Rob, re floods: ‘This was a MONDAY kind of column, not a FRIDAY kind of column! But thanks for not blaming the Republicans for hurricanes.’

☞ Global warming is currently considered a wash in its expected effect on hurricanes, Bryan tells me.

Chuck Smith: ‘According to my State Farm agent, flood insurance does NOT cover water damage caused by a tropical occurrence. Damage in this case would be covered by the windstorm policy which, in Florida, may be issued by the Florida Windstorm Underwriting Association in certain areas.’

☞ Ah, the FWUA. I know it well – and should have been less generic Friday. I believe what usually happens after a hurricane is a lot of wrangling between flood insurers and windstorm insurers, and, yes, you need both.


Some of you helped with my story in yesterday’s PARADE – ‘Teach Your Child to be Smart about Money.’ Thank you! Unfortunately, almost all your wonderful stories were left on the cutting room floor. I hope I may have a chance to use them elsewhere someday. In the meantime, six of my favorites:

Mike Hanlon: ‘When our younger son, Tim, was 8, he still got visits from the Tooth Fairy. He’d put the tooth under his pillow, and when he was asleep my wife would roll up a dollar bill, tie it with gold thread, sneak into his room when he was asleep and replace the tooth with the money. One day Tim lost a tooth and had another that was very loose. He put the lost tooth under his pillow when he went to bed, but when my wife tried to exchange the money for the tooth, she also found this note:

Dear Tooth Fairy,

If I can get more money by giving you two teeth at once,
please don’t take this one yet.

Love, Tim

‘My wife decided the Tooth Fairy doesn’t give multiple-tooth bonuses, and left the dollar. Tim never mentioned the note or the response to us – but I think he may be headed for a career in finance.’

Marian Calabro: ‘Best thing my parents ever ‘taught’ me about money was by this example: They never spent a dime they didn’t have. So I’ve never spent a dime I didn’t have, unless you count the mortgage (paid off last August, hooray). This valuable lesson has helped me survive and even thrive as a full-time freelancer writer for half my career. There’s a certain security in being debt-free that is very satisfying.’

Vicki Walters: ‘My wonderful but spontaneous parents taught me that, unless you do a little planning and saving, when the money runs out, you will have people from the bank show up at your house one day (as they did at ours when I was in the fifth grade) and walk around appraising everything you own. A really sad moment for my parents and all of us kids. I am happy to say that Mother and Daddy did finally recover and eventually (over years) paid off all of their debts without going bankrupt – a real point of pride for my father. So I would say that they taught me to always have an emergency fund and to not live beyond your means and to be responsible for your debts. They also taught us to tithe and share our good fortune (they weren’t always broke – when they had money, they gave generously). I can remember collecting for UNICEF on Halloween and being exasperated with Mother for signing us up for this. But now I understand and am so proud that she gave us the gift of a social conscience. While my tithing goes to environmental and women’s rights groups instead of the church, I still can’t feel good about myself unless I make those donations. And, lastly, being the child of my parents, I think that sometimes you just have to spend some money to have a wonderful time – my husband and I just put the deposit down on a cruise to Alaska and I can hardly wait.’

Vine Crandall: ‘I was lucky. When in First Grade or so, in the early 1950s, I was fascinated with Scrooge McDuck and his roomful of money, which I always envied. My parents pointed out that if I saved all the bits of cash relatives gave me, that would be a good start. Then they introduced me to the stock market, and we first bought 5 shares of Pepsi Cola, which I was then swilling, followed by 5 shares of Corning Glass, which was only 40 miles away and could be visited. That prompted me to start following prices in the Wall Street Journal, which led to actually reading an occasional article. I still don’t have the room full of money, but do still have the Corning (now 120 shares) and a few other issues which enable me to keep the wolf from the door without gainful employment. Executive summary: find some way to catch their interest early, teach them about compounding, and set an example of living within your means in the first place.’

Robert Merrill: ‘My father offered to pay me $1000 on my 21st birthday if I did not start smoking cigarettes before that day. As a ten year old, that seemed like a fortune and something I wanted. It was truly motivating. Unfortunately he died before then but I have never started and was never tempted (the smell was bad enough)! Even before I was 21 though, I saw the real value of his offer and stopped caring about the money. Neither of my parents was very disciplined financially but I feel like that was his best ‘investment’ ever. I have, of course, saved thousands of dollars as well as my health. I just found out that my mother has lung cancer from her 50 years of smoking. I’m not sure how I became such a saver but that trait will serve me well to help her pick up what Medicare doesn’t.’

Dan Nachbar: ‘Allowance isn’t pay. Don’t link allowance to specific tasks. Work around the house is a responsibility. An allowance is a privilege. Give an allowance once a month rather than once a week. The dollar amounts will be higher, and lessons on managing your cash more real.’


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