A few of my coworkers are going to be surprised when they read this, but some have already seen the photographic evidence.

When I was in high school I wore my hair in a mohawk. I wore black lipstick. I went through two cans of Super Bold Hold Aqua Net each week and spent oodles on fuchsia hair dye. I owned an excessive array of drapey-flowey gowns, ankle length skirts and shapeless shifts. All in black.

At the time I thought I was really “expressing myself”. While that may have been true, something else was also true: I wasted scads of simoleans to look like a very strange bird.

It was nearly 20 years ago when I was telling a former co-worker about my questionable choice of cosmetics when she asked me a question that changed my life: How much money did I spend making a fool of myself? I did the rough math. It came up to about $21 a week, enough money that had my parents talked with me about Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs), compounding interest, and opened one for me I’d have thrown the odd Jackson into the account. Why do I know this is true? Because study after study shows that the single most important influence on your kids’ financial values is you, the parent.

Have you started having the money talk with your kids? Financial topics are obviously age appropriate, but the sooner you start introducing them to the idea of budgeting, saving, and investing, the more likely it is they’ll be curious about these topics as they age and their knowledge on these subjects will compound, too.

I spend a lot of time in high schools getting teens excited about investing. I show them a goofy picture of me at 16, and how compounding interest can turn a teenager into a millionaire more easily than it does an adult with a paycheck. I show them that spending their time, rather than their money, makes them wealthier in the long run. It might sound surprising, but at the end of the hour they’re into it, and they say they intend to talk to their parents about it. This is where you come in: That enthusiasm needs to be harnessed into action.

We have an amazing team of financial coaches and advisors here, and if you want to get your kids on the right financial track, we’re going to back your play. If you want to bring your son or daughter in for a chat about budgeting or credit we’re on board. And we make it fun! If you’re ready to open an investment account for your kids or yourself, we’ve got Gavin and Ken to help you get started. Just say the word and we’ll help you make it happen.

Alicia Diefenbach

My name is Alicia Diefenbach and I’m a Community Relations Specialist at Verity Credit Union.  I absolutely love my role at Verity!  I have the opportunity to explore the communities in which we’re located, reach out to organizations and individuals making these places dynamic, inviting places to live, and get involved with activities that support their well-being.

In my spare time I dote on my vegetable garden.  It still never ceases to amaze me that I can create my dinner out of dirt, some seeds, and cooperative weather.   I love my dog, Frank.  Also, I go to rock shows.  A whole lotta rock shows.

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