Consumer questions: Kids and money

Teaching kids about money

Question: What can I do now to teach my kids the value of money?

Answer: At the age of seven is when a child starts having a real understanding of money. Be real with your kids about money and teach them about cash and coins at an early age. When you're paying with a credit card, explain to your child what that really means (i.e. interest, etc.). Lead by example and teach them about financial responsibility (paying bills on time). Don't always buy them things -- teach them to save up for their favorite game or toy.

Advice for first-time investors

Question: "I am interested in investing money for the first time and I'm wondering what kind of advice you have for a first-time investor?"

Answer: Every time you read the newspaper, go to the business section and find an article that you're willing to read. Do that for a month or two so you can pick up the vibe. Stay informed by reading financial magazines like Smart Money and Money Magazine. Don't rush to invest all your money at once. Take your time and define your goals. Also, The Wall Street Journal has some great books for new investors.

Using online travel agencies

Question: "I just want to find out how customers are assured of online travel trips. I mean what guarantees are there that there are no scams in online travel agencies?"

Answer: The best thing you can do is buy travel from someone selling in California. Our state has a travel restitution fund, which means that if they're registered and something goes wrong, there's a good possibility that a state fund would kick in and give you back your money.

For more of Michael Finney's consumer stories and advice, visit 7 On Your Side.

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