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As you may know, everyone grows up being taught about money from an early age, correct?
Not at all!
Most kids are lucky if they received a piggy bank, a giant big crayon bank, or just a big empty plastic container much like this one:
Yes! That’s my two-year-old Phoebe devouring one of her favorite snacks. Cheese Balls! And yes she has eaten most of them by herself. But what she doesn’t know is that this giant container that was once filled with small, round, cheesy morsels of goodness, will play a huge part in lessons that I will teach her about saving, investing, and begin molding her to be financially responsible.
But for many of us that had a piggy bank we were probably just told to fill it up with whatever change we could find or see who could fill theirs up the fastest, and then you could buy your favorite candy or toy. There was no real lesson behind the importance of saving your money or the value of it.
I grew up as an only child, in a single parent home. Money was never an issue (well not that I was aware of) and from what I can recall from my childhood, I was pretty spoiled. Besides God, my family valued getting a good education and getting a good job. Money was never really discussed and personal finance was foreign to me, it wasn’t taught at home or in school.
I believe if we were taught at an early age lessons about money there are many circumstances that could have been avoided and we could live a more fruitful life.
Below is a list of 15 invaluable money lessons that will help you start teaching your kids and help you make the changes required to put you in a more favorable position financially.
1. WHAT IS MONEY?
This is a good one because there are a lot of adults that don’t know what money is.
I will admit that I didn’t know what money truly was until my husband schooled me some years back before we were even married. This included everything from how it was made to how it’s regulated. I knew that it was important to get the necessities of life and that it’s value is on a scale of its own, but when it came to what it was in its truest form it caused me to think of it differently.
Real quick ask someone near you“what is money?” It can be your spouse, mom, dad, sister or brother.
Here are some of the responses I received:
- “A dollar”
- “A way of life”
- “A way of providing”
- “Currency that is necessary to make purchases”
- “A necessity to live life”
- “The ultimate resource used anywhere for life’s basic necessities to unlimited success.”
None of these responses are incorrect because people define things differently. But when we come down to the truest sense of the form of what money actually is, it’s simply a medium for exchange. So that medium could be diamonds, gold, currency, or anything that may be of value to the supplier.
This will open our mind so we are not always looking at money as if it’s only this rectangular green piece of paper, but as a true sense of value to be offered.
2. MONEY MINDSET
Most kids equivalate money to spending.
As soon as they see money it’s like a green light goes off in their head that says “SPEND, SPEND, SPEND.”
Unfortunately, that mind set follows us into adulthood developing bad spending habits.
How you perceive money is very important to your financial success. It will help you determine the meaning of money for you and to ultimately create your own money philosophy that will help you understand and refine your values.
Your money mindset can set you up for success or failure.
Viewing money as just a means to an end, such as going to work, getting paid, paying bills and so forth, will not help build financial success.
You can’t be frustrated with your current financial state with a hand full of bills in one hand and a hand full of shopping bags in the other.
You need to create your own philosophy or money story that will encompass a plan that will motivate you and create a more sustainable financial future.
If you don’t learn to have a money mindset, then you are going to struggle financially.
3. SETTING FINANCIAL GOALS
Setting goals gives you a long-term vision of where you want to see yourself and it also gives you that short-term motivation to drive you to succeed at it. It has a way of focusing you on a specific aspect of your life and helping you organize your time and resources so you can make the very most of it.
You can learn step-by-step how to set financial goals in this post. To give you a quick run down when setting financial goals use the SMART method, making sure your goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely. Lastly, make sure your goals are aligned with the vision and values you have for yourself and/or family.
4. SACRIFICE & DISCIPLINE
Some of you may be thinking, “What do sacrifice and discipline have to do with money?” Well a whole lot, because the main reason why your budget isn’t working is that you lack one or both of these things. It’s usually both because they tend to go hand in hand with one another.
We buy what we want, when we want, with no regard to whether our decisions were wise, only to end up regretting it later. We don’t want to say no to eating out or going out with our friends because we feel that we worked hard for this money and we should enjoy it as we see fit.
Let someone tell you, you can’t do something with your money, are you going to pout as if you were a child and catch an attitude? Many of us are guilty of this very action, I know I definitely am and my husband will give you countless stories.
In order to become financially successful you have to be willing to say “NO!” No to your kids, no to your friends, no to the trips, no the fancy dinners and most of all NO to yourself.
5. NET WORTH
When your self-worth goes up, your net worth goes up with it. – Mark Victor Hansen
My net worth was never a thought until I saw I was worth a negative amount. It was like a punch to the gut but it allowed me to see my financial position much more accurately.
Once you know the amounts of your assets and liabilities, you can calculate your net worth. You will simply subtract your liabilities from your assets; the difference is your net worth.
If you need to get your finances in order and have more control, learn to create a budget.
A budget can be done weekly, bi-weekly, or even monthly. My household tends to do ours weekly because we get paid every Thursday. This helps us be more consistent and on top of our finances. But a monthly or bi weekly budget may work even better for you. There’s no one budget fits all.
A budget will show you the money coming in and going out, in other words, your revenue versus your expenses. It’s the best way to see where your money is going, and it will help you to figure out where you can make changes to help you be more successful.
To create a budget, you will list all of your revenue (income) and subtract your expenses (bills, groceries, savings, etc.). It can seem simple, but the truth is many people fail at budgeting, so I recommend you to check out 5 simple steps to creating a budget.
7. EMERGENCY FUND
An emergency fund is cash that is set aside in case you experience an emergency such as a car repair, house repair, layoff, sickness, etc. When something goes wrong and you have the money, it’s a great feeling. No panicking or worrying how you are going to get the money to cover it, because you are already prepared.
You can start your emergency fund by setting a financial goal and putting a little money aside each pay.
Saving is a critical part of becoming financially successful because it’s a way of planning and telling your money where you want it to go. This is a way to prepare yourself for planned events or purchases, that may require a significant amount of money.
If you know you or your family want to go on vacation next summer, budget and save for it. If you know that Christmas comes once a year, budget and save for it. The great thing about saving is that you can save for anything; you just have to make sure you set it as a goal and plan for it.
Credit is a two edged sword. It can work in your favor or it can work against you and when it’s working against you, you’re in trouble.
If you have to use credit, use it sparingly and wisely. The only real reason I would advocate using credit is to build your credit score, but that means you will have to be disciplined in making purchases and paying them off in a timely manner.
A good credit score means when it’s time to get that house you will have better interest rates, so make sure you are thinking of your future when making purchases.
Remember, medical bills and utilities are also reported to the credit bureaus, so make sure you are paying bills on time and are not leaving them delinquent.
10. STUDENT LOANS
O how I wish I didn’t have student loans. Parents! Please do everything in your power to teach your children the value of saving, grants, and scholarships. They may have to work throughout their college career but I promise they will thank you for it.
If you are in college now and have student loans, STOP IT! Go get a job and pay for the rest of it the right way. I promise you student loans are of the devil.
As the saying goes “a little hard work has never killed anyone.”
11. PAYING OFF DEBT
Financial freedom requires being debt free. So if you have credit card debt, personal loans, or student loans then this is really important. Getting out of debt should be your number one priority if you want to have financial freedom.
Do you mean social security? Nope. But that’s what it was for me growing up. “Make sure you get a job that pays into social security for retirement.” Ummmm so I can pay into it and then it no longer exists when I’m 65, well it may be 90 by the time I get to retirement age.
Don’t get me wrong social security is good, but it’s not enough. Financial Planners often use a three-legged stool analogy. This includes social security, personal taxable savings, and retirement plans.
Retirement is usually the first thing people invest in. You first need to see how much your budget will allow you to save for retirement. Then you will decide in which retirement plan you want to save – a 401k, IRA or Roth IRA. Make sure to check if your employer will match any of your retirement investing.
Time is money
Yes! The magic of compound interest. My kids are learning at an early age, the earlier you invest for retirement the more money you will earn over time.
Also, Along with planning retirement make sure you have insurance and think about estate planning, especially if you have children.
Once all debt has been paid off and money is going into a good retirement account, consider investing. Investing is where the real magic will happen when it comes to your finances. This is where you can make that real money and build wealth.
It will be helpful to hire a financial planner when you get to this point because starting out investing by yourself can be scary and very overwhelming.
In my adolescence giving was the last thing on my mind, I just wanted to receive and this still holds true to many adults.
In order to live a fruitful life, you have to make giving a part of your life. Becoming selfless will open you up to a whole new world and when you have the finances to give you feel good and more eager to give.
By giving, I don’t mean just giving your money away, I mean giving your time, giving your knowledge and giving your money to a greater purpose.
For example, if you were to teach your kids during Christmas time that it’s not just about receiving and giving them the opportunity to volunteer at homeless shelters or churches to feed and give to those less fortunate it will broaden their perspective that everything isn’t about me and that is something that will stay with them.
So put yourself in a position where you can be a blessing to someone else.
15. PAYCHECKS ADD UP
The whole idea behind this is to stop looking at your paycheck as “pay day” to go and pay bills and spend money. But look at it as a part of a bigger picture.
For example, if during each biweekly pay $2,000 is deposited into your account, it will take about 500 pays to get one million dollars. That is about 10 years if you never spent a dime of your pay. But we know that isn’t realistic, but the point is you have to start seeing your paycheck as a piece of a whole picture not just as a means to an end.
This will help you to shift your perspective about your paycheck so you can anticipate greater. So maybe you can’t save all $2,000 of your pay but maybe you can save $1,000, or maybe you can find a way to increase your income.
So now you know 15 money lessons that you probably didn’t learn growing up. Let’s go over them one more time.
- What is Money?
- Money Mindset
- Setting Financial Goals
- Sacrifice & Discipline
- Net Worth
- Emergency Fund
- Student Loans
- Paying off Debt
- Paychecks Add Up
Learning about money can be boring but it’s important to be a financially responsible adult. So what are you waiting for? Start now!
Let me hear from you, what are some money lessons you were never taught as a kid?
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