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Interview with Mike Chindamo
Certified Financial Planner
Creator Family Financial Advocate Journal

Q. Please tell us a little about your background?
A. I’ve been in the financial services/advisor business since 1978 and became a Certified Financial Planner in 1984. I’m also an Accredited Investment Fiduciary Manager. I manage finances for family owned and owner managed businesses.

Q. What drew you to writing about kids and money / or money?
A. The focus of our work is the family.

Q. Who introduced you to saving and/or money and at what age?
A. I did not come from a well financial educated family, thus training was non-existent. When I got into the investment business at age 29 is when it all began to make sense.

Q. Do you have a favorite place or container to save change? If so, would you tell us a little about it?
A. Absolutely. I was advised to do this by a very highly educated CFP who later became a published author. I still drop my change every day into a 5 gallon glass water cooler jug. I empty it each year and there is usually a good amount of found money. For years I rented a cabin in upstate NY on a beautiful lake that was fully paid for with the cash in the jug.

Q. What do you think the biggest challenge parents face when it comes to teaching children about money?
A. Explaining what proper spending and priorities should be in the face of such massive amounts of coverage glamorizing really bad behavior by some teen idols.

Q. What's your best tip for parents on teaching children about money?
A.  BE A PARENT AND LEADER INSTEAD OF A FRIEND.  Children need to be told what to do, not intensely coddled. Children have not developed the appropriate thinking abilities, thus that is the parents job.

Q. What's the biggest mistake you think parents make when it comes to teaching children about money?
A.  Allowing children to purchase items that are useless and outright irresponsible even if the child is using their own money. Also, allowing kids to utilize a charge card and or spend more than they have sets a very irresponsible and life damaging behavior.

Q. Are you pro allowance? Briefly, why or why not?
A. I’m pro allowance in respect that kids do feel that they have some independence. In our case with our son - we have always felt that we would supply all that he needs, thus we have sometimes said here is x amount of money for school clothes etc. So now you need to buy the following things with this amount of money. It teaches the kids some decision making along with responsibility.

Q. At what age do you think credit card education should begin?
A. Probably at the time they attend full-time college.

Q. At what age do you think parents should allow children to have a credit card?
A. Probably have a card at that time (college) with a limit on it.
Q. If you could only give a child one piece of advice on money, what would it be?
A. Always live substantially below your means!!!

Q. What's your favorite family activity?
A. Anything our son is involved in.

Q. What's your favorite money quote or saying?
A. "You can either learn from my experience now or learn from your mistakes later - the first is a lot less expensive!”

Q. Do you have any final thoughts you’d like to share?
A. Invest as much time as humanly possible doing everything with your kids, even when out shopping. Ask kids their advice about what you are considering and why they think that way.

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