Celebrate Your Child!

May 18, 2009

Is it important to teach your child about money?

Did you know that more and more young adults are having to move back home to mom and dad’s because they have made bad money choices?

And did you know that the largest group of people filing for bankruptcies today are under the age of 30?

Couples are getting divorced in drastic numbers and the number one reason is 'money stress'.

The first step in teaching your child about money is to teach them age-specific, individual money lessons that will give your child a really solid understanding of the money fundamentals.

A good friend of mine, Amanda van der Gulik, from Teaching Children About Money
has put together a complete resource guide for parents showing us step-by-step, age-specific money lessons for our children.

I’ve gone through this guide over and over again, and I am repeatedly impressed with the wealth of easily applicable steps that she walks us through to teach our children about money.

Amanda has spent over three years compiling all of the resources that she has kindly placed at our finger tips in her ebook. It would take us years to find these on our own. Amanda has made it really easy for us.

Better still she has even created a special 7 day Course for our children with over “50 Money Making Ideas for Kids” to help us get our children started earning their own money so that they will have the money needed to learn how to successfully manage it.

Click HERE to get access today!

I've already started the course, and it blew me away. I would have never even considered some of the ideas that she gave us.

After you sign up for the course, make sure you read through her website and learn more about how you can teach your own child all about money.

Here’s to your child’s massive success in learning how to make their money work FOR them.

Teach YOUR Children About Money

May 15, 2009

Giving kids an allowance (II)

Do I get some say in what the allowance is spent on?

"What if my kid wants to spend his allowance on fireworks or a pellet gun?" you may be thinking. Don't worry – allowances can come with some oversight. But instead of making a list of banned items, Leatherman suggests setting up general guidelines like, "You can spend your allowance however you like, as long as it doesn't cause a problem." This gives you plenty of wiggle room. If your 6-year-old wants to buy a week's supply of cavity-causing sugar bunnies, simply cite the "cause a problem" clause.

How can I teach my child to save and to share?

You may want to let your child take charge of how much of his allowance to spend, how much to share, and how much to save. That's fine – he's sure to learn from his own successes and mistakes.

Alternately, you can build in guidelines that reflect your values. You can require your child to save 10 percent of his allowance and donate another 10 percent to a charity he chooses. And you may want to divide the savings into "fixed" and "revolving." The fixed savings go directly into the bank, to be reserved for a long-term expense such as college or a car. The revolving savings remain at home with your child, for him to dip into at his discretion. Even if he depletes his stash on a regular basis, he'll still learn firsthand how helpful savings can be in a pinch.

To encourage your child to make thoughtful decisions about money, consider forgoing the standard one-slotted piggy bank in favor of one with separate compartments. Examples are the Moonjar Moneybox and the Money Savvy Pig.

Is it okay to let my child borrow against his allowance?

"Mom, will you get me this toy?" your child begs with puppy dog eyes. "I'll promise I'll pay you back as soon as we get home." What should you do? As long as you're comfortable with the toy and the price, making the short-term loan can be a good lesson for your child. But have some safeguards in place.

"First, have your child sign the receipt," says Leatherman, in case he develops sudden amnesia about the agreement. "And don't give him the toy until he gives you the money." If upon arriving home, he discovers he doesn't have enough to pay for it, keep the toy until he earns or saves up the money. If the money never comes your way, feel free to get creative: The next time you hand over his allowance, include a "bill" for the toy.

Teach YOUR Children About Money

What about giving advances?

Your child's best friend invites him to go to the movies, but he's already blown through his allowance. Should you give him next week's allowance early? "If your child is generally responsible with money and you feel confident that he'll pay you back, it's fine to give him an advance," says Leatherman, though it's a good idea to have him sign an IOU.

If you're not so sure, consider requesting collateral. "Have your child give you a possession that's equal in value to the amount he's borrowing," Leatherman suggests. And make sure it's not some broken or long-forgotten toy – the collateral needs to be something he'll want back. Return the collateral when the next allowance time rolls around and he makes good on the loan.

Of course, you can always just say no, especially if these advances are becoming an everyday occurrence. Your child may be disappointed about missing the movie, but he'll learn about the importance of building a "rainy day" fund.

Is it smart to tie my child's allowance to chores?

While many parents tie allowance to chores, Leatherman recommends against it. "Depending on your child's mood, allowance may not be enough to motivate him," she says. In which case, you're stuck with undone chores.

Also, when children get paid for chores, they don't fully experience what being a family member, a team member, is all about. It's important to teach them that all family members have responsibilities to the group. And that's nonnegotiable. Though they may gripe about doing the dishes, the need to contribute in a meaningful way is fundamental.

May 8, 2009

Basic Parenting Tips for New Parents

In order to raise a healthy and well rounded child, you need to put a lot of effort into raising him or her. Children take a lot of effort, a lot of time, and a lot of money. This can be frustrating at some times, but you just need to remember that when you became a parent, you chose to put the needs of your child ahead of the needs of yourself. So, follow some basic parenting tips to do the best job you can.

The best thing you can do as a parent is take a break sometimes. No parent should spend every hour of every day with their kids – that is extremely stressful, and nobody would stay sane for very long. Have your partner spend a few hours with the kids while you meet your friends for dinner. Let one parent get up early to take care of the kids while the other one stays in bed and enjoys a long sleep. By remaining in a good mood, you can constantly show your kids the love and affection they need. Make your children feel safe and important.

Discipline is one area that is a huge challenge to many parents. You always hear conflicting reports of what is the best way to discipline the child – is it ok to spank, or should you use another method? The truth is, there is no “right” way to discipline a child. Some children are not affected at all by spanking, and some become very distressed. You need to show your child that what he or she did was wrong, and explain what would be better to do. Get this done, whether you need to do it through spanking, or simply sitting down and talking to the child.

Next, you should constantly challenge your kids so that they can learn new things and develop into well-rounded human beings. Keep a regular schedule of activities, such as reading, playing with puzzles, and playing with certain types of toys that require logical thinking to assemble. If your child fails at an activity, make it clear that he or she didn’t fall short of your expectations. Just lower the difficulty and try again until the child succeeds.

As the years go by, remember that there’s no such thing as a perfect parent. Just do the best you can, and give your child a good home to live in.

May 2, 2009

10 fun ways to teach your child the value of money

1. Hit a yard sale

Yard sales are usually piled high with kids' stuff. Younger children will love picking out a book or toy at this "outside store." And older kids will quickly discover that their allowance money stretches much further here than it does at the mall. Afterward, you can bask in the glow of snagging a great deal.

If your family likes to sleep in on Saturdays, take the kids to the local thrift shop instead. Both are also wonderful opportunities to talk about reusing and recycling.

2. Visit the bank

Taking your child to the bank is worth more than just a free lollipop. Watching bank transactions helps kids understand what cash actually is. Let your child be involved as much as possible. Even preschoolers can hand a check to the teller.

As your child gets older, consider opening an account for him, and help him learn to track his savings. Many banks and credit unions have special no-fee accounts for kids, complete with educational materials and online activities.

3. Enlist your child as a bill assistant

While your kid watches from his booster seat, you swipe your credit card, push a few buttons, pump the gas, and abracadabra – it's off to swim lessons. Can we really blame kids for thinking of a credit card as magic and infinite?

Break through the mystique by letting your child help you pay the credit-card bill. "This will let him see the whole picture," explains Sharon Lechter, coauthor of Rich Dad, Poor Dad. Go through the charges, and remind him what you're paying for ("Remember when we had to stop for gas on the way to swim lessons?").

Preschoolers and kindergartners can put the check and bill into the envelope and stick on a stamp. Older children can help record the check number in your checkbook or online accounting system.

Have your child help you with the other bills, too -- utilities, rent, cable. Not only will he enjoy being a part of things, but he'll gain a whole new perspective on how money flows. There may be some nice side benefits as well; once your kid knows how much electricity costs, he may be more cooperative about turning out the light when he leaves a room.

4. Shop at a farmers' market

At the supermarket children don't see any sign of the farmer. Taking them to a farmers' market instead is a great way to help them understand the connection between work and money. Let your child be as involved as possible. As he helps you choose a bunch of carrots and hands the cash to the farmer, he'll get to see the market economy in action.

Explain that the farmer grew the blackberries himself, so he gets to decide how much they cost – and the customers then decide if they want to pay that amount. You can also explain that with the money the farmer earns, he can buy supplies to grow more blackberries.

5. Clip coupons

Before you recycle all those annoying circulars that arrive on your doorstep Sunday mornings, why not have a coupon-clipping fiesta with your child? Even if you're not a coupon clipper yourself, it's worth making the effort to teach your child about savings and discounts. He can help identify coupons that might be a good match for this week's grocery needs (even nonreaders can do this, because most coupons include pictures), help cut them out, and put them in a large envelope.

Next time you go to the grocery store, let your child be in charge of the coupons. Depending on his age, he can be the "coupon envelope holder," the "product finder," the "tracker of money saved," or all three. Afterward, talk about how much money the two of you saved and how you might use that money.

Or, if you can't stand dealing with coupons, use your grocery savings card at a participating market. While you shop, point out the deals marked for cardholders, and show him your family's savings on the receipt after you shop.

6. Volunteer and donate as a family

Integral to financial literacy is the understanding that some people have more than others – and that those with more can help those with less. "Families can do very simple things to get children in the habit of giving," says Laura Busque, Outreach Manager for the Ohion Credit Union League. "Try shopping together for food and delivering it to a local food pantry."

You can also match your child's interests with causes – if he's an animal lover, buy supplies for the local animal shelter or volunteer together to help feed the animals.

7. Encourage your child to make a little money

Earning money is not only educational but empowering for kids. The good old-fashioned lemonade stand remains a fine choice – and it has the added benefit of encouraging teamwork. "A lemonade stand is a perfect thing for siblings to do together," says Lechter. "The older one can handle the money, and the younger one can hand out the cups. And the older child can 'mentor' the younger child, which will help them both feel good."

Other money-making ideas for kids include selling outgrown toys and clothes at a flea market, helping to host a family yard sale, and doing chores above and beyond the usual around the house for extra pocket money.

8. Take a class

Many credit unions and banks offer seminars for children. You may think your kid will just roll his eyes at the idea, but give him a chance. "I never cease to be amazed at how interested kids are in learning about money," says Mark Hodowanic, who helps teach seminars at TopLine Federal Credit Union. Check to see what your bank or credit union offers.

9. Set a family savings goal

Is your child dying to go to Disneyland? Does he have to have a trampoline? Agree on a long-term goal and start a fund in a jar, suggests Sam Renick, author of It's a Habit, Sammy Rabbit! This makes the family work as a team, and, Renick says, "brings joy into saving." Your children can help deposit your loose change in the "pot" and can contribute part of their allowance from time to time.

10. Play games

The next time your child asks for computer time, let him try some of the online games that teach money skills. Many credit union sites have games and other activities, like printable coloring pages. For starters, check out Money & Stuff, Fat Cat, and the U.S. Mint site.

Of course, these days it's easy to forget about board games – remember those? But a good game of Monopoly or Life, even though it deals in fantasy, help hammer in ideas of earnings, savings, and loss.

Teach YOUR Children About Money

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