Financial responsibility is one of the many lessons that I am glad my mom taught me. In my family you learn the value of a dollar, at an early age and the tradition continues with my kids. We’ve discussed saving money ever since my oldest was five.
Over the years there have been many school events and field trips that required a payment of some sort. Chanell was always excited about going then a few weeks before the final payment, she would tell us “Kim’s not going so; I don’t want to go anymore!” After the second or third time of her pulling this stunt, I decided it was time for her to learn a valuable lesson. The very same one, that my mom had taught me and my brother. The next trip she wanted to go on would be paid for with her money not ours. Birthdays, graduation, allowance, just because money, etc. It didn’t matter, it was her turn to foot the bill from now on. I hated having to do it, but why should we throw away our hard-earned money, while she saves hers and blows ours. Our friends would tell us we were crazy, and to be happy that she’s still following the put 50% (future expenses) in your savings, 25% (bills) in your checking and spend 25% (concerts, movies, etc.) from every dollar you earn/receive rule. They tried it with their kids without any success. We were happy, but she still needed to learn the importance of budgeting. It took one time for her to realize we meant business – she hasn’t pulled a I don’t want to go anymore again.
Now that she’s a teenager, she has a debit card and we’ve discussed the difference between debit and credit cards. We’ve explained how they work, overdraft fees, bank fees and how she still needs to balance her checkbook even though she no longer writes checks.
In her high school she took a life skills class for a semester, however I was surprised that the main focus of the class was time management and careers. The section covering finances was only two or three days.
Since her school only touched on the subject, we’ve discussed with her in greater detail the importance of saving. We explained that there will always be someone, somewhere who will have more than you, so don’t ever try to keep up. I want her to fully understand the importance of living within your means rather than trying to keep up with the Joneses. If she ever decides to get a credit card, we know that she is armed with all the tools she needs to build her credit responsibly. The rest is up to her!
Did you know?
More than half of parents (57%) with kids in high school and college give schools below average or failing grades in teaching kids responsible spending, with more than one-third (35%) giving a straight out ‘F’. This is compared to 37% of parents who give schools an ‘A’ or ‘B’ for teaching safe sex, according to a recent American Express Survey.
While I’m glad that schools are teaching students about finances, I feel that ultimately it is up to parents and/or primary caregivers, to teach children about safe spending.
Visit the American Express online financial management tools and “Practice Safe Spend” tips to help manage, protect, and save your money.
Have you discussed safe spending with your children? If so, what was the outcome? If not, what are you waiting for?
I wrote this review while participating in a campaign by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of American Express and received a promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate.