Ep. 196 – Clifton Corbin – Teaching Kids About Money & Retirement

Don’t we all wish we gained financial literacy at a young age? Maybe then, we wouldn’t have made so many money mistakes as young adults. How about giving your kids or grandkids that money management knowledge as early as possible?

One way to ensure that your kids or grandkids feel comfortable and confident managing money, regardless of their age, is by ensuring you prepare them early with financial education.

In this episode of the Secure Your Retirement podcast, we have Clifton Corbin, a registered financial consultant, financial literacy advocate, and author of Your Kids Their Money. Listen in to learn how to create financial comfort and security by consistently building habits such as savings and wealth creation in your kids.

In this episode, find out:

  • How Clifton’s early financial mistakes prompted him to help parents educate their kids about money.
  • When to start teaching kids about money and how to approach it.
  • The importance of teaching kids how to feel financially secure first so they can avoid financial stress.
  • How to use your knowledge to educate your grandkids, plus the benefits of gifting them financially.
  • The concept behind Clifton’s book Your Kids Their Money and the money lessons it provides.

Tweetable Quotes:

  • “It’s about giving kids opportunities to learn and practice good money management habits while they’re still young and home with you before they need it.”– Clifton Corbin
  • “I want everyone to feel comfortable and confident managing money regardless of what stage of your life you’re in.”– Clifton Corbin

Get in Touch with Clifton:


If you are in or nearing retirement and you want to gain clarity on what questions you should be asking, learn what the biggest retirement myths are, and identify what you can do to achieve peace of mind for your retirement, get started today by requesting our complimentary video course, Four Steps to Secure Your Retirement!

To access the course, simply visit POMWealth.net/podcast.

Here’s the full transcript:

Radon Stancil:Welcome everyone to our Secure Your Retirement podcast. Murs and I are very happy to have you with us today. Today we have our very first interview for 2023. It’s Clifton Corbin. He’s all the way here from Ontario, Canada, and we have a topic that I know you’re going to be very interested in. But before I get into that topic, Clifton, thank you so much for coming on and talking with our audience today.
Clifton Corbin:Well, thank you for having me. I’ve been looking forward to this.
Radon Stancil:Excellent. So here’s the thing, Murs and I and everyone who listens, knows that this is all about retirement. It’s all about how do I make sure my money lasts. And there’s a part of what we talk about, which is what we call legacy. So we always tell people our show is broken down into three categories. We talk about money, we talk about lifestyle, we talk about legacy. But today, I guess it’s a little bit of a combination of lifestyle and also legacy. One of the things that Murs and I get all the time, Clifton, from clients, is they say, “You know what I wish? I wish somebody would’ve taught me about money when I was younger.” And I always tell people, “We do have some education out there, but people don’t get real serious about saving and dealing with money and probably until they’re about 40 years old.”
And yes, it would make a big, big difference if young people, very young people understood money. And why I got excited is when I saw your information and understood that you basically have dedicated a big section of what you do in a book and everything about kids and money. And then what I like is that you say, “A parent’s guide to financially literate children.” And I think that’s really, really important. Can you just tell us a little bit here, what prompted this for you to go down this path and say, “I want to educate children about money.”?
Clifton Corbin:Sure. So that starts with my story. So as a young person, I was very curious about money. I had all those early jobs, lemonade stand, the paper route. But then I went off to university and, like way too many young people, I made a mess in my finances. I got those early credit cards, went deep into debt. And once I figured out or got myself back on solid ground, I looked back and I was like, “Well, for someone who was so curious about money and thought he had it all together, how did I make all these mistakes with my finances?” And I said, “Well, it’s partially because while I was curious about money at a young age, I didn’t learn enough about how to manage money at a young age.” It’s kind of like what you were saying at the beginning there, all those things I wish I knew when I was younger. That’s the rationale for what I’m doing right now.
I’m trying to put all those tips and suggestions and understanding in the hands of parents and grandparents so that they can get their children and their grandchildren prepared and ready for adulthood. Understanding wealth creation, saving, managing debt, leveraging debt, and just the entire concept of how to properly manage their money so that when these young people become young adults, that they will be set up for success and they’ll be confident in managing their own money. So that’s the rationale for it. That’s why I focus so heavily on it, because I feel like I was one of those people who was like, “I wish I knew this when I was younger,” and this is my opportunity to help other folks get that information to young folks.
Murs Tariq:Yeah, I think that’s great. Clifton, I think what you’re doing is great too. All the time we hear about the thought about, “We need to get financial literacy into the K through 12 programs.” We need to start having classes dedicated to this because we see it all the time, where kids get out of school and they don’t know how to manage a credit card or they think credit cards are free money and then they wind up in this big mess going and they’re setting themselves up in a bad position to start off when they get their first job. And so I think this is great.
For me, I grew up in a world where money was talked about all the time in the sense that we didn’t have much. And so my family was very dedicated to being very frugal and very methodical about how dollars were spent. And I grew up working in the family business and everything like that from a young age. So I saw, hey, money doesn’t just appear out of nowhere, you have to work for it. And I saw how it came in the door and I saw how we had to think about it before it went out the door. So in a way, it was an advantage to me to see all that happening because it was the family business and then it was also the family financial business too of, “Can we afford to do this? Here’s the decisions that we’re going to think about,” and all these different things.
So I have a big desire to take that into, now, my family with my kid, and he’s two and a half, but I want to get that started from a young age for him as well. And I think this workbook that you have, and I think it’s available on your website and you can tell us more about that too, but I took a glance at a few of those pages and I think it’s great. I could see my almost three year old starting in on it just because there’s good pictures and cool little things to help someone think through and puzzles, things that keep your eyes to the paper. But tell us this, why is it, excuse me, why is it important to talk to kids about money and at what age should we start doing this?
Clifton Corbin:Sure. And so much stuff there that I would love to dig into. But to answer your question, “At what age?” I like to start as young as possible. So what I often say is, as soon as children start recognizing that money is something that’s being traded for goods or services, that’s a great point. So you’re bringing your child or your grandchild to the store with you and they see you tap your card and you can see they’re curious about what’s happening. Well, that’s a great opportunity to say, “Well, do you know what I’m doing here?” So I don’t like to give any particular ages because all children develop at different stages and reach different stages at different ages. But I like to say probably by four or five, your child’s probably aware of money. And that’s a great time to start at least having some early conversations.
The workbook that I have, it does have some money identifications. So recognizing coins and bills, that’s some early stuff that you could do with youngsters. I say as far as activities, you might want to start doing some role playing. I love doing the pretend kitchen or pretend restaurant or pretend grocery store in the bedrooms. That’s a great way for them to start practicing these transactions and really getting a feel for what money is. But back to the root of your question, which is the why behind it, it’s because we only have a limited amount of time to get these concepts before we need to actually apply these concepts.
So my hope is that we’re giving our children opportunities to practice and learn these concepts while they’re in a safe space, while they’re still home, while any money mistakes that they may make won’t cause major ramifications, won’t cause credit collectors coming after them. If you lend them $5 and they don’t pay it back right away, pardon me… If they don’t pay it back right away, the ramifications of that is a lot different than in a couple years from now when they take out a $50,000 loan for student loan or what have you. So it’s about giving them opportunities to learn and practice good money management habits while they’re still young, while they’re still at home with you, before they need it.
I say in the book, “We don’t give our kids the key to the car and say good luck.” We take them out into the parking lot and we go around the block with them. We ease them into what it’s like to manage driving a car. And the same thing should be done when it comes to managing money.
Radon Stancil:Excellent. So now I have a 20 year old and a 17 year old, and in particularly with either of them, the whole concept of even explaining the how a credit card works, that was a… And I did this when they were in their high teens and just explaining that, “Hey, you put it on here, but you pay it off in here.” And they would question, “Well, why would we even do that?” So it’s these things, what might have become simple to us as adults, is not simple in the world. Now you mentioned about financial literacy. So if you had to define that or say what is that, what are maybe some goals, and I don’t know if you have these or not, but by this particular point of life we should have this level of literacy and then by this point of life we should have this level of literacy? What is the concepts you teach around what that is?
Clifton Corbin:So that’s a great question. As far as, and again, it’s so challenging because again, all children develop at different levels at different ages. The hope is that by the time they’re leaving the home or by the time they’re going off to post-secondary or whatever it is, by the time they become those young adults, that they feel like they can manage the money that they have coming in. I like to talk about financial wellness. I want them to feel comfortable. I want them to feel confident. And I want everyone to feel comfortable and confident managing money regardless of what stage of your life you’re in. So at those early ages, you’re not going to have a lot, you’re probably going to be working some, maybe not the best jobs, but you have to be able to find a way to make that money work for you and your circumstances.
Your audience is at a very different stage in their life and they need to make it work so that the money that they’ve secured will last them for a long time. And as long as they feel that way, they can feel financially well. So it’s not so much about what do they need to learn for a particular age, it’s how do we make sure that they feel financially secure, financially well, so that they’re not stressing about every dollar that they have to spend and they’re not stressing about how they’re going to pay the bills or what have you. And that comes with some basic skills, like making sure you’re living off of less than you make, that concept of paying yourself first, making sure you’re saving something out of every dollar that you make. So you’re building up that habit of saving, whether that be for long-term, whether that be retirement, or education, or your first home, or whatever it is.
But you need to build these basic skills with regards to saving, with regards to wealth creation. And once you could do these things and you could do them consistently, then you could start to feel a little bit more comfortable. If you have that rainy day fund and you get a flat tire, you’re not feeling so bad. I’ve got the money in the bank, I could pay for this. I don’t need to dip into my credit card and then go dip deeper into debt to pay for this thing, causing more stress, causing more financial unwellness, if you will.
So that’s the concept. It’s not so much you need to know this skill by this point, it’s you need to feel comfortable at this stage in your life. And as a young person, they need to get a sense of what’s going to happen. And then as a young adult, they need to be able to manage, they need to be able to have some early stage budgeting so they can manage a little bit of money they have coming in. And it’s that idea, it’s being prepared for all those different stages in your life.
Murs Tariq:So you mentioned the people that are working with us are typically listening to this podcast and that demographic is usually 55 and up, close to retirement, already retired. So they’ve already figured out that part of their life. But what we hear all the time and the question and who they are working with a lot of times is their grandkids. So a parent having the conversation with their kid is one story, but then a grandparent now having the conversation with their grandson or granddaughter, I would think is a little bit different? From the eyes of the grandchild the grandparents are there to spoil me, they are there to not really teach me anything about finances because I usually get what I want from them.
And it’s a very similar relationship on the other side, the grandparents always make the joke of, “Well, yeah, I love having grandkids because I can do what I want with them, hang out with them and then give them right back and I get a break.” But if a grandparent is trying to help or start helping teach some of these ideas and thoughts about finances, do you have any tips around that as how they can approach it and maybe you lay some of this out in your book as well?
Clifton Corbin:Sure. So one of the things that I think grandparents have, it’s this wealth of information. They’ve got a lifetime of stories that they can share with their children and grandchildren. And I think those stories, whether they be of their first jobs or jobs lost or how they created the wealth that they’re now living on, all of those stories give you an opportunity to learn and to give information to your grandchildren. And I think that’s the special piece there. The other piece is, and one of the things that I’ve done with my nieces and nephews and I’m hoping a lot of the grandparents in my life have contributed to is, so instead of giving my nieces and my nephews birthday gifts and Christmas gifts that just get lost in the melee of those special days, we opened up 529 accounts for them and we contribute to them.
So we might not look like the most fun aunts and uncles on Christmas day or on their birthdays, but I’ve got one niece and one nephew who’ve now gone off to college and they’ve both gotten big checks from their aunt and uncle. Those are great days for me. And grandparents contributed to that and grandparents can do stuff like that. And that conversation can happen there too. So instead of on those special days, I’m not talking about this is this thing I brought you from China, it’s this is the balance on your statement. This is how much money you’re going to have coming towards you in a couple years from now. And that could be used, and especially with the 529, I believe they just did some updates on the 529. So even if you decide you don’t want to go to post-secondary, you could still get that money afterwards.
So there’s all these advantages. And again, that’s where grandparents can really step in and step up in giving that information. Like you said, again, at the beginning of this conversation, “I wish I would’ve learned X when I was young.” This is your chance to teach X to your grandchildren so that they don’t feel the way you feel now. So they know once they’re however old, this is what compound interest means. This is what compound interest can do. And if I start doing these exercises, I will receive the benefit of this compound interest because that’s what grandpa and grandma told me. And that’s the beauty of having grandparents in your life who have this, not just wealth, but wealth of information.
Radon Stancil:Great. So one of the things that we get asked all the time is, “Man, I wish we had some resources to help our kids.” And again, that’s one of the reasons why I got excited whenever I came across you and wanted to have you on the show. So if you don’t mind, for everybody listening, could you tell us the name of the book, how to get the book, and then maybe what they’ll get out of the book? What is going to be the key there?
Clifton Corbin:Sure. So my first book is, Your Kids, Their Money. The subtitle is, A Parents Guide to Raising Financially Literate Children. And the concept behind the book is, it’s basically, it’s a resource book, but it’s also, it’s written with lots of little short stories. So it’s got stories of my life. So it kind of gives you the story arc of what I already told you in the beginning, where I was very interested in money, I lost a lot of money and now I’m in a different place where I feel like I can give back and share. It’s kind of the same story with regards to financial literacy. So it talks about how you can talk to your kids or grandkids about acquiring money. You could talk to them about securing money, whether that be with insurance and banking and taxes, tax strategies. It talks about planning and it talks about being grateful and having an appreciation practice, but it gives you the language, it gives you the subject matter so that you can provide that to your child.
And I’ve done it in a way, so like I said, you can read a cover to cover and I think it’s a great book cover to cover, but you could also just dive in if you’re like, “I really wish I could talk to my child or my grandchild about wealth and why wealth is important.” You can jump to that section. Or if you’re starting younger and you’re like, “I don’t know how to explain what money is. Like, what is money?” And I’ve got fun definitions there that will work for children. It’s talking about, I think for the money, the definition I use, it’s about trading as opposed to talking about money in this ethereal concept of what money is, children understand trading. So I tried to break these concepts up into ways that children can understand, but the book is a fun book to read, in my opinion, that will be easy for an adult to read. And I know a lot of adults come back to me and say that, “I got a lot out of this too.”
But the concept is that there’ll be different things there that you could take to a child and say, “Hey, this is how this works.” Or, “This is how you can better understand this.” And then at the end of each section there’s extra activities, whether that be other books you can read or other activities you could do, games to really cement some of that learning. And I think you mentioned the workbook that I have. The workbook I did, it’s online. And that’s really just a fun workbook that you can give to your child or your grandchild and say, “Here, it’s got money identification, it’s got puzzles.” It’s just a fun activity book for them to do on their own or with you sitting beside them. Again, just to get the concepts of this is what money is, there’s some budgeting exercises in there. So between the workbook and the book, Your Kids, Their Money, there’s lots of different resources and tips and tools there for you to help start to convey financial literacy to young people.
Murs Tariq:Yeah, I was looking through the workbook this morning and I think it’s really well put together. It’s got pictures, it’s got puzzles. Because we know that kids, especially the younger they are, they need activities that look fun and engaging and exciting for them to actually get something out of it. And it’s very visual too, which is great too. So I think it’s a great resource. And for me, it was sitting on my desk when I got to work this morning and I got to look through it. But for someone that wants to get that workbook, how do they go and find that?
Clifton Corbin:Sure. So it’s cliftoncorbin.com/workbook and the workbook’s free. I’m just giving that one away. I think all you might need to do to get, I think all the activities you could download individually. So you could just pick and choose if you want to cherry-pick the activities you want to do for your kid, or if you want the whole workbook cover to cover, you can download it there. I think all you need to do is put in your email address and then you can get the whole workbook.
Radon Stancil:Yeah, that’s what I did and it worked out great.
Clifton Corbin:Excellent.
Radon Stancil:Clifton, we certainly do appreciate you coming on and talking with us today. This is always something that I think is, it’s important as well as I think it’s a big concern with our parents and grandparents. So thank you very much and we’ll make sure that all of your information is on our website and in the show notes so that everybody knows exactly how to get to your website so they can be able to get in contact with you. But thank you so much for coming on and talking with us today.
Clifton Corbin:It’s my pleasure. And I forgot to mention, the book is available on Amazon, you can get it on Barnes & Noble, you can get it in most places books are sold. Or you can go to my website, cliftoncorbin.com, and you can find a link to it there. And I just want to thank both of you for not just having me on, but for having these conversations. It’s one of the things that I stress a lot, is that we need to really make sure we’re talking and talking about money to make sure that we’re all lifting each other up. So thank you both for doing what you’re doing.
Radon Stancil:Excellent. Well, thank you. Have a good day.