March 27th, 2012 - Category: Budgeting
In the last post, we talked about parents needing to be good examples for their kids when it comes to money management. Businesses and corporations track very single penny earned and are aware of how each dollar is spent. While basically all adults have “an idea” of how much they are spending on things, not everyone keeps careful records. Many simply employ the “fly by the seat of your pants” type of money “management.” When a paycheck is earned, they pay the most pressing bills, buy some groceries, get some gas in the car and then try to hang on until next payday. If you don’t fit into this category – good for you – but if you do, don’t despair. Money management is a learned skill.
A new month is fast approaching. As an eye-opening experiment, write down how much you think you are spending in typical categories such as rent/mortgage, utilities, food, gas, clothing, entertainment, school expenses, charitable giving, medical/dental expenses, savings accounts, gift-giving, debt repayments, insurance, etc. Then keep track of every single penny that you spend for the 30 days in April (or any 30 day period); even a pack of gum purchased needs to be recorded. You need to be able to analyze your current spending habits in order to plan ahead and create a workable budget.
Have your kids do the same thing – they can keep track of every penny they spend for 30 days, including items “earned & purchased” via the MyJobChart.com chore chart and its Amazon store. Be sure that you and your kids also have a page to track where the money is coming from. Write down your monthly salary and/or if you are a commission-earner, keep track of all commissions earned. If you have any other source of income, write it down. The kids can record whatever they earn from doing their chores on My Job Chart and any other source of income they may have; babysitting, part-time jobs, etc. if they are old enough.
Keeping careful track of your expenses will help you recognize your needs when you set up your budget after this 30 day experiment. You may realize you are spending money in areas you did not list when you tried to project what you are currently spending your money on. You will need this information in order to determine what is working and what isn’t.
During this 30 day period of record keeping, pay attention to advertising, marketing and consumerism. You might want to make a note about why you purchased some things and be honest if something was simply an impulse purchase. Mindless spending is as detrimental to your financial well-being as mindless eating is to your physical health. Only awareness can bring about change and improvement.
April happens to be “National Financial Literacy” month so it is a perfect time to work on our own finances and to teach our children the skills they will need throughout their lives.
March 19th, 2012 - Category: Announcements
We are excited to announce that My Job Chart is now listed as a resource on the Jump$tarr Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy. Jump$tart is a national coalition or organizations dedicated to improving the financial literacy of pre-kindergarten through college-age youth by providing advocacy, research, standards and educational resources.
The Jump$tart Coalition is a partnership of about 150 national organizations and entities from corporate, non-profit, academic, government and other sectors. Many of these coalition partners are household names. Generally these partners conduct and/or support financial education or offer financial education tools and materials for youth and others.
March 15th, 2012 - Category: Money
Everyone wants their kids to be happy. If you asked a dozen people, especially children, to define happiness you would most likely get a dozen different answers. If you look up happiness in the dictionary, the word contentment comes up the most and if you check contentment, you get “a feeling of satisfaction.” Let’s go one more … look up satisfaction and you get “the fulfillment of one’s wishes, expectations or needs.”
If you are content and satisfied with your life, you are bound to be happy. Few things cause more discontent than money woes. Even very young children can be taught the value of working for something and appreciate the happiness it brings. MyJobChart.com can help you teach your kids the value of work and its rewards the very first time you use it. As your kids establish patterns of completing their jobs (chores) and earning whatever reward you set up as their parent, they begin to experience a feeling of satisfaction. They learn to work for what they want. Other tools on My Job Chart help them learn how to handle the money they earn, helping them to be happy kids.
The lessons children learn today about handling their finances will carry over into adulthood. A 2010 iVillage survey of online U.S. moms indicates that more than half of moms (61%) are the primary money managers for their households. 41% revealed they wish they were more informed about being financially responsible. This is information they would like to pass on to their children. Many moms turn to the Internet these days and 37% of those interviewed wished for more access to online articles and discussion forums with trusted financial experts.
[iVillage, iVillage and PASS from American Express(SM) Partner to Launch The Talk to Mobilize Moms to Talk to Teens About Money, September 15, 2010, http://about.americanexpress.com/news/pr/2010/thetalk.aspx]
Can we count on the schools to prepare our young people to handle their finances? A 2010 Visa survey shows that 93% of Americans believe all high school students should be required to take a class in financial education. Yet, just a handful of states have adopted varying degrees of financial literacy curricula. At the time of the survey only four states required high school students to take a semester-long course in personal finance.
[Visa, Back to School Survey Shows Americans Want Personal Finance Taught in the Classroom, July 20, 2010, http://www.practicalmoneyskills.com/about/press/releases_2010/0720.php]
In light of this information, it really falls on the parents to teach their children financial literacy, even if they have to do some study on their own first. In these challenging economic times, it behooves all of us to learn good money management skills so we can handle our finances better and share those skills with our children. Well known financial adviser, Suze Orman, says on her Money Matters column for Yahoo Finance that “The single most important step in raising a money-wise child is simply for parents to be money-wise adults themselves. And that’s where so many well-intentioned moms and dads seriously drop the ball.”
Let’s spend some time tightening up our own financial skills so we are better able to prepare our kids to handle their money. Albert Schweitzer said, “There are only three ways to teach a child. The first is by example, the second is by example, the third is by example.” Only if we are using good money management skills can we show our kids how to do the same.