“Money Letters 2 my Daughter” is a series of short letters written to my 17-year-old daughter (Amber), but the messages include advice that will span her entire lifetime. Turns out, most people wish they had this type of information, so that’s my motivation for sharing the book with the world. My hope is to “Raise America’s Financial IQ”, one reader at a time.
Take a look at a few of the letters in the book below, and if you would like to see an entire list of every letter in the book, click here.
A few of the letters from the Book…
I want you to be aware of your rights as a consumer to complain. If you have issues that are not resolved to your satisfaction with a company you are doing business with, there are many agencies where you can file an official complaint, like the Better Business Bureau (www.bbb.org) and your State’s Attorney General’s Office (www.naag.org). There is even a very special agency specifically designed to address consumer complaints of banks and other financial institutions, called the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (www.consumerfinance.gov/complaint).
You can also try using unofficial resources like consumer complaint or business rating websites, like Yelp (www.yelp.com). If you are really bold (and I know you are), post a video on You Tube (www.youtube.com). If the video is compelling enough, I’ll bet your issue will get resolved real quick.
Use these resources, official and unofficial, to exercise your rights and stand up and fight when you’ve been mistreated.
Mom raising a Complainer
When you are ready to open your own investment account, I recommend starting online. Your generation definitely has the easy button on this one.
Most of the major discount brokers offer online account set up and walk you through each step. They also may offer a bonus for opening a new account with them, like cash in your account or free trades for the first couple of months. So they hold your hand, and give you free money. Hmmm…that sounds a lot like mom, doesn’t it?
Here are a few more things I want you to know about online brokers:
- Most of them charge $4-$10 to buy or sell a stock
- It will only take about $0-2,500 to get started
- Most of them have a group of Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) and Mutual Funds available that have not transaction fee
- Every broker will have some type of online tools to help you analyze stocks and other investments
- You can find reviews and ratings of brokers at www.stockbrokers.com or www.brokerage-review.com.
Mom giving stamp of approval to online brokers
When you need to borrow money, you have so many options (the better your credit, the more options you have). Your first thought will probably be to go to one of the big banks that you see advertised on TV and the Internet all the time. Those should not be at the top of your list because they rarely have the best rates and their customer service often sucks. My favorite place for loans and other financial services is credit unions (proudly owned by the members they serve). Most have much better rates than the big banks and even better cus-tomer service. To me, this is a great set up! To help you decide the best place to go when you need a car, home, personal, or other type of loan, take a look at the guide in this letter.
You have asked me why I have collected so many $2 bills over the years. I know it is a little eccentric (a nice word for crazy) that I have saved over 1,800 in $2 bills; worth over $3,600 in total, but the answer is simple: If they were $1 bills, I would have spent them all by now. It was just another way for me to save rather than spend. Every time I went to a bank, I would ask the teller for $2 bills. After over 20 years of doing that, it just added up. One day I’ll pass this $2 bill collection on to you (which I am sure you will spend on worthless crap) but hopefully you will appreciate the lesson that saving even the smallest amount adds up.
Mom convinced $2 bills are better than ones
Did you know that it takes just $50 a week for you to become a millionaire? Assuming a 9% annual rate of return by investing in the stock market, you would have a million dollars over a 40-year period. No joke! Pretty amazing, huh? If you and your friends want to take this challenge, I will give you the first $50 to get started after you graduate high school. Take a look at the chart that shows three different ways you can easily get to $1 million by investing regularly over time. Also, feel free to try whatever scenario you want by using an online calculator, like the one you can find at www.dinkytown.net or www.bankrate.com.
Mom turning $50 tricks
With regards to social security for your retirement—there won’t be any. As a matter of fact, there will hardly be any left when I retire. Lucky for you, I have planned so that you won’t have the burden of taking care of me in my old age. I hope you give the same gift to your children.
I am giving you three copies of this book: one for you to keep, one for you to give to your daughter, and one to give to your granddaughter. My hope is that by then, the generational chain of bad money decisions will have been forever broken.
Mom with a succession plan
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