role is projected to grow by 37 percent by 2022. (more…)

The Art and Science of “Smarter” Spending

Although a number of studies have focused on the effect of income on happiness, Elizabeth Dunn, a social psychologist at the University of British Columbia, also wanted to understand the effect of spending choices on happiness.

For example, previous research clearly demonstrated that income has a predictably positive effect on level of happiness, but these levels remain flat over time even as income increases. This finding puzzled Dunn and she wanted to find out why happiness did not increase along with income. (more…)