Monday, August 16, 2010

A penny for your thoughts

Parenting is hard work, whether you’ve agreed to this enlightening journey or not, the road ahead welcomes a list of responsibilities challenging our subconscious and exercising every bit of patience.  Most parents would agree that we don’t want our children making the same mistakes as we have.  Among other things, the concept of money demands careful attention.  I’m no financial expert but after years of credit card debt and irresponsible spending, I was forced to make some changes.  I’ve joined and contributed to the millions of Americans living outside our means… blatant miss-handling of money has provoked a surfacing generation of entitlement, privilege, and compensation.  I want my children – ages 6 and 8 – and yours to avoid these financial setbacks and appreciate every cent they earn.   The school of hard knocks is a tough place to be, though failing can create opportunities of growth, why not raise money smart kids now.

I understand that times are difficult - families are still experiencing the effects of today’s recession.  In my opinion there is a detrimental need to teach our youth of money management.  Believe it or not, many U.S. schools refrain from teaching this important skill.  The discussion of money doesn’t have to be taboo, if we can instill traits of living within our means, forking money away for the future, and reaching a financial goal, we are equipping them with the tools of success.  Lately, I have made more of a conscious effort to continually discuss money - especially dinner costs, vacations and clothes. Hopefully through these routine discussions they will develop an awareness that benefits their decision making for the future. 
Fashion your technique around corporate strategies – many companies reward their employees for self initiative (losing weight, quitting smoking and 401(K)s) provide incentives.  Saving is tough; develop a model that works for you.  I reward my kids with a dollar-for-dollar match.  I love this lesson, it promotes saving through encouraging incentive and still rewards their hard work through occasional spending.  Help them manage their money – if you are a notorious payment skipper, set up a savings account tied to a debit card at your local bank.  That way you can transfer money on a scheduled basis.  It teaches them structure and paying bills on time.  As hard as it is, allowing our children to make mistakes and live with them builds character.  Don’t bail them out! Children much like adults need to learn - I’m living proof of that.  Have a wonderful week everyone, love and blessings.
Mark Nava   

Images: We Heart It

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