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'It's tricky': Actress Ellie Kemper discusses instilling work ethic in kids

Betsy Wagner
Senior Producer

The internet is abuzz with big congratulations for actress Ellie Kemper, who is expecting her second baby with husband Michael Koman.

In a recent interview with Yahoo Finance’s Jen Rogers, Kemper talked about the dilemma so many financially successful parents face: How to raise self-reliant children who know the value of hard work and who can pay their own bills.

Kemper — made famous by her quirky and lovable roles in The Office, Bridesmaids, and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt — is already the proud mama of son James, who will turn three in July.

“I don't know how you pass on a strong work ethic to someone,” she said on an episode of My Three Cents. “I hope that (James) inherits that. I shouldn't say inherits that. I hope that he develops a strong work ethic. But it's tricky. You want them to feel comfortable and taken care of, but you want them to be independent.”

Actress Ellie Kemper talks money on Yahoo Finance's My Three Cents with Jen Rogers

Kemper says that when she was just starting out in comedy, she was determined to be as financially independent as possible. “My parents are both very hard workers,” she says. “My mom stayed at home and took care of all of us. And my dad is a banker. And I feel like they have a drive and a strong work ethic and they're very disciplined. I feel like I must've picked that up from them. “

In her twenties, while taking improv classes and putting on one-woman comedy shows, Kemper worked behind the counter at a cupcake shop to pay the rent. “I did have to work, but I also knew that I had both the emotional and financial support of my parents should I need it,” she recalls. “So I think that that helped me because I didn't see it necessarily as a safety net, but I felt a little bit buoyed by it.”

Son James is a long way from adulthood, but Kemper says she thinks a lot about how best to help him when he is chasing his own dreams. “It's tricky. And I always think about that. I think, how will I help him financially when he is 18? I don't know.”

My Three Cents with Jen Rogers is a weekly interview series that explores celebrities’ history with — and relationship to — money. Find it exclusively on Yahoo Finance.

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