How to Raise a Financially Smart Kid | Mother’s Day Special with Ruth Berman (Cody’s Mom)

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In today’s episode, Cody and Justin are joined by Cody’s very own mom Ruth Berman! We wanted to do something special for Mother’s Day this year and we think this interview hits the mark regardless of the holiday.

We cover her origins and the unique jobs she and her own parents had. Then, we spend a good bit of time discussing how to raise children in a matter that makes them both savvy and comfortable with money. We think there’s a ton of great nuggets in there for parents.

Finally, we discuss some of the ways she’s diversifying her income streams and maximizing every dollar. Ruth doesn’t see retirement coming anytime soon but she’s making some fantastic money moves.

If that doesn’t sell you then stick around to possibly catch some dirt on Cody! After you listen be sure to let us know what you think.

Episode Summary

  • Raised by parents who were older (41 / 57) when they had her
  • They went through the great depression which really impacted the families relationship with money
  • Her parents taught her about savings and opened up all the kids’ savings accounts
  • Her mom stayed at home and her dad was a Christmas tree farmer
  • Since money only came in one little part of the year, they had to be good at budgeting
  • Ruth was always incredibly frugal because of this
  • Her first real job was manual printing press work in someone’s basement
  • She started college for music and then swapped to nutrition and massage therapy
  • Her parents paid for college but she did pay them back $10k
  • As a follow on to college she had jobs as an exercise therapist and health screener
  • She had Cody at age 30 while her job as a massage therapist
  • Ruth discovered investing a few years prior where you would just pick out stocks and fill out a form and mail that check-in… what?
  • Then we transition into how to raise financially responsible kids.
  • Her first tip is to simply lead by example.
  • Cody and his brother knew when they went to the store that they were headed to the clearance section.
  • She also tried to put incentives on learning in order to learn things like screen time.
  • Ruth also came up with all kinds of creative games to promote exercise and learning even if it’s just for a few will still do it!
  • She says she has some mixed feelings on allowances if they’re not gained through doing some kind of chore
  • Cody also talks about how his dad would match anything he was willing to save.. don’t we wish our 401k was like that?
  • Ruth is now finding all these amazing health surveys like wearing an Apple watch and sleep studies which pay $2k & $7k respectively
  • These kind of random income streams are one reason she has no fears that Cody will be just fine despite quitting his job
  • She is also keeping her big costs low by renting out part of her house and running that house on solar power
  • Then we start discussing how to handle your kids’ college tuition bills
  • Cody and his brother decided on their own to skip going to a private school and hit the state school instead which was a huge sigh of relief
  • Ruth then opens up about going through her divorce and the personal transformation following it
  • She didn’t know how anything worked or how any of the bills were paid prior to the divorce
  • But she just kept trying new things and learning and has become more and more independent
  • Justin tries to pull some dirt out on Cody from Ruth but Easter egg thievery was about the best we could do…but Cody may have warned her ha
  • Looking back she wishes she would have saved more earlier, built a smaller house, and went into medical research
  • Ruth thinks she’ll keep working for the foreseeable future but hopes to back off the 40 hour weeks after age 60 and increase the side hustles

Key Takeaways

  1. Try, Fail, Repeat: Ruth found herself with a lot of new responsibilities after the divorce. She could have tried to throw money at them but instead, she tried to do them herself. It wasn’t always pretty but she always learned and eventually had a new skill.
  2. Lead By Example: Whether your raising kids or just trying to teach a friend about money, you’ll need to practice what you preach.
  3. Growth Mindset: You can either have a growth or a fixed mindset. A growth mindset means that you believe you can grow your skillset through hard work and dedication.

Call to Action

Whether it’s your own children or through some volunteer program, find a young person out there and help raise the bar on their financial education!

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Learn More About Your Hosts:

Fly to FI (Cody’s Blog)

Saving-Sherpa (Justin’s blog)