Roger Nagel

At the start of the Cold War in the early ’60s, many Americans feared Nikita Khrushchev and the Russian communists were coming to take over the U.S.
That perception became their reality. I spoke recently to a friend who was a young parent at the time. She confirmed this sentiment became so profound and compelling that many people in her small North Dakota farm town thought, “If that’s the case, why work so hard?”
I asked her what snapped her out of that attitude. She smiled and shared that she quickly realized she had young children to feed. Life goes on.
So it is with COVID-19.
Never in my career have I seen such a common defeated perspective. It’s like, “OMG, we’re all going to die; what’s the point in working so hard for the American Dream?”
This perspective has become so real that we have labeled it “The Great Resignation.”
Here’s a revelation: We are all going to die.
That was true before COVID-19 and has not changed. What has changed is we have forgotten how to live with adversity.
I am often asked what advice I would give parents concerned about teaching their teenagers and young-adult children principles of finances. My first suggestion is to start with your own world view.
Our life on Earth is largely driven by what we think (or don’t) about life and death. Consequently, money matters over each stage of life become spiritual matters.
If you are not clear on this concept, read Ron Blue, Dave Ramsey, Howard Dayton and Charles Colson. If this makes sense to you, then it becomes even more possible to take control of your path to financial freedom, as well as your children’s. The mechanical aspect of these principles can then follow more easily.
• Teach your children about the value of hard work. Help them earn money from their unique time and talent as early as possible in life.
• Teach them about the magic of compounding interest, the eighth wonder of the world, according to a statement often attributed to Albert Einstein.
• Teach them the benefit of education in their potential for earning money in their chosen occupation. Teach them to learn to be contented within their means, yet always working to improve their situation.
• Teach them the power of generosity, mercy, grace and forgiveness.
• Help them to avoid temptations of this world. That includes more than drugs, alcohol and gambling. Tune out the advertisers and avoid online shopping, even the mall.
• Warn them about the temptation of their peers and their peers’ world view on money and possessions.
• Discipline, patience and perseverance still prevail in America. As these concepts are perfected, savings and investing follow. Teach them to understand the difference.
• Teach your kids how to access the knowledge of good advisors on law, taxes, investing and insurance. Information flows freely in this digital world. Test it for truth, then use it and share it with your children.
Applied values take time to perfect. Stay with it, despite the tough times. You will be glad you did.
(Roger Nagel, CPA/PFS, CMA, CGMA, is the managing director of Nagel CPAs, LLC — Accountants and Advisors. Learn more at