Launching Financial Grownups With Bobbi Rebell

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[119] – If you have kids or grandkids anywhere between the ages of 16 and 26, now is the time to teach them how to be financial grownups.

In this episode, Jeremy Keil speaks with Bobbi Rebell, CFA, financial author, and podcaster, about her book Launching Financial Grownups. In the book, she discusses the topic of “almost adult kids” – kids aged 16-26 who are in the process of becoming adults. She talks about how important it is to listen to them and their goals and to be a partner with them rather than a helicopter parent.

Bobbi discusses:

  • Why she considers kids aged 16-26 “almost adult kids,” and what it means
  • Why parents need to show, model, and listen more when teaching their almost adult kids about managing finances.
  • How to not be a helicopter parent when teaching your kids about finances
  • Why she believes digital currency isn’t a bad thing when it comes to teaching kids about finances and how people can embrace the advantages that come with it
  • And more

Launching Financial Grownups

Almost Adult Kids

People try their best and are well-intentioned, but not everyone has a lot of advantages, whereas Bobbi was able to save up for her first home while living with her parents, without college debt. And that’s something she passed on to her oldest daughter who is featured in the book and bought her first home at age 24.

She lived at home during the pandemic, saved up to buy her first home, and Bobbi did a lot of things to help her daughter in terms of monitoring what she was doing, doing check-ins, and maintaining a spreadsheet of her progress. And she succeeded. She bought her first home.

Bobbi learned when writing the book that in raising almost-adult kids, kids aged 16 to 26, you have to be partners with them and understand that they’re only going to do what you motivate them to do.

Motivation is very personal and unique to each person, so you can’t necessarily tell them their goals, but it’s important to listen to them and focus on their goals. Be a parent, grandparent, or just an adult who cares about them and helps them achieve their goals.

More Listening, Less Telling

Although you are the parent of your children, keep in mind that you are not the parent you were when they were young. You have to change the way that you approach them.

Every child’s situation is different. You have to adapt this to what works for you, but you have to listen to their goals first and then work backwards and make sure they know you’re not going to judge them when they come to you with questions.

It’s important to let them know that even if you don’t know the answer to all of their questions, you’ll be there for them and help them figure it out together. We want to guide them without judging them because if we judge them, they won’t come back to us for help when they need it.

Let Kids Learn Without A Lecture

When we lecture kids when they’re learning, we’ll unintentionally alienate them. There is a lot of brain development happening from the ages of 16 to 26. There are times when they want to separate from their parents and become independent.

When they do that, you want to make sure that they know that you’re there for them even though they’re sometimes rejecting your help, and keep a close eye on them.

One of Bobbi’s recommendations is to keep an eye on your children’s bank accounts. Especially if you give them subsidies in the form of things like paying for their college tuition, having them live at home rent-free, or just for the sake of keeping those lines open where you can see what’s going on in their bank accounts because you love them.

Bobbi doesn’t believe it’s an invasion of privacy. She says it’s a way to support your kids and be able to say, “let me see what’s going on in your brokerage account. Let’s go over it.” To have financially transparent visibility with them so you can help them and prevent them from making decisions that might hurt them in the future.

Don’t Helicopter Parent

How do you have access to their bank account but not be a helicopter parent?

Having the information and keeping tabs on them as needed is very different from proactively solving their problems with money as a helicopter parent does.

The important thing is to be there for the discussion when they come to you with a problem, help them find ways to solve the problem, and avoid writing the check.

If you need to subsidize a child while they’re getting on their feet, that’s fine, but have an exit strategy and be open about it. Say we’re going to give you this amount of money, and this is the timeline because it’s also important that your children understand that your money has to go for your retirement. 

The last thing you want is to be supporting your children at the expense of your retirement savings or your retirement life, both because it hurts you and also because what if something happens to you? They likely won’t be prepared or able to support themselves and live within their means, blowing that inheritance.

Don’t Solve Problems Short-Term, Help Manage Financial Expectations Instead

Some parents offer to buy their children a bigger, better house and then stop there. That short-term solution to a problem actually backfires and creates more problems down the road. Their kids now have a bigger property tax bill, more utility bills, and everyone on their street has nicer cars than them because everyone else who bought a home there has a higher income.

We have very short-term memories and want our children to live at our means, but we need to remember that they are only just starting out.

So, it’s really important as parents that when your kids, for example, ask for a recommendation for where to go to dinner, don’t suggest the most expensive place. You want to suggest something that is price-appropriate for them. Don’t pick where you can now afford to go.

This applies to helping your kids understand how to manage their financial expectations with others, too. It’s important to remind our kids that it’s their responsibility to think about the fact that some of their friends have a lot less money than they do, or may be in debt that they don’t want to talk about. So as a way to show they care about their friends, they can take the lead when they make plans with them and pick something that’s more affordable to everyone.

The Positives of Digital Currency

We asked Bobbi how she goes about teaching her kids about money when there are no physical checks or paper bills anymore; we use our phones and credit cards, and online deliveries show up at our door.

She advises focusing on the positive elements of it because we can’t change it. But what are the positives?

A digital “paper” trail is a primary advantage of digital currency.

With a digital trail, you can have a more transparent relationship with your kids about their finances. By seeing what they spend money on and how much they’re saving, and ultimately, provide better guidance when they need it, without having to ask them to show you their bank statements or receipts like you would if they used cash.

This especially becomes helpful if you’re funding their bank accounts, so you can see how they are managing the money you gave them.

Digital currency makes it easier to have discussions about finances and spending habits with our kids, even in real-time. It allows them to see how much things cost compared to what the anticipated cost was and opens the discussion for what they would like to spend their money on.

For example, saying, “we have this much money to spend today after school. Do you want to go for a snack or do you want to take a taxi and not have to walk to your next activity?” empowers them with simple choices and helps them understand the power of money.


To learn more about financial grownups, check out the resources below!

If you have any questions, feel free to contact us or our guest, Bobbi Rebell, using the contact information provided below!


Connect With Bobbi Rebell:

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About Our Guest:

Bobbi Rebell is a financial literacy advocate and a certified financial planner. She is a speaker, conference host, and moderator and works as a spokesperson for brands aligned with her values. Bobbi is also the host of the critically acclaimed Money Tips for Financial Grownups podcast. She has written and published two books, How To Be A Financial Grownup and  Launching Financial Grownups.



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