The Analytic Mind: Teach Your Children Well


June 20, 2007

Last night, my 16-year-old daughter said to me, “So far this year, I have made $800 and only spent $500.”

I walked over to look at the ancient version of Quicken she insists on using. (As soon as she starts to pay her credit card bill electronically, she will want to upgrade.) Even though I think I am better than she is with Quicken, she showed me that if you hover over the Income and Expenses legend in the dashboard, it shows you the totals for the year.

But the best part came as I began to turn away and suddenly realized that she was drilling down. (Remember, this is my teenager, who gets a really big allowance so that she can buy her own clothes and balance her own checkbook and in general, learn finance.) “Look,” she said to me, “I spent half of my money on my cell phone and on meals with my friends.” And there on her Quicken dashboard was her visualization of expenses for the year by category.

If I told her that she is a budding analyst, she would get really angry. I can hear it already, ‘I don’t want to be you.” But isn’t that what we should interview for – people who think like analysts?