Browse Tag: giving

Puzzle pieces

Letters from Mom: Financial Health is Only One Piece of the Puzzle

Today I’m starting a new series called Letters from Mom. At 10, there are only so many money lessons I can teach and that J can practice. However, there are things he’ll need to know later, and that’s what I want to focus on today.

Dear J,

I’m hoping that by the time you’re older, you’ll be very financially healthy.

The markers of financial health and success (in my opinion) are:

  • Managing your money well – what comes in and what goes out
  • Figuring out what’s important to you and spending wisely there
  • Saving, in general and for specific future needs and wants
  • Giving and being generous
  • Having what you need, being able to provide for yourself (and your family if you choose to have one) and being responsible

But financial health alone won’t give you the happy, fulfilling life I wish for you. There are several other areas that are important.

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Making the transition from cash to card - dollar bills and credit card

Making the Transition from Cash to Card

For two years now, J has been using cash, paper and pencil to manage his money. I’ve been paying monthly interest and bi-weekly allowance in cash. I’ve been calculating interest payments in Excel and emailing statements.

My goal was to help him understand cash (and math) by using hands-on, practical examples.

It’s been awesome. J started with $40 in his savings envelope in April 2016 and had over $500 by June 2018. (Pretty good for a kid with no job.)

Time to move on

When he turned 10 a few months ago, I knew it was time to learn something else. Cash is great, but how many of us really use cash and only cash every day? His financial education needed to include the responsible use of cards.

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money-talk-money-walk

Does Your Money Talk Match Your Money Walk?

If you’ve been around awhile, you know that my focus on National Bank of Mom is 1) teaching my son kick-ass money management skills and 2) fostering good communication between us.

I teach him how to balance his savings, spending and giving accounts, how to plan for a large purchase and how to save at least 10% of his income.

The more I thought about it, though, the more I realized that talk will only get me so far.

If I want to instill these skills in my son, I have to make sure I’m walking the talk. I have to look at my own actions and behavior and ask myself, “Is what I’m doing contradicting what I’m saying?”

Ralph Waldo Emerson said:

“What you do speaks so loud that I cannot hear what you say.”

That couldn’t be more true. So much of what we learn is unspoken. We pick things up from our friends, family and society around us — what’s “normal” and expected. How life works.

To that end, ask yourself the following questions and examine your behavior:

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