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Five-year-old twins Annika and Austin Bunney are learning early the virtues of saving and charitable giving.

Charity Begins in the Home—and Early

Charitable giving is a lifelong adventure, so why not get a head start on it at age 5? That is when twins Annika and Austin Bunney first started in 2016 to provide financial support to a similarly aged girl living in Honduras.

"The sooner you start, the easer it is," surmises their mother, Mari Bunney, of West Des Moines. She and her husband, Jesse, are trying to instill a sense of obligation to help others as part of the kids’ growing-up experience. The more we have, the more we give is the way Mari summed up an attitude toward charitable outreach efforts.

Through their church, the Bunneys got in touch with Compassion International, It bills itself as the world’s leading authority in holistic child development through sponsorship. It finds children, in this case the Honduran girl, and matches them to children in the U.S. It handles the transfer of any money, which the Bunney youngsters generate by way of sharing birthday money or allowances.

"They earn allowance money based on chores and other good behaviors, so they don't get it on a set schedule," says Mari.

This is not just a money deal, but a chance for children from both countries to learn something about one another as they correspond over time.

Austin says the decision to support the girl was easy: "Because she doesn’t have any money," he explains. And this effort at charitable giving matches up with the family’s commitment to "spend, save, give." It’s a concept that young and old alike can use and that Mari, a financial adviser, says was inspired by Dave Ramsey, a radio talk show host who specializes in money matters.

There’s been some spillover effect to the children's generosity, as they say that classmates have inquired about how they, too, can participate in such a program. The Sunday School class at their church already collectively supports another girl in Honduras. And Austin recently busted into his piggy bank to retrieve some money for Meals From the Heartland, a West Des Moines charity that annually provides people worldwide with more than 4 million meals. Austin’s donation fed 30 of those people, an impressive number that might well spur him to continue his good deeds.

Certainly the parents will support his and Annika’s efforts.

"We are obligated to give," says dad Jesse. Both he and Mari sit on multiple nonprofit organizations in the Des Moines area. Maybe their kids will soon join them.
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Legacy Bridge

Are You Supporting Grown Children? Study Says Many Are

When it comes to money matters, are we mollycoddling our adult, out-of-the-house children? A new study from Merrill Lynch certainly suggests this possibility.

There are 173 million of us parents in the U.S., and Merrill Lynch found that 54 percent of us are paying some, if not all, of our adult children’s cellphone bills. Another 60 percent of us are paying for weddings.

No great surprises there, I suspect. Isn’t it customary to shoulder wedding expenses, at least for the bride? I’m the father of two daughters, and that’s what everyone led me to believe.

And what’s to hurt with a little cellphone help? Doesn’t that set up an expectation that maybe they could call their mother every now and then? Are you gonna let your kids go hungry because you won’t stand for an occasional grocery bill?

The surprise is the amount spent on our kids, estimated by Merrill Lynch to be around $500 billion a year. That’s double what we spend on ourselves by way of retirement account funding.

Personally, my retirement account is in fine shape. And so is whatever intergenerational financial support I care to indulge. I’m proud that I’ve done well over the years. And just as proud to occasionally share the wealth. Charity begins at home, remember.
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American Retirement Education
801 Chophouse

6 Things the Rich Have in Common
BY "TEAM TONY," from the blog of author, speaker and financial adviser Tony Robbins

Usually when we hear stories of the behavior of the super-rich, they involve shopping sprees, trips to Monaco or perhaps the occasional lifestyle productivity hack. But how did the American ultra-wealthy become the top 0.01%? Is there a secret formula to obtaining and maintaining wealth?

For four years, Tony Robbins interviewed the world’s top financial minds, on a quest to provide the average person with the blueprint to become financially free. He talked with "money masters" like Mary Callahan Erdoes, considered by many as the most powerful woman in finance; John Bogle, founder of Vanguard and father of the index fund; and Charles Schwab, or "Chuck," as you may remember him from the discount brokerage’s commercials. What Robbins found on this epic journey was a pattern of behavior among this group of ultra-wealthy individuals—principles that guided their decision-making and, ultimately, their success.

1. They are obsessed with not losing money.
Remember Warren Buffet’s most famous quote? "Rule  No. 1: Don’t lose money. Rule No. 2: Never forget rule No. 1." The ultra-wealthy live by this maxim; they understand the true cost of losing. > FULL ARTICLE

Are You Advancing Your Portfolio with Science?
Kent Kramer, CFP®, AIF®, Chief Investment Officer

When it comes to your investment portfolio, it is important to consider the scientific advancements that could raise your probability of achieving a better outcome. > FULL ARTICLE

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