Raising children entails a lot of trial and error, and hoping that you aren’t screwing things up too much along the way. As our kids have gotten older we are moving into new subject areas, one of which is money. We want to expose our kids to good money habits while also giving them agency and discretion. Investing has been an area that has been going well so far so I wanted to share our experience with others in the same boat.
We set up an investment account at Betterment for each of the kids when they were born and have put in $25 a month since then. Now that the kids are old enough to be involved there is an account history and returns that we can go over together and learn together about expenses, how returns from appreciation and dividends work, and that there is risk involved in investing. Although we primarily use Vanguard for our own investments I like the aesthetics and diversification into multiple index funds / ETFs that Betterment makes more automatic – it seems to connect with the kids better and is more straightforward for them to understand.
[Note: We have chosen to hold the investment accounts for each of our children in our name so that we have control of the funds until we decide to give over full control. We’ve done this for reasons related to age and maturity, impact on college scholarships, and other considerations.]
Now when the kids receive some money for a birthday or we cash in the coins in their artisanal hand-crafted wooden banks we let them decide what to do with it – spend it, give it away, put in the bank, or invest in their Betterment account. It’s been fun and over the past year they’ve mostly chosen to invest their money, roughly 80% of their “earnings” going into their respective Betterment accounts. We sit with them at the computer but let them use the mouse, type in the contribution and notes, etc.
We’ll see how it goes in the future when there are more dollars at stake and more competing options vying for their attention and funds. From the early returns it’s been a simple and effective way to introduce investing for our family.
Let’s make the neighborhood a bit safer and more enjoyable for all
North Park has had a number of crosswalks installed in recent months, including some with push-button flashing lights as you can now see at the corners of 30th Street and Myrtle as well as 30th Street and Polk, as well as other locations. It has seemed to make a positive impact on the likelihood of drivers that yield to pedestrians at these intersections and hopefully an overall greater awareness for those walking in the area.
This post is to request a new painted crosswalk on the south portion (east-west crosswalk) of the intersection of North Park Way and Utah Street, in front of Jefferson Elementary. This intersection is just outside the front doors of the school and this three-direction intersection has a stop sign for each direction of oncoming traffic. There are currently painted crosswalks on the other two crossings at the intersection but just a “No Ped Crossing” sign for the third.
This aerial image shows the existing crosswalks to / from the Jefferson Elementary block in Yellow and the requested additional crosswalk in Red.
With all vehicles already needing to stop at this intersection it seems natural to include a painted crosswalk for pedestrians. Especially given that the school provides services for children from preschool through fifth grade it seems even more needed to have visible markings and crossings to ensure drivers are aware of the hundreds of small children in the area.
Many parents and children walk to the school from the south and east directions, either from residences or from parking in the neighborhood. Another marked crossing option would make the journey to school quicker, safer, and more convenient for all. (And outside of school hours for anyone walking in the neighborhood.)
Below is the current status of this crossing. Hopefully we can make this small improvement soon, for the use of students and the community at large.
If you’d like to help make this crosswalk a reality please reach out to the San Diego District 3 Councilmember, Chris Ward, at the following email addresses and simply voice your support. A message as simple as “Crosswalks at Jefferson needed and I support. Thank you.” are great.
I use my bike mostly for function – getting to and from places, shopping, going to dinner, etc. One of the best purchases I’ve made was getting pannier bags, which make it easy to carry items and more comfortable than using a backpack or handheld bag. Pannier bags attach to a basic bike rack (front or rear) and are a convenient way to carry goods, or to carry camping supplies if going for a long recreational trip.
A couple of years ago I bought a used set of Avenir pannier bags for $10 a piece. They have some nice features like:
Reflective trim to increase visibility
Two bottle holders
One large pouch for large items (I’m usually carrying a laptop or papers) with clip straps to secure and expand or shrink height
Small zippered pouch for easy access to wallet, keys, etc.
Clips to secure bag to bike rack and reduce chances of falling off
Waterproof with drawstring tie on opening
I went to the grocery store the other day and took some photos to show what a shopping trip by bike looks like. I sometimes see newspaper articles or comments online about how non-functional it is to buy food items on a bicycle. I strongly disagree – the parking is usually much easier, it’s cheaper than driving, and with a couple of good bags carrying your items home is a breeze.
Here’s my bike with two pannier bags full of groceries – I didn’t put the chips in the pannier bags for fear of crushing them although there was room in the expanded upper portion if I wanted to use it.
On returning home, I unpacked the bags on our table and took this photo to show the amount of food that can easily fit in a pair of bags. We were cooking for a get-together so some of the items are in bigger quantities than usual but overall a pretty good idea of an average grocery shopping trip for me by bicycle.
We’re fortunate to live in an area with a number of grocery stores within a mile. I often walk instead of biking, but often pick up a couple of items in other areas when I’m coming home from work or other activities. Pannier bags are a great addition to any bike and I highly recommend getting a pair.
We’ve had a couple of wood planter boxes in our sideyard that I made a few years ago for herbs and vegetables but have never had good luck with growing edibles. Yesterday, we decided to repurpose one as a butterfly garden, which is more in keeping with our lot flora in general and hopefully will be more successful than the tomatoes and basil were.
We went to a nursery in the Midway District of San Diego, Walter Andersen’s, which has quite a large selection and is on to the way to our favorite beach neighborhood, Ocean Beach. Our total purchase for the day was $77.49 for the following plants and one bag of bedding soil. I sprang for a couple of extra large choices rather than smaller pots, so the total cost could easily be closer to $50 for the same selections at a slightly smaller planting size.
Achillea Millefolium (Siren song angie)
Acelpias fascicularis (Mexican whorled milkweed)
Asclepias mix mojonnier (Milkweed)
Asclepias physocarpa (Hairy Balls / Family Jewels) – commonly named for the seed pods resemblance to the human testicle. Seriously.
All of these are butterfly friendly and pretty well suited to the San Diego climate. Some, like the cuphea and galvezia are also great for hummingbirds. Only the galvezia is a “true” California native plant but the asclepias mix is probably the most common milkweed you’ll see in yards around town and a great monarch butterfly attractor.
Wanted to share this project and plant selections in case others would like to easily add some habitat for butterflies at their own home. Cheers!
My daughter Eva is currently in Kindergarten and we recently had an event in her classroom where all the kids got to read a book they had created to a group of parents. I really enjoyed Eva’s book and wanted to post it here so that family could see it (and of course for the eventual inclusion on her college applications as a sign of prodigious intellect).