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What I Learned In School

April 15th, 2014 - Category: Financial Literacy

What I learned in school

 

I learned a great deal in school.  I learned how to spell Mississippi.  I learned how to find the area of a circle using pi.  I learned how to make a volcano out of baking soda and vinegar for the science fair.  In 5th grade I did a report on President Polk, so I know all about him.  I learned about planets, verbs, poetry, and Christopher Columbus.   I even learned how to dissect a frog.

What I didn’t learn in school was how to save money.  I didn’t learn how to budget.  I didn’t learn how to calculate interest on a loan.  I didn’t learn the value of a dollar.

We send our kids to school so that someday they can grow up and get a good job.  But once they get the job, we stop teaching them, and they are left to figure out for themselves how to manage their money.

What can we do in the home to help our children be financially literate when they are ready to leave the nest?

Talk about it.  Teach them as you go about your daily life.  In the grocery store, when the bills come in the mail, when saving for something big, discuss the specifics with your children.  Talk about how much things cost and how to save for big purchases.  Teach them the definition of different monetary terms – interest rates, cash back, stock market, etc.  Discuss budgets and how your family chooses to spend their money.

Let them make decisions.  The more opportunities they have to work with money and manage it, the more money savvy they will be as adults.  Give them real world experiences.  Give them an allowance and let them get a summer job.  Here’s another example: next time you go to a restaurant give them the option of getting a soda with their meal or getting the dollar that it would have cost.  You may even have second thoughts about ordering a soda yourself!

Set goals.  Once they understand money and how it works, think bigger.  Have them figure out how to save for bigger purchases and make monetary goals.

Remember, part of learning is making mistakes.  If your child opts to spend their entire allowance on a toy that you know will be broken in a week, let them do it and learn from the consequences.

Instead of sending your children off with no financial literacy, or having them learn about money from television, friends, or from broken pieces of your conversations, sit them down and talk about money with them, let them make decisions, and encourage them to set monetary goals for their future.

Teaching Your Kids About Credit Cards

April 10th, 2014 - Category: Financial Literacy

kids and credit cards

 

I always get asked, “When should I start teaching my kids about credit cards?”

Well, I suggest teaching your kids about money around the age of 5.  And honestly, teaching them about money is the beginning of teaching them about credit and credit cards.

If you want your kids to be responsible credit card holders, then they have to start young, by using their money, which usually comes by form of allowance, responsibly.

I used to suggest that kids learn to use cold, hard, cash first.  But, today, cash is almost a thing of the past.

Teach them how to use a debit card wisely.  They need to learn how to spend their money without overdrawing their account.  This can take more discipline than using cash because they have to know how much money they have without seeing it in their hand.

Also, don’t enroll them in an overdraft protection plan.  They may have a debit transaction declined, which could cause some embarrassment, but hopefully they’ll learn a lesson about balances.

Other lessons that can be learned about credit cards from using a debit card are how to control spending, paying bills on time, balancing their account, and how to avoid fees.  These lessons all take time, but start young and don’t leave them to learn on their own.  Help them out along the way.

Don’t scare them – arm them with information.  Teach them how to be responsible credit card users.  Go over your credit card statement with them and explain concepts like minimum payment and interest rate.  Talk about the importance of paying the balance in full.  As they get older you can discuss credit scores, credit reports, and building good credit.

It takes time to build credit history.  Don’t speed the process up by cosigning for them or naming them as an authorized used on your credit card.  Young adults can’t get a credit card of their own until they are 21 or until they can prove a steady income.  Stick with what the professionals know and let them wait.   As long as you are paying the bill, your kids won’t take responsibility or learn anything.  And you are putting your credit on the line if they mess up.  If they really want one, then check into getting them a secured card with their own savings.

According to the Experian Intelliview tool, as of 2013, the approximate revolving credit card debt in the US was $850 Billion, and the average balance per consumer was $3,779.  So, it’s going to happen.  Someday your child is going to get a credit card and someday they may even be in debt.   Save them some misery and teach them now to be a wise credit card holder.

Giving Your Kids a Financial Education

January 8th, 2014 - Category: Financial Literacy

 

 

When it comes to your kids, as parents, we have many concerns.  From their growth and discipline to their schooling and future, parents have lots to worry about.

 

Hopefully, at the top of your “worry list” is their financial education.

 

Consider this, the average young adult acquires $45,000 in debt by the time they turn 29, according to a recent PNC Bank report.

 

“This generation of 20-somethings was raised during an economically-thriving period,” says financial expert Mark Hansen, author of Success 101 for Teens. “Undisciplined spending habits, student and car loans, and a tough job market have stymied their financial growth. Perhaps the worst culprit is financial ignorance, but we can count this as a lesson for future 20-somethings.  For young people, organizing finances can be intimidating to the point of prohibitive.  We need to have a curriculum in schools, from kindergarten through 12th grade, that ensures our kids graduate with financially literacy.  From balancing a checkbook to understanding what it means to pay – and earn – interest, kids need basic money management skills to survive in the world, and most aren’t getting them.”

 

Helping kids financially means more than handing them money.  We need to teach them the basics of being fiscally fit.  A couple places to start…

 

Make them earn it.  When you have to work for something rather than being handed it, it means more to you.  You tie the sweat and time spend earning the money to what you turn around and buy with it.  You aren’t as quick to make purchases and you take better care of what you do buy.  Getting something for nothing never taught any principles.

 

Be consistent.  I know exactly what it’s like to raise a family.  I know how many strings are pulling you in every direction.  I know how hard it is to check up and make sure that chores are done – according to the specified standards.  I also know how hard it is to tell your kids no when they come to your for money.  But if you value your child’s financial education, you’ll look at the long term effects of being consistent and stick to your guns.

 

Help them understand interest.  There is interest that works for you and then there is interest that doesn’t.  Your money in the bank can grow because of interest, but money borrowed can work against you if it’s not paid back in a timely manner.  Show them examples from your own bank and credit card statements.  Help them understand the benefits of saving and the pitfalls of borrowing.

 

Give them a monetary incentive.  There was a boy that wanted more allowance.  His dad told him that his allowance could be increased by whatever money the boy could help the family save.  The boy walked away and the dad thought the issue was over.  But, over the next few weeks, the boy received over $300 after finding and changing several behaviors and situations that his family was wasting or overspending their money on.  Give your child a goal, something to work for, and you may just be surprised at what they can teach you too!

Let Your New Years Resolution Work for You Financially

January 1st, 2014 - Category: Financial Literacy

Do you have any New Years Resolutions? According to a 2012 survey by University of Scranton, an estimated 190 million Americans make a yearly list of things to do or improve upon. If by chance, one of your items is to create a financial plan, live on a budget or get debt under control, then January is the perfect month for you to map a course to stronger financial stability.

January has been designated National Financial Wellness month in the U.S. and MyJobChart.com recommends making resolutions that are achievable for you but can also serve as teachable moments for your children. The average adult will make thousands of financial decisions during the next year, including many which will be made with kids watching or listening.

To help move your children in the right direction in 2014, Gregg Murset, CEO of MyJobChart.com and a Certified Financial Planner offer the following out of the box suggestions:

No More Hand Outs.

Start the year off right by deciding that you are not going to just shell out money to your kids anymore.  When they come to looking for money, let them know that they will have to work for it.  The bank is now closed unless they start pulling their weight a little more around the house. Tying work and reward together in some meaningful ways will help them understand responsibility and accountability. It will also help them understand that in real life, no one ever gets money for doing nothing.

Smash The Piggy Bank.

Piggy Banks are a bad way to teach kids about money.  That’s right, take that piggy bank and smash it or throw it away.  Long gone are the days when we should be teaching our kids about money by dropping coins into a bank that looks like a pig, jar or favorite sport team mascot.  Using banks like these only teach children about money in a manner that isn’t as relevant anymore.  Get them a real bank account and teach them how to manage their money though online services.  It is far more useful to learn to manage money in a bank rather than a pig.

Make Kids Pay… For The Cell Phone, That Is.

According to Consumer Reports the average mobile phone user spends about $600 a year.  If you do the math, you’re going to be shocked at how much you are going to be spending over the years so that your kids can send hundreds of meaningless texts each month to their friends!  Kids should pay some, or all of their phone bill each month. This is a perfect opportunity for you to sit down and teach your children about how much things cost, especially things that they seem to think they are entitled to for some reason.  This is also a great time to discuss the things that they can do around the house to earn the money to help pay that bill.

Play The Match Game.

Set up a matching program for your kids.  They save a dollar and you match that dollar.  Yes, 100% return.  Sit down and determine what they would like to save for and then set out to accomplish it together.  This is a great opportunity to talk about short term, mid-term and long term goals. When a child learns the power of savings like this at an early age, what do you think will happen when they get their first job and they learn about the 401(k) program that is available?

Comic Books To Teach Kids About Money?  Now That’s Just Dumb.

Last year a credit card company teamed up with a leading comic book to teach kids about personal banking practices.  Talk about a square peg in a round hole.  They supposedly were going to distribute 150,000 of these square pegs in eight different languages.  Why does something as important as personal finance have to be jammed into little white blurbs above super heroes heads in a comic book? Parents should be fighting to get personal finance taught in our schools not forcing the subject where it doesn’t really fit.

Make Them Better Givers.

No matter how your children earn their money, make sure they plan to donate a portion of it to a charity of their choice. The average American gives away about 4% of their annual income to charity and perhaps that percentage would increase if the next generation made giving a common practice as soon as they learned how to share with important causes.

Set Goals That Are Meaningful.

A start of a new year is a great time to sit down with children and talk goals.  Meaningful goals. Help your children put together a plan on working toward and saving for something significant. It could be a bike, musical instrument, laptop computer or a future college degree. The more meaningful the goal, the harder our kids will work to accomplish it.

About MyJobChart.com

MyJobChart.com, based in Scottsdale, Arizona, is a free, easy to use, online and mobile job chart and reward system designed to teach, organize and motivate kids to earn, save, share and spend responsibly. Bringing together the latest technology and basic personal finance principles to help parents teach their children responsibility, accountability and how to manage money wisely. Over the past two years, My Job Chart now has over 565,000 members, with kids having completed over 19.5 million jobs and earned nearly $3 million. MyJobChart.com can also be used through its Apple and Android mobile apps, allowing parents and kids the opportunity to save, share and spend from anywhere.  For more information, visit www.myjobchart.com.

 

 

20 Financial Lessons For Kids

May 8th, 2013 - Category: Financial Literacy

 

Money as you grow is an initiative from President Barack Obama’s Advisory Council on Financial Capability.  It points out 20 essential, age-appropriate, financial lessons and even includes corresponding activities that kids can do to learn about money as they grow.

 

From talking to your child about your job and money, to learning where you can get a free annual credit report, this site has some great ideas.  It’s purpose is to inspire families and others to become more financially literate.

 

Milestones for 3-5 year olds

1 YOU NEED MONEY to buy things.

  • Identify coins and their value.
  • Discuss how you may value something that is free, such as playing with a friend.
  • Identify items that cost money, such as ice cream, gas for the car, or clothes.

 

2 You earn money by WORKING.

  • Describe your job to your child.
  • Walk through your neighborhood or town and point out people working, like the bus driver or the police officer.
  • Explain that some people start their own businesses, like clothing stores or restaurants, and those people are called entrepreneurs.
  • Encourage your child to think about how she could earn money by setting up a lemonade or cookie stand.

 

3 You may have to WAIT BEFORE YOU CAN BUY something you want.

  • When your child is standing in line for a turn on the swings, or looking forward to her favorite holiday, point out that sometimes we have to wait for things we want.
  • Find three jars (or cans) and label one for saving, one for spending, and one for sharing.
  • Suggest that your child put some of the money she gets into the saving jar, so she can buy a toy or treat when she has saved enough.

 

4 There’s a difference between THINGS YOU WANT and things you need.

  • When you are out shopping, point out essentials such as food and clothing, and ask your child to describe items that she may want but are optional.
  • Talk about how your family decides what to buy and what to pass up. Which is more important, buying cookies or fresh fruit? Soda or milk?
  • Draw a circle and divide it into sections for food, rent or house payments, clothes, and “optional items,” to show that there is a finite amount of money to spend.

 

Milestones for 6-10 year olds

5 You need to MAKE CHOICES about how to spend your money.

  • Include your child in some of your small decisions. For example, at the grocery store, explain why you pick one item over another.
  • Give your child two dollars and let her choose which fruit to buy.
  • When shopping with your child, ask yourself aloud: Do I need this item? Can I borrow it? Would it cost less somewhere else?

 

6 It’s good to shop around and COMPARE PRICES before you buy.

  • With your child, compare prices for a particular toy at various online or brick-and-mortar stores.
  • Use coupons and discount cards, and show your child how much you are saving.
  • Consider allowing her to keep part of the savings, if she helps clip or print out coupons.

 

7 It can be costly and DANGEROUS TO SHARE INFORMATION online.

  • Know the websites your child visits.
  • Decide which websites are appropriate, and block any inappropriate sites using parental control software.
  • Make it a rule that your child never gives out any personal information—like her birthdate, address, phone number, or school—when on the computer.
  • Don’t allow her to buy anything online without your permission.

 

8 Putting your money in a savings account will PROTECT it and pay you interest.

  • Visit a nearby federally insured bank or credit union with your child.
  • Ask about the interest rate on a savings account.
  • Discuss with your child how money in savings accounts is protected by federal insurance. If the bank goes out of business, she will get her money back.
  • Open a savings account for your child.

 

Milestones for 11-13 year olds

9 You should SAVE AT LEAST A DIME for every dollar you receive.

  • Encourage your child to always save 10% of the money he gets.
  • Have your child set a goal to buy something he wants, and have him work toward that amount.
  • To reinforce the savings habit, go to the bank two to three times a year with your child to deposit savings into his account, and look at how much bigger the balance is on each visit.
  • Consider a “matching plan” for your child’s savings: You put in 25 cents for every dollar he saves.

 

10 Entering personal information, like a bank or credit card number, online is risky because SOMEONE COULD STEAL IT.

  • Discuss the dangers of entering personal information online.
  • Explain that thieves can use Social Security numbers or other personal information to open credit cards or create fake documents.
  • Explain that “free” offers online, such as cell phone ringtones or games, are scams to get people to spend money without realizing it.
  • Make it a rule that your child never answers emails from someone he doesn’t know and never clicks on pop-up ads.
  • Go to ftc.gov/idtheft for tips on information security.

 

11 The sooner you save, the FASTER YOUR MONEY CAN GROW from compound interest.

  • Compound interest is when you earn interest on both the money you save and the interest you earn.
  • Show your child the following: If he sets aside $100 every year starting at age 14, he’d have about $23,000 at age 65. However, if he begins saving at age 35 he’d have about $7,000 at age 65. Assume the account earns 5% every year.
  • To compute compound interest, use the calculators at investor.gov.
  • Discuss how much your child can save. What will he have to give up? Is it worth it?

 

12 USING A CREDIT CARD IS LIKE TAKING OUT A LOAN; if you don’t pay your bill in full every month, you’ll be charged interest and owe more than you originally spent.

 

  • Discuss why you should not use a credit card to buy something that you can’t afford to pay for with cash.
  • Look at credit card offers online with your child, and compare the interest rates.
  • Using the Credit Card Repayment Calculator at federalreserve.gov, see how long it could take to repay a $1,000 credit card debt by making the minimum monthly payments.
  • Discuss how a credit card can be useful for making purchases online, or as a convenience.

 

Milestones for 14-18 year olds

13 When COMPARING COLLEGES, be sure to consider how much each school would cost you.

  • Point out that college grads earn almost twice as much as people who did not go to college.
  • Discuss how much you can contribute to your child’s college tuition and expenses each year.
  • Compare college costs, graduation rates, loan default rates, average monthly loan payments, and employment prospects by using the “College Scorecard” at collegecost.ed.gov/scorecard.
  • See what schools cost by finding the “net price calculator” on their websites; know that most families don’t pay the tuition sticker price.
  • Use the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Paying for College tool to compare financial aid offers at consumerfinance.gov.
  • To estimate your financial aid, use the FAFSA4caster tool at fafsa.ed.gov.
  • Go to studentaid.ed.gov to research additional loans, scholarships, and grants, and use the calculators to estimate your monthly loan payments.

 

14 You should AVOID USING CREDIT CARDS to buy things you can’t afford to pay for with cash.

  • With your child, fill out the Income and Expenses budgeting worksheet available at mymoney.gov.
  • Discuss why having a savings and spending plan in place could help him avoid using credit cards.
  • Drive home this rule: When you use a credit card, aim to pay it back in full each month; otherwise, you could be charged high interest.
  • Using the Credit Card Repayment Calculator at federalreserve.gov, see how long it could take to repay a $1,000 credit card debt by making the minimum monthly payments.

 

15 Your first paycheck may seem smaller than expected since MONEY IS TAKEN OUT FOR TAXES.

  • Discuss the difference between gross pay (before taxes are taken out) and net pay (the amount you take home).
  • Explain that the W-4 form, which you fill out when starting a job, determines the amount of taxes taken out of a paycheck.
  • Explain that tax brackets vary depending on how much you earn. (In 2012, single people who earn $8,700 or less per year pay a tax rate of 10%, for example, and those who earn between $8,700 and $35,350 pay 15%.)
  • Discuss what taxes pay for, including schools, road maintenance, and medical help for the elderly.
  • Once your child has a steady job, help him set up an automatic savings program so that at least 10% of earnings goes directly into his savings account.

 

16 A great place to SAVE AND INVEST MONEY you earn is in a Roth IRA.

  • If your child has a job, encourage him to open a Roth IRA (Individual Retirement Account).
  • Explain that a Roth IRA allows the interest you earn to grow tax-free for life.
  • Experiment with different amounts of savings and interest rates. Use a compound interest calculator at investor.gov.
  • Use the “Rule of 72″ to estimate how many years it would take to double your money. If you invest in an account that earns 8% interest, you’ll double your money in nine years (72 divided by 8 is 9).
  • Explain to your child that once he starts a job, he may be offered a similar account at work called a 401(k). Some employers even provide matching contributions.

 

Milestones for 18+ years old

17 You should use a credit card only if you can PAY OFF THE MONEY OWED IN FULL each month.

  • Understand that when a parent cosigns, any late payments you make will also affect their credit history.
  • Paying bills late can hurt your credit history and affect your chances of getting a job.
  • Get free credit reports once a year at annualcreditreport.com.
  • Look for a credit card with a low interest rate and no annual fee.
  • There may be an emergency expense that you can’t pay off immediately and need to charge. That’s why it’s important not to charge everyday items.
  • To learn more about the credit card rules, go to federalreserve.gov.

 

18 You need HEALTH INSURANCE.

  • Comparison shop for insurance like you would for any other product.
  • If your parents have health insurance, see if you can stay on their policy—with some exceptions, you are entitled to, by law, until you turn 26.
  • Get more information about the health insurance available to you at healthcare.gov.
  • Purchase renter’s insurance if you lease an apartment, and auto insurance if you own, lease, or rent a car.

 

19 It’s important to save at least three months’ worth of living expenses IN CASE OF AN EMERGENCY.

  • Make a list of your expenses (rent, bills, food) to see how much you spend each month; this will help you estimate how much you’ll need to save for three months’ worth of expenses.
  • Store the money in a safe place, like a federally insured bank or credit union.
  • If you’re able to, try saving six to nine months’ worth of living expenses instead of only three.
  • Don’t stop once you’ve built your emergency fund; try to automate your savings so you stash away 10% of your earnings.

 

20 When investing, consider THE RISKS AND THE ANNUAL EXPENSES.

  • Invest in an IRA or a 401(k) as soon as you have some income.
  • Putting all your eggs in one basket can be a risky way to invest; consider a diverse mix of stocks, bonds, and cash.
  • Compare mutual fund costs: An “annual expense ratio” of 1.5% instead of 0.5% on a $1,000 investment could cost you almost $2,000 over the course of 35 years.
  • Ask about index funds, which tend to have low annual fees.
  • Think about your goals. Attending college? Buying a home in 10 years? Purchasing a car in five? Define two financial goals for the long- term future, and make a plan to achieve them.
  • For more information go to investor.gov.

 

You can visit their site for more information at  http://moneyasyougrow.org/#

 

 

 

 

Financial Lies Parents Tell Their Kids

May 18th, 2012 - Category: Financial Literacy

According to a recent T. Rowe price study, more than 77 percent of parents say they are not always honest with their children about money, and 15 percent don’t tell the truth at least on a weekly basis. This lack of financial honesty can hinder children’s financial education.

Are you communicating untruths about money to your children? For example:

  1. “We can’t afford it.” In some cases, of course, you really may not be able to afford the item in question, but according to T. Rowe Price’s study, many parents tell their children they can’t afford an item the child wants and then buy something equally or more expensive for themselves. In many cases, the truth may be that you can afford the item, but according to your budget or values, it isn’t the best use of your money at the moment. “When you say you can’t afford something when you really can, you’re missing the opportunity to talk about priorities or trade-offs,” Stuart Ritter, a vice president at T. Rowe Price and a father of three, told Reuters. “Kids are perceptive, and I think we underestimate their readiness to learn this stuff, and their ability to pick up on what you and I are doing.”

“This is the perfect opportunity to introduce a lesson to kids about saving money for a goal, or perhaps scaling back to something that is more affordable,” says Teresa Dentino, CEO and founder of The Financial 411, a financial education platform focused on serving women. “Depending on the age, getting your child involved in setting a goal, planning how to achieve it, and also rewarding for the achievement can provide benefits on many levels.  If kids are younger, you can make it a ‘project-like’ experience where you track the progress on a poster.  Including some ’matching’ funds from the parents can make the experience even more engaging for kids. Age appropriate considerations will of course determine the better approach, but involvement in the process and decision-making gives young adults the ‘behind-the-wheel’ experience that will serve them later on when the stakes are higher.”

  1. Refusal to talk about money. Rather than telling an outright untruth, some parents simply refuse to talk about money around their children at all. But that silence can convey to children that money is something “dirty” or completely unattainable.

“The important thing is to open the dialogue and quit shrouding the money topic in secrecy, as that can lead to feelings of shame about spending and the “there’s-never-enough” mentality later on,” Dentino says.

  1. “To earn money, you just have to go to work.” While parents may not make this statement outright, it’s often implied because they don’t take the time to educate children about what “work” really entails and how it can be challenging to obtain and keep a job. “I’ve found many children have little concept of how money is earned other than ‘work,’” says Jennifer Little, Ph.D., of Parents Teach Kids. “They don’t understand rules governing behavior on the workplace relate to income earned; study and effort relate to income earned; and [they assume] that they will earn enough money in the future, but education doesn’t always guarantee a job now.

Give your kids the whole story about work and income by taking time to discuss with them how you earn money, how different jobs pay differently, and how what they’re doing now can influence their future income.

  1. “They have a lot of stuff, so they must have a lot of money.” While many in our society equate a person’s value with the value of his or her home, cars, clothes and gadgets, children need to be taught that frequently, the “owners” of those items simply have good credit and may be deeply indebted to banks and credit card companies. In addition, it’s important for children to realize that many of the smartest money managers choose not to spend their funds on all that stuff, ensuring that they will continue to have fatter bank accounts throughout their lives. “[Teach kids that] responsibility involves money and money management,” Little says. “Our culture views and values people according to how much money or buying power they have, so the more stuff means the better the adults are. Responsible adults must delay gratification and deprive themselves and their children of the goods they feel they are entitled to have.”

What You Can Learn by Teaching Your Kids About Finances

April 19th, 2012 - Category: Financial Literacy

Research shows that most Americans have poor financial literacy and fail to plan ahead for major life events such as retirement and paying for children’s education. Parents who are actively teaching their children about finances and money management are bound to learn a few lessons themselves—and maybe practice what they preach more religiously.

“To teach is to learn twice,” wrote French essayist Joseph Joubert, and that sentiment rings true for parents teaching financial literacy to their kids, says Stephen Rhodes, CFP, managing principal of Strategic Partners Wealth Management in Creve Coeur, Mo. “When you are responsible for teaching your kids about money, it forces you to understand the material in a different way,” Rhodes says. “The myriad of questions you will get from your kids requires you to spend time thinking about the topics, and in turn, helps you to gain a level of understanding not possible otherwise. I have found that not knowing the answers has been the best thing for me long-term, as it causes me to conduct my own research. The lessons I have personally learned seem to stick longer than those I heard about secondhand.”

For instance, by making a conscious effort to teach your children about wise money management, you will learn:

  1. 1. Being consistent. “When you begin to teach your kids about money, there is a built in accountability,” Rhodes says. “For example, if you provide your kids with piggy banks and communicate that you will provide them with an allowance so that they can learn the importance of giving, saving and spending, the pressure is on you as a parent to make good on your promise. Should you get busy and forget, your kids will promptly remind you about your commitment. The built-in accountability that comes with teaching your kids about money teaches you to be consistent, and once you’re consistent, there is not a money topic that you can’t master.”
  1. 2. Developing new habits. Working with children to help them develop financial skills can also help give you the self-control to develop new financial habits of your own. Just as your exercise habits and eating habits determine your body weight and physical health, your financial habits will determine your financial health. “If we were to teach and show our children how to save, not only would they save, probably for a lifetime, but so would we,” says Neil Palache, a certified Women’s Money Coach and founder and CEO of the Wealth Creator Company for Women, Inc., in Westlake Village, Calif.

For instance, with their own children, Palache and his wife have established what they call “the Money Inn,” a place where every member of the family drops coins each day. “The kids each have several full piggy banks that they have taken upon themselves to fill,” Palache says. “And as a result, my wife and I have become better savers too.”

 

  1. 3. Setting an example. Many of today’s parents have learned to rely on credit cards and other debt instruments. “If we want something, we buy it,” Palache says. “However, we also often struggle because our kids are constantly asking us for things — toys, candy, movies. Very few people have unlimited resources, especially given the current economic climate.” Beyond talking to your kids about why they cannot have something they are asking for, the best way to teach them is to apply that same restraint to your own spending.

“Are you saying no to eating out with the kids and then doing exactly that during the coming weekend?” Palache says. “Maybe there’s a lesson to be learned. Eat out less. Eat home more. Your kids will appreciate it and so will you.”

 

April is National Financial Literacy Month!

April 4th, 2012 - Category: Financial Literacy

April is also known as a time of fresh starts and renewals which makes it a perfect time to start teaching our kids about financial literacy, if we haven’t been doing so already.

It might be surprising how easily young children can grasp the principle of “financial literacy” when presented to them through stories and videos. Help them recognize the choices characters in TV shows or books make when it comes to managing their money. For example, when a character makes a purchase, discuss if it was a “need” or a “want” and if it was “planned spending” or “unplanned spending.” If a character spends his or her money on something unimportant and then miss out on something they really wanted, talk to your child about it.

In this digital age there are so many resources readily available to us, such as My Job Chart, that it’s relatively easy to put together some little age-appropriate “lessons” that might appeal to your child. Here’s a link to a cute PDF file for a story that can be printed off and colored about a squirrel that saves nuts in preparation for the winter. It is found at the FUNancial Literacy website.

Talk to your children about what kinds of things they might need to save for. Many young people contribute to their college fund and it’s never too early to start. Or maybe they want a guitar or drum set or rollerblades – encourage them to earn at least part of the money themselves. Planning ahead pays great dividends. Warren Buffet said, “Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree long ago.”

For older kids, give them a certain amount of earmarked money to be in charge of, other than the money they earn at myjobchart.com. Look for opportunities where they can handle a certain amount of money – or have them research the cost of an upcoming family vacation and try to find the best deals. Give them the grocery list and food money for a week and let them try their hand at it. You can be creative in any number of ways that work for your family to give your children real-life experience in handling money. Teens will also find quite a few FaceBook pages on “Financial Literacy” if they do a search for it. “Liking” those pages will put good ideas in front of them often on their newsfeed.

Let your older kids save for summer camp or scout camp. Find ways to help your children learn to handle money wisely while they are still at home, under your watchful eye. Smaller errors made today and learned from can prevent larger financial mishaps when they reach adulthood.

It’s tax season. While you may prefer your children not to know the exact amount of your family’s income, let your children know the percentage that goes to taxes. Talk about what kinds of things are funded with our tax dollars. As you talk about the need to contribute to society in this fashion (no doubt there could be plenty of opportunity to explore the wasteful use of money as well), but you can also discuss the need and joy of contributing to the family. Let the kids help save for something everyone in the family is looking forward.

The nice thing about having a “National Financial Literacy Month” is that it gives us a chance to stop and reflect on things and to think about where we are at financially and where we want to be as well as reminding us to involve our children in thinking and learning about financial literacy. Encourage them to track every single penny they spend. Are you keeping a 30-day record as we suggested in our last post? It can be very revealing and it will help you set up budget areas when make out your spending plan.

Oh, and have a Happy Financial Literacy month!!

Could Using My Job Chart Improve Your Child’s Financial Literacy?

February 29th, 2012 - Category: Financial Literacy

We all want our kids to grow up and be able to make wise financial decisions. But research indicates that most young people leave home with very little practical knowledge and experience in this area. A 2010 Financial Literacy Survey of adults, conducted on behalf of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, Inc., revealed that 34%, or nearly 77 million people, gave themselves a grade of C, D or even F in their financial literacy skills.

[National Financial Literacy Survey Reveals Silver Lining, April 13, 2010, http://www.nfcc.org/newsroom/newsreleases/files10/FLS_ReleaseFINAL2.pdf]

When kids actually earn their own spending money they are generally more careful about how it is used. However, if mom and dad always dole out funds for a child’s various activities, wants and desires, the child rarely pays attention to how it is spent. Luckily, My Job Chart provides practical experience in money management while children are still living at home where they can experience the results of their financial choices, good or bad, in a safe environment.

According to the “2009 Young Adults & Money Survey” sponsored by Charles Schwab, many in this age group admit they don’t feel adequately prepared to make good financial choices when it comes to using debt wisely (28%), saving for the future (40%) or investing their money (43%). This is a statistic that needs to change and, we, as parents, can be the change agents in our children’s lives that will prepare them to succeed in handling their finances.

Now is the time to teach them to plan ahead for a future purchase; to earn the money and save up until they have enough to buy it. While they are young they can learn how to handle their finances, how to earn, save, spend and share.

According to a survey by PASS from American Express, teens say that talking with their parents about money is not easy, as nearly half of teens (49%) reveal that having to ask their parents for money is a “hassle.” The 2010 survey also suggests that teens and young adults primarily receive money through allowances, gifts, or unscheduled jobs such as chores around the house. Over half of parents (55%) give their teens an allowance. Parents give teens an average of $66 per month, including funds for a regular allowance, clothing or food, extra spending money, and/or payment for jobs around the house.

[PASS from Charles Schwab American Express, Many Parents Say Discussing Allowance with Teens is as Stressful as Negotiating Purchase of a Car, August 16, 2010, http://about.americanexpress.com/news/pr/2010/dat.aspx]

A survey done by in 2010 about “Families & Money” suggests that the road to financial independence for today’s youth stretches out farther than ever before. It reveals that 41% of the so-called “sandwich generation” parents continuing to provide at least some financial support to their young adult children. Ouch!

We need to raise up a generation of financially literate adults who can make wise money decisions. We need young people who can plan ahead, create and follow a budget and not be a burden on their families or the government. Our kids need to know what a blessing it is to be able to live within their means and plan for their future.

No worries, though. You’re at the right place because using My Job Chart can help in all of these areas. Watch for more on financial literacy and how you can help prepare your child to handle their own finances after they leave home in future posts. We hope you are able to discuss some of these things in an age-appropriate manner with your kids as they enjoy doing their chores and reaping the rewards while tracking their success online with My Job Chart .

The 3–Legged Stool of Financial Literacy

January 28th, 2012 - Category: Financial Literacy

If you have been involved with My Job Chart for a while, then you have come to appreciate our three main areas of focus: “saving, sharing and spending.” I call it a 3-legged stool.

Just for a moment, try to picture a 3-legged stool in your mind.  It generally has a flat round surface from which extend three legs, all the same length and all the same distance apart from each other. When properly built, a 3-legged stool works very well. It is stable, handy and dependable.

However, if one of the legs is missing or even broken, the stool is no longer able to support the weight of someone using it to sit on.  The integrity and usefulness of the stool is compromised. It’s interesting to note that the stability of the stool is also diminished if the lengths of the legs vary. Depending on how uneven they are, the stool may cease to be functional even though all three legs exist. The same is true in helping our kids learn about money and chores. It is not only important to teach our kids how to earn points (which can be redeemed for money, privileges, time with a parent, etc.) but it is equally important that we teach them how to handle what they have earned in terms of balanced and reasonable use of “saving, sharing and spending.”

The 3 legs supporting the stool of financial literacy are also “saving, sharing and spending.” These three “S” words are the Super Heroes of prosperity. When they are all in place and balanced, the stool is stable and functional. They are the pillars needed for a child to understand and experience financial literacy first hand.

Now, imagine a properly balanced 3-legged stool that has 3 support pieces of equal size placed in between the legs of the stool. Adding these 3 supports ensures long and successful use of the stool. I’d like to suggest that the supports consist of parents, training and experience, the very results of utilizing the 3-legged stool of financial literacy.

If parents are able to teach their kids about the proper use of money, focusing on “saving, sharing and spending,” and then allow them to experience the positive results of their efforts first-hand, the parent and child will have built a stool of financial literacy that will serve each of them well all of the days of their lives.

You will find many of the tools needed to teach these things to your children as you participate in our free, user-friendly, online chore chart and reward system at My Job Chart. Join the thousands of other parent who are teaching and motivating their kids to Save, Share and Spend responsibly.

A Little Financial Literacy in January Will Bring a Peaceful Holiday Season Next December

January 11th, 2012 - Category: Financial Literacy

We hope you all enjoyed the holiday season with your families. We certainly did. The holidays are perfect for enjoying family time together. They provide opportunities for giving service and teaching our children about faith, charity, patience and generosity. They can also be the source of stress, headaches, overspending, disappointment and unnecessary debt. Which was the case for you?

Now is the time to plan ahead for this year’s gift-giving season so that it can be enjoyed worry-free and debt-free. January is ideal for spending a little time with our children discussing the holidays and planning now to save enough throughout the year to be able to provide gifts for those on their gift-giving list. (We would do well to do the same). Doing so is part of a skill set to be found in “Financial Literacy.”

What exactly is “financial literacy?” It is a set of skills and knowledge that allows an individual to make informed and effective decisions through their understanding of money.The economic principles you and your child need to know to make informed fiscal decisions and the understanding of various banking and budgetary products and procedures that affect your financial well-being all are part of “financial literacy.”

Instilling good, fundamental financial skills in our children will have a profound impact on their future lives. Kids need to understand that the money we spend and the money they are allowed to spend is money that is earned; it is income. Too many children see mom or dad swipe a card and walk out of the store with goods without realizing that money was withdrawn from the account in the case of a debit or, that money is owed in the case of a credit card purchase. It is important that they understand one works in order to earn money and then that income is to be managed well in order to provide for the needs of the family.

Teaching children basic money management skills, including saving, sharing and spending should be part of a financial literacy legacy we give to them. Simple lessons in investing (even by means of a savings account) and credit can help them understand at an early age that money can either serve you or hold you hostage. Such knowledge prepares them to make critical financial decisions. Find ways to teach them about compound interest; time is on their side. (Future blogs will provide examples and website links you may want to use with your children).

Albert Einstein said, “The eighth wonder of the world is compound interest.” Here’s a video clip that might surprise you. Would you rather have a million dollars right now or would like to take the end result of doubling a penny each day for 31 days?

A Penny a Day for 31 Days or 1 Million Right Now Today?

As parents, it pays to always be on the lookout for a “teachable moment.” When our kids are with us when we use the ATM or are in line at the grocery store, explain that the money you’re getting or spending is money you earned. Try inventing little systems and games that help them to understand money and its uses. The beauty of www.myjobchart.com/ is not only how it teaches kids of any age the value of work, it also provides actual experience in “earning” something that they can save, share and spend.

We hope this new year is the beginning of many wonderful and happy times for you and your family and that, together, we can raise up a generation of money savvy consumers; young people who know the value of work and the value of saving for their futures.

Who Should Teach Kids Financial Responsibility?

May 9th, 2011 - Category: Financial Literacy

During a recent conversation, one woman was heard to say, “I didn’t know what I was doing when I got married. I had no credit. I didn’t have a car. And I didn’t have a job. Neither did my husband. We made a lot of financial mistakes that we’re still paying for.”

The woman’s father, another participant in the conversation, replied, “Well, they just don’t teach those kinds of things in school anymore.”

Hold on a minute? Isn’t it up to parents to teach their children financial responsibility?  Why should schools pick up the slack when parents fail to teach even basic money matters to their kids? Math taught in schools – great! How to acquire great credit – not realistic.

But in all fairness, finding the time to teach these principles to your children can be difficult. And you probably wouldn’t want your children to:

  • Help as you pay the bills
  • Know you are living paycheck to paycheck
  • Worry about how much they cost you every year
  • See the financial mistakes you’ve made
  • Get the wrong impression about how much money you have in your accounts (even $1,000 looks like a lot to a 12-year-old)

Most parents are not going to reveal their own financial situations to their children. Understandable. Nor are they going to sit down and spend an hour reviewing financial responsibility. But there are many things you can do to help your children learn to manage their money even at a young age:

Give Them a Goal – once upon a time it was difficult to buy a home or car. Adults saved their money for years to make significant down payments. When that changed, so did the economy. And not for the better.

Saving for something you want is a great way to learn financial responsibility. So, even if you can afford it, don’t buy your children everything they want. Help them save their cash until they can make their own purchase.

The benefits of working toward a goal include: learning patience, evaluating needs versus wants versus momentary desires, and developing self-control.

Restrict Their Purchases – give a young child $5 and they are likely to spend the entire thing on candy. Although you may feel like an ogre telling them they can have one candy bar (instead of 10), it’s a lesson that needs to be learned.

But don’t just stop them. Take a minute to talk about it. Let them know that 10 candy bars today might mean they don’t have the money to go to the local swimming pool tomorrow.

Let Them Pay Their Own Bills – when your child wants private lessons or a 16-year-old wants to borrow the car, you have a chance to teach them the realities of life. Have them pay for their own lessons or car insurance. A monthly payment made to you will teach them about the recurring nature of bills.

Sure, it’s okay to help them out with their payments once in a while, but make sure they understand that they should always have money ready to pay their bills the following month.

Add Some Interest – how often do your kids ask if they can “borrow” some money? Your first reaction might be to say no. But maybe next time you can teach them a valuable lesson. Instead of just giving them the money, let them know they will be charged interest for any amount they borrow from you now.

If they borrow $10, let them know you expect to be repaid $11. They will holler about how unfair you are but what better way is there to teach children about loans and interest rates?

Be More Open – as your children grow, consider being perfectly honest with them. Let them know how much you’re paying for your car each month. Tell them about the time you purchased a new computer and then didn’t have the money to pay your power bill.

So many economic challenges could have been avoided if people (as a whole) were more financially savvy. Being reserved about your own financial matters will not help your children learn. They need to know what to expect once they step out on their own.

At MyJobChart.com, children learn how to manage their chores and manage their money. The online system gives them the chance to save, spend, and donate based on criteria you and they determine together. If you’re not using it already, we encourage you to sign up for a free account today.