Last Monday, Marie Hall, co-founder of Living Smart Foundation in Carmichael, facilitated a personal finance workshop for teens and young adults entitled, Head Start to Money, at St. Joseph Marello Catholic Church in Granite Bay.
Victoria Hatch, a parishioner at SJM and a parent of a teen and young adult, organized the event because she wants to see her own children and youth in her community better equipped for making a happy and healthy life with minimal financial strife. “We do not give youth enough practical education about money and managing the finances of life,” she said. “It is truly a blessing to have Marie offer her practical, hands-on lessons to inspire young people to take charge of their financial future.”
Hall kicked off this seminar with her own story about learning the hard way, and how important financial literacy is to thrive during the ups and down’s of the global economic cycles. “My husband Don and I started this non-profit to teach financial literacy to youth because we learned how difficult it is to climb out of financial collapse,” she said. “We had a good mortgage business and when the housing market crisis hit around 2008, we literally had to start over again. The good news is that you can learn now how to make good financial decisions that will help you weather through these booms and busts.”
The modern teen is inundated with pressure to become power consumers, not wealth builders, as social media apps and browsers feature the impulse purchase. To counter this pressure, below are three of the “wealthy habits” Hall teaches students:
Take ownership of your decisions. Do you spend everything you earn? Develop and honor a budget that includes saving and giving to causes that nurture the spirit. Pursue income by being of service to others in positive ways. When you own your decisions, then you are empowered. Examples of making financial decisions might include:
- When offered insurance for a new appliance or device, choose not to purchase the insurance, and set up an account called “Insurance” and save the money yourself. That way you keep the money and have it if you need it.
- If you really love a product (like Apple, Nike shoes or Coke), consider purchasing the stock. If you find a popular product with stock that pays dividends that is a real winner.
- If you are a business owner, put your taxes owed into an interest earning account.
Pay Attention. There is no such thing as a stupid question, and when it comes to money you must consider asking any question no matter how silly it seems. “The quality of your questions will directly influence the quality of your life decisions,” Hall said, “The more knowledge and education you have will influence the quality of your questions. It is a matter of life-long learning, which is a habit.” Like interest earned in the bank, education compounds over time. The more you learn, the more you know; the more you know, the more you learn. Pay attention and ask questions about financial trends, your decisions and how these trends along with your own decisions impact your pocket book.
Take action – Analyze your Habits. Find a spending tracker app and use it. It is important to monitor yourself in this way, because habits form unconsciously too. Evaluate what you spend and then ask yourself : “Is it meeting a need or a want? Are my wants breaking the bank?” When you are aware of your spending, then you can consciously make decisions about honoring your own personal budget.
When our children can begin their life with the confidence of knowing that economic cycles will happen, and that they have the capability to develop a strategy and plan to help them be well in moments of financial hype and collapse, there can be financial peace in their future. The sooner we encourage them to think about their personal finance with “wealthy habits”, the better prepared they will be to take charge of money, rather than allowing money issues to stress relationships and health. “The number one reason for divorce is money,” Hall said. “In order to have a meeting of minds about money, you must have your own strategy and game plan so you can have conversations to form a united front about spending and saving.”
Register your teen for a financial literacy workshop here.