Matt Hall: Money and Your Kids and Education

Feb 23, 2016 by

Odds On The Making of an Evidence-Based Investor

An Interview with Matt Hall: Money and Your Kids and Education

Michael F. Shaughnessy –

Matt Hall is the author of Odds On: The Making of an Evidence-Based Investor. Hall is President and Co-Founder of Hill Investment Group with offices in St. Louis, MO and Houston, TX. Hall helped create evidence-based mutual funds (fancy index funds), has led training programs for top advisors, and founded a peer group of hundreds of advisors, called Evidence-Based Advisors, from the U.S., UK, New Zealand, Australia, Belgium, and Canada. He and his wife, Lisa, have a young daughter who is the star of their lives. Learn more about Hall at and connect with him on LinkedIn and Twitter. His book “Odds On” is set for release on April 12, 2016, and is currently available for pre-order on 800 CEO Read, Amazon and other fine booksellers. 

In this interview, he responds to questions about money, savings, and budgeting and teaching money skills to kids.

  1. Matt, first of all, what are your main concerns about parents teaching their kids about money?

My primary concern is that we don’t talk about it. We are silent. The subject of money is taboo. Why not talk about what money means, how we use it, and what it does for our family?

My second concern is that we start too late. I’ve seen examples where parents start to worry when their child is in high school, but they don’t do anything to solve the problem. The child goes to college and then finds out that the lifestyle they were accustomed to isn’t sustainable. This can be a rude awakening. Build financial intelligence and resilience early by teaching the basics early.

  1. How do we communicate nowadays to parents that they need to start saving for college as soon as the child is born?

The parents are in the driver’s seat with this question. First, do you value education? Do you want to pay for all or part of your child’s education? What is the trade off to you? Think about these answers before you open a 529 account and start plunking away money. Acknowledge the sacrifice, and be intentional about what you are providing.

  1. Credit cards- what are the pros, cons and concerns? And how do parents teach their kids responsible usage of them?

I like credit cards because there is no safer way for a responsible person to spend money. Responsible is the key word here and parents need to coach and monitor use in the first year. Plus, credit cards offer the best fraud protection and allow the young person to build up a credit history and score. Carrying cash is both unsafe and unrealistic for a young person. Debit cards don’t have the same protection as credit cards. 

  1. Life insurance for kids- good thing, bad thing, waste of money? Or something else?

I don’t love it. Put this last on the list of things to do.

  1. Parental squandering of money- can you give us an example as to how it may impact kids?

What we model for our kids is often more important than what we say. Money, love and power are often connected. Be ever mindful of what your actions say about all three. They are always watching!

  1. Many parents feel they MUST own a home- and this puts them into debt for many years. Should this big investment be discussed with the kids?

A home is an important choice and important choices serve as a great opportunity for discussion. Even if the decision was made years ago, the factors that influenced the decision can be very helpful in teaching children about how (the process) worked or didn’t. Sharing mistakes and proud achievements are hugely valuable – do both and share the factors and the process by which these things happened.

  1. What about a car in this day and age? How should parents go about discussing insurance, repairs, gas, oil etc?

Don’t shield – show. Show them the reality and then provide gradual ownership of each element. Protecting and maintaining an asset like a car is critical. The lessons you teach will carry over to other areas of life.

  1. At what age should parents be encouraging their kids to work some part time job and start a bank account?

High school.

  1. Tell us about your book and what it contains.

I wrote Odds On: The Making of an Evidence-Based Investor because I want others to know what I know – that research has revolutionized the investment community and that it’s not that hard for investors to take advantage of what the academics have discovered. Most books on the subject of investing are technical and boring. I’ve buried the wonky technical jargon inside of real life stories and experiences. The feedback from the early reader group has been extraordinary. People find it relatable and easy to understand and this was my goal.

  1. What have I neglected to ask? What’s a cool tool that families might consider to help create harmony with respect to money?

A family mission statement. Start with your family’s history. What are the big obstacles that have been overcome, what was the turning point in the family’s financial situation? Any errors made along the way? What are the lessons here? Then think about the family mission. What is important about money to our family? Date it, sign it and revisit it each year. This can be a great way to get people on the same page

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