Productive Leaders

Ph.D., CSP, CDR, US Navy Ret.,
CPAE Speaker Hall of Fame

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Money Tips for Families

Money Smart - Mary KellyApril is Financial Literacy month.  How can families alleviate stress about money?

From Mary’s book, Money Smart: How not to buy cat food when you don’t have a cat

  • Save 10% of your income, always, regardless of how much you make. “It is not what you make, it is what you keep. There are loads of people making a lot of money with nothing to show for it.”
  • Start and fund your Roth IRA, which allows you to invest money now. It grows tax-free forever. Your Roth IRA can be stocks, bonds, mutual funds, or even property. Once you get beyond a certain income level you are not allowed to contribute to a Roth. It is just too good a deal.
  • Pay off credit cards in full every month. No, you do not need credit card debt to build credit. Be responsible. “Most people don’t realize there is ZERO grace period on new purchases if you have a balance on the card. So if you still have $10 on your credit card from last month as a balance, and you buy a new washing machine, you start paying interest charges on that day.”
  • Your retirement is your responsibility. Pensions are largely a thing of the past, and few people can live on social security. What is the most common mistake about planning for retirement? People wait until their mid 30s to start saving for retirement, and by that time they have other pressing bills, such as daily living expenses and thinking about how to fund their children’s college funds. Remember, your kids can borrow money to go to college.  You cannot borrow money to retire.
  • View eating out, even at a drive-through, as a luxury.  That includes coffee, soda, snacks, etc.  It is still money that flows out quickly.
  • Practice mindful spending.  Spend money on what you agree is important instead of frivolous items that you don’t really need.

Money Smart is available on Amazon at


  1. Carly Alyssa Thorne

    Another Great, Practical book about Money and More for Young Adults

  2. David M. Dye

    Listen to her now, thank her later!

    Great tips, Mary 🙂

  3. Sandi Coryell

    Great insights perfectly stated. Thanks, Mary!

  4. Mary Kelly

    Thank you so much again for reviewing the book on Amazon!
    Warmly, Mary

  5. Mary Kelly

    Thanks David!
    You are really smart about finance and I appreciate your note!

  6. Mary Kelly

    Hi Sandi,
    Thank you for reviewing the article! I am working on a campaign to help, especially young people, start NOW on personal finance planning. I know it is hard for many people because they don’t know where to start.
    Thanks for the encouragement!
    Warmly, Mary

  7. Dianna Booher

    Great tips, Mary! Good luck with your book!


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