Skip to main content

If there’s a point where children are particularly susceptible to becoming overly fixated on buying things, it’s the middle-school years. This is a marketing professor’s conclusion after years of research on materialism.

Marsha Richins says the social dynamics of middle school can cause children to put more emphasis on buying and owning things. Think back to your own middle-school years. As Ms. Richins says in an interview with The Atlantic, seventh grade is the worst age of a person’s life. You’re desperate to fit in, and one way to do that is to wear the right clothes, have the right electronics and so on.

Parents, you have a big role in determining how materialistic your kids will be. Ms. Richins said parents who put a big value on things and who get a lot of joy from shopping and buying stuff tend to have children who act similarly. One way to address this would be to refrain from using money or gifts to reward success, or deal with an unhappy or disappointed child.

Story continues below advertisement

As a parent herself, Ms. Richins has some thoughts on trying to reason with a seventh grader about rewards and punishments. “I played the research card with my daughter all the time – not necessarily with my research, but as in, ‘Research shows that blah blah blah.’ She just got tired of hearing that. It carried no weight whatsoever.”

Subscribe to Carrick on Money

Are you reading this newsletter on the web or did someone forward the e-mail version to you? If so, you can sign up for Carrick on Money here.

Rob’s personal finance reading list…

Out of the workforce and into the F.I.R.E.

The New York Times writes about the “financial independence, retire early” movement in personal finance. Astutely, this article dwells on how this trend is being driven by the unhappiness people are feeling in their jobs.

Attention, members of procrasti-nation

Story continues below advertisement

How to break your habit of putting off the things you need to get done. Included here because there are so many financial tasks that people delay.

Office supplies that are handy in your kitchen

How white boards, masking tape, binder clips and more can simplify things in the kitchen. As I write this, I am looking at a container of binder clips sitting on desk at work, unused. Binder clips, btw, are those clamps you use to hold a thick sheaf of paper together.

Homeownership horror story

A first-time buyer in Edmonton runs into ants, black mold and asbestos in her home. A lesson in the surprise costs that can occur when you own.

Today’s financial tool

Story continues below advertisement

If you’re in the market for GICs or a mortgage, the Bank of Canada’s data on bond yields is a useful tool. Five-year bond yields play a big role in the setting of rates for five-year GICs and mortgages.

Ask Rob

Q: “I am 63 years old and recently separated. I have no debts and own my house. Is it better for me to sell my house and rent?”

A: Financially, renting offers cost-certainty on a month-by-month basis. You pay your rent and never have to worry about property taxes or the cost of upkeep and improvements. On average, home maintenance can cost the equivalent of 1 to 2 per cent of the value of your home on an annual basis. But you have to make sure you can comfortably afford your rent over the long term, including annual increases. In some cities, rents can be quite expensive. One possibility would be to invest the proceeds of your home sale and use the income to offset your rent.

Do you have a question for me? Send it my way. Sorry I can’t answer every one personally. Questions and answers are edited for length and clarity.

Featured Video

Carrick Talks Money: How can you support gender diversity in your investment portfolio?

In case you missed these Globe and Mail personal finance stories

  • Financial Facelift: Great savers, not so great at investing
  • Ensure you’re in the clear: Tax court decision serves as warning to home buyers
  • Three rock-solid REITs for income seekers (for Globe Unlimited subscribers)

More Carrick and money coverage

For more money stories, follow me on Instagram and Twitter, and join the discussion on my Facebook page. Millennial readers, join our Gen Y Money Facebook group. Send us an e-mail to let us know what you think of my newsletter. Want to subscribe? Click here to sign up.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Comments

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • All comments will be reviewed by one or more moderators before being posted to the site. This should only take a few moments.
  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed. Commenters who repeatedly violate community guidelines may be suspended, causing them to temporarily lose their ability to engage with comments.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.
Cannabis pro newsletter