Meet the Author

Stephanie Mackara

Stephanie is a mom, a wife, a financial advisor and a goal digger (among other things!).

She wrote Money Minded Families to encourage families to embrace financial wellness, just as they do the social, emotional and physical wellness of their children.

She hopes her book will inspire parents and caregivers to prioritize teaching children smart financial habits, early and often, in order to lead them on a path of financial freedom and independence.

Leveraging her own personal experiences, and mistakes, along with those she has witnessed from her clients, and many lessons from teaching her own son, Stephanie combines academic research and storytelling mixed with a bit of finance and psychology, in a way that is both unique and refreshing, especially around the topic of money.

She enjoys helping others, traveling, the beach and spending quality time with her family and friends.

Author Q & A

Author Q&AWhat inspired you to write this book?

When I turned 45 (over 2 years ago!) it was a big moment for me. Not because I felt old or unaccomplished but because I realized that half of my life was behind me…at least I hope I have another full half to live.

In our financial planning work in order to determine “how long money will last after retirement”, we use the planning age of “90” as the end of a person’s plan or life.

It hit me hard that I was half-way there, not only that, but I lost my own father at 60, so I was once again reminded of how precious our time here truly is. I paused, for a very long time, to consider my journey and took time to reflect on what thing or things I still wanted to accomplish.

One of my passions is financial literacy, especially when it comes to children. I have a 13-year-old son to whom we are trying to provide a strong emotional, social, physical and financial foundation.

There is no lack of information to help our children socially and emotionally in this new world of social media, and all things technological, but there are very few, if any resources to help parents guide children to build a strong financial foundation in this new world we find ourselves.

I don’t think I am alone and so I decided that I would write a book to help families create better practices and mindsets in order to help them and their children live “financially well”.

Author Q&ACan you tell me about the book?

The book explores how we can align our individual values with finances, while planning for a more secure financial future.

It looks at how we can save, spend, share, and invest with a purpose. The author supplies financial basics for families and direction on creating a family mission statement, in order to help drive mindful financial choices.

With the help of this book’s holistic financial guidance, families can take steps to live their best financial lives, rather than simply getting by. Readers will find advice on:

  • Practicing financial mindfulness
  • Understanding the current financial landscape
  • Spending with a focus on personal values
  • Understanding key financial concepts
  • Engaging in healthy financial socialization
  • Becoming financially independent

Today’s financial environment sets up unique challenges, including concerns over Social Security, sky-high college costs, and debt. Kids are more likely to make their buying decisions online rather than in stores.

It’s important that children’s knowledge about money begins in the home. When parents actively teach their kids about money, it can contribute to their chances of future financial success.

Within Money Minded Families, parents will find tools for evaluating and improving their own financial wellness. They can also teach their children about positive financial health using the book’s activities, which are organized by age.

Author Q&AWhat did you learn when writing the book?

So much! The book began as more of a prescriptive book. One that would allow me to share what I have learned in my profession regarding spending, saving, sharing and investing.

But, the more research I did, the more I realized that we are truly in a different place than we have ever been in history, one that requires a major perspective shift.

Additionally, we as parents often don’t have the requisite mindset or actions for teaching our children. This led me to research and understand the best way to adults and children acquire financial knowledge.

Specifically, for our children, the best way for them to acquire knowledge isn’t teaching them the math of investing or even how to open a bank account, but instead, it’s positive “financial socialization.”

Financial socialization is the process by which young people acquire the standards, values, norms, skills, knowledge, and attitudes needed to become functioning consumers in the marketplace.

Financial socialization is the way most people learn how to handle their financial Affairs—good or bad. Who do you think are their primary teachers?

You got it: parents. But then I realized, most parents have never experienced positive financial socialization, and even if they have, our children are living in a very different world than we did.

Every hour of every day, parents are “teaching” their children about finances, among many other things, with their own behavior. If you make a habit of spending unconsciously or irresponsibly, you run the risk not only of creating your own negative financial situation, but also of passing your financially unhealthy behavior onto your children.

I found that parental influence through financial socialization has a “direct and significant” influence on the attitudes and financial behavior of children and young adults. And most of us are going through these financial decisions and actions mindlessly.

This book helps parents to evaluate their own money persona and provides tools to help them create better habits for both themselves and their children.

Author Q&AWhat does the title mean?

To be a money‐minded family, means that we are mindful or our finances, and we use them to express our family’s core values. Financially well children are a result of this lifestyle.

When you think of the word wellness, most people think of emotional or physical health. This book shows that our financial wellness is inextricably connected and is a component of our holistic wellness and must be nurtured in much the same way.

Author Q&AWho should read this book?

Anyone who is around children and honestly, a good portion of the book focuses on how we, as adults, must take a close look at what messages we are intentionally or unintentionally sending to our children, as it relates to money.

As a society, we must change our financial habits, increase our financial knowledge and incorporate financial wellness practices into our lifestyle. I believe reading this book, can help people open their mind and their eyes to a more positive financial future.

Author Q&AWhat does it mean to be Money Minded?

Much of what we do with our finances is mindless, so bringing mindfulness into our financial lives starts with being mindful, or conscious, of our good and bad habits and
course correcting when necessary.

Being aware of our flows of money, seeking clarity around our investments, understanding our personal balance sheet. All of these things help to inform us to make better decisions; this is being money minded.

As it relates to our children, as they say in psychology, they are tabula rasa, or a blank slate. We as parents and influencers have the power, through financial socialization, to provide them with mindful money habits to carry them through the rest of their lives.

Author Q&AWhat do you hope people learn from your book?

I hope after reading this book you and your children go on a journey that leads you to financial freedom.

I hope that you can teach your children how to feed their own financial needs and wants and ultimately set them on a successful path toward their own financial wellbeing.

I also hope this book will help adults who may not have a healthy relationship with money to reflect on the reasons behind their own financial habits and begin to live a life of financial wellness.

I’d like this book to be used as a tool to help you guide your children, and to be shared with your children. The goal is to help raise strong, educated people who have the know‐how and desire to set and achieve financial goals for themselves, save and spend with clarity, and understand the value and purpose of their work and of material things.

We do this by understanding and perhaps redefining our own money personalities and working to create positive financial socialization for our children.

Contact Stephanie