Music Mondays – The Riddle

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The Riddle

As a financial planner, I spend a good portion of my time trying to figure out the answers to my client’s financial challenges. Sometimes the answers are as clear as day and sometimes they are like riddles that need some outside of the box thinking to solve. Fortunately, I love problem solving so even the most difficult financial riddles do not trouble me.

Over my 14-year career in financial services, I don’t think I ever met a riddle that I couldn’t solve, and it’s one of the reasons why I love working so much. When I am in the office or working with a client, I see things clearly and everything makes sense. In my personal life, though, not everything always makes sense.

My One Unsolvable Riddle

I knew from the first date with my hubby that I wanted to marry him, and I even told my roommate so that I would be on record as having known I would marry him from the first date. I also knew that I wanted to be a mother, in fact, I knew that I wanted to have three children. My hubby, who is a science teacher, believes in zero population growth, so we settled on two.

As many of you know, I only have one child. There are a number of reasons why I have an only child, but the biggest is probably the fact that he represented the one riddle that was unsolvable. I loved him from the second he was a blip on the ultrasound screen, and loved him more when I held him in my arms for the first time, but he was not an easy baby.

My son didn’t sleep through the night until he was a little over a year old, and then a few short months after that glorious trend, his molars came in followed by his knowledge of scaling the crib. Between the ages of 2 and 3 we frequently had a late night visitor in the bed with us. At five he was diagnosed with ADHD, and we actually had to pull him from Kindergarten at one school to move him to public school because he had two strikes out of three within two months of starting school.

For most of his infancy and toddler years, I told people that I loved going to work because I could figure work out, where I could never figure my son out. It’s hard for a Type A overachiever to feel unsuccessful day in and day out with the person you love most in the world.

Starting to Figure the Riddle Out

I love the song, The Riddle, by Five for Fighting because it’s essentially a song between a father and a son and at the end of it, the father realizes that the reason for the world is “You and I.” We can make life as complicated as we want, but at the end of the day, it boils down to individual relationships and what we make of them.

Last week, this message really hit home for me when I recorded a podcast with my son. You will hear it on Friday; however, at the end of recording it, I was filled with so much pride and sense of purpose for having helped shape this little riddle of a guy.

We had a rough start with my son, and we still have challenges with him; however, with each passing year, the riddle is not so much of a burden to me. I have accepted the fact that I will never have him completely figured out, but I do know (because I have it recorded) that when I speak and talk to him about money, he is listening. Also, he is not just listening; he is taking it in and making it a part of his day-to-day life.

Money Shouldn’t Be An Unsolvable Riddle

I have parents ask me all the time when they should start to talk to kids about money, and my response is the sooner the better. We may not understand our children because they are the ultimate life riddle, but we need to understand that our purpose in life is to do everything possible to make them the best person they can be. In my mind, financial literacy helps people become the best they can be.

Kids may be complicated, but teaching them money isn’t. I wrote a post a while back about 7 tips to raising a financially fit kid as well as one on talking to your kids about money. At the end of the day, you just have to start the conversation. We starting talking to Will about money when he was 5, and we have not stopped.

I may not understand everything about my son, but I am committed to helping him understand money and his relationship with it so money problems are not a riddle for him.

PS: In case you are wondering about my blog image, this is the latest riddle in our house. We started this new puzzle last week and we can’t find this ONE last piece.

Do you talk to your kids about money? If you don’t have kids, do you talk to others and help them understand it?

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Shannon is a financial planner who left a “traditional” financial services firm to start her own company, The Financial Gym, because she felt traditional financial services firms did not have the tools or resources to help people in their 20s and 30s who are starting out and trying to build assets while also managing debt. She realized that the key to long-term personal financial success is a commitment to financial fitness and making smart financial choices. Through her blog, Financially Blonde, her book, Train Your Way To Financial Fitness, her podcast, Martinis and Your Money and The Financial Gym, Shannon is committed to making financial fitness fun, easy and accessible for everyone.

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