Stephanie Mackara

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Money Minded Families

In her new book, financial socialization expert Stephanie Mackara reveals how family financial wellness begins with your mindset, not your bank balance

Many people avoid financial planning because of emotional baggage they have around money. They unwittingly leave their children poorly prepared for a future that will require them to be more financially savvy than ever. Financial socialization expert Stephanie Mackara wrote her new book “Money Minded Families” to change that dynamic.

“As a society, we tend to forgo financial lessons until it is too late and bad habits are already formed,” says Stephanie, a wife, mom, and President and Principal Wealth Advisor at Charleston Investment Advisors, LLC. “Our children are facing a real challenge. They're not going to have the governmental resources and they’re probably not going to have the corporate resources we have.

“Everything's going to be on their shoulders, so it's critical we learn how we can be the best influence for our children to be financially well.”

Teaching kids life skills for financial wellness is as important as modeling healthy habits and preparing them academically, Stephanie says. And parents need to start early because by the time kids go to college, they have already established financial habits, for good or bad.

“Money Minded Families” contains easy-to-digest lessons on everything from educating kids about business and markets to creating sound saving and spending habits. With activities for kids framed around three pigs named “Spend,” “Save,” and “Share,” Stephanie helps parents impart crucial life lessons on how being mindful of money today leads to long-term rewards.

With the unprecedented coronavirus pandemic reshaping lives and roiling markets, Stephanie shares lessons for families to “financially socialize while social distancing.” And as uncertainty runs rampant, she teaches people to focus on what they can control.

“You can’t control the markets or coronavirus, but you can control the message you’re delivering to your family and the habits you’re setting for your family to make sure you are spending less than you earn and saving more than you need,” she says.

“People are afraid of what’s going on out there. At the end of the day, if you have goals and you understand what you as a family value, you can use that to center yourself. Then you can control those things that are going to make you the most successful, financially and personally.”

Our mindset really does have more to do with achieving financial wellness than our bank account, Stephanie says, because it shapes everything about our financial lives — how we budget (or not), save, spend, invest, and plan for the future.

Financial socialization is “a learned process of acquiring knowledge about money and money management and developing skills in financial practices” such as banking, budgeting, saving, and credit card use. The term has been around for years, but Stephanie is updating it for the new millennium with her emphasis on families.

“Financial socialization is the way we learn to spend, save, share, and invest — and the best teachers we have are our parents,” Stephanie says.

Stephanie can share expertise on topics including how to:

* Understand our “money personalities.”
* Create healthy spending, budgeting, and saving habits.
* Financially socialize kids while social distancing.
* Budget and save for college, retirement, travel, and other major expenses.
* Manage and grow a business.
* Become financially independent and retire early (FIRE).

“My purpose is to inspire personal wealth — to empower people to live their purpose, to wake up every day with a plan knowing where they are going and how to get there,” Stephanie says.

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