7 Money Camps that Ensure a Child’s Safe Financial Future

In today’s educational system, is it now required in 80% of states to have some sort of financial education. Paul Sullivan of the New York Times states, “A study published in 2009 by two researchers at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, called “Teachers’ Background and Capacity to Teach Personal Finance,” found… that most teachers did not feel qualified to teach a financial literacy course.” When we are entrusting the entirety of our children’s financial literacy to teachers who do not know how to teach about finances, it is important to take matters into our own hands. Knowing how to manage our own finances is absolutely vital to a stable and healthy life. This starts to show when people do not handle their finances well, and they get themselves into debt without any investments to help support them.

Sullivan goes on to share the importance of financial literacy for children so that they can deal with financial issues as they grow. Some say that going to financial camps as children do not stick well enough in children’s minds, but Lewis Mandell says differently:

“Lewis Mandell, a professor of finance and dean emeritus at the State University of New York, Buffalo, who has done research on financial literacy for children, said,… ‘The literature shows that kids may not remember [teachings about what happens when you practice poor financial skills], but when they become adults and get to practice a range of financial activities, it comes back.’”

If it is true that the memories of financial camp do come back, then that means children who go to these camps will be that much more likely to handle their finances in an informed and educated manner.

Most money camps aim to integrate children from all socioeconomic backgrounds to deal with financial issues that they may or may not have in their own lives. Some children are given anywhere from $30,000 – $120,000 to manage per year. This starts to show them that having or not having money can be a difference of stability or no stability as they grow up. Not all money camps are like this, however. Some are invite-only. Here is a list of money camps one can check out for their children this summer, which are the following:

  1. Camp Start-Up
  2. Camp Millionaire
  3. Moolah U
  4. My Life, My Money
  5. Wall Street Summer Camp
  6. Young American’s Center for Financial Education
  7. Invite-Only Camps

There are camps that are invite only. These camps are created for the children of millionaires by companies such as Merrill Lynch, Citi Bank, and HSBC. There is a rich camp held at The Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania for $10,000.00. They are sometimes, “offered as a free service or marketing tool for big clients. The price of admission: to qualify, families must hold investable assets between $25 million and $100 million.” These camps are secretive, as they do not want to divulge who has what amount of money to the public.

No matter which camp we send our children to, there is something fun and exciting at each of them. There are ways for children to work in a certain “industry” for the week that is interesting to them, while others enjoy the games they get to play, while at the camp. Regardless, financial camps can be absolutely essential for children as they grow up and learn to make, spend, and invest their own money.

9 Solutions to Crippling Personal Finance Issues

There are endless financial troubles people face when deciding how to allocate their money. Knowing what these problems are will allow you to put them under a light, so to speak, and see exactly what they are and how they work. Once you realize what your problems are, you can start to seek specific and powerful solutions. Below, find some truly crippling financial problems people face daily and how you can go about solving them.

1. Living Paycheck to Paycheck
The statistics are staggering. According to Angela Johnson of CNN Money, “Roughly three-quarters, [or 76%,] of Americans are living paycheck-to-paycheck, with little to no emergency savings,” for things such as job losses or medical emergencies. These types of negative situations can be avoided with some basic financial management tools, such as budgeting and investing, which I will speak more on later.

2. Having Too Much Debt
Erika Rawes from USA Today states, “The average household’s credit card debt exceeds $7,000, according to Nerd Wallet.” With ever increasing, compounding interest rates, people can be crippled by credit card debt. For people with any credit card debt, it is important to live by this rule, “Do not spend money that you do not have.”

3. Having No Budget to Work Off Of
Budgeting can be overwhelming for people, as it takes a lot of time and thought to create a successful one. Oftentimes, people have no idea how to begin a budget or know what resources to use. Take a look at these budgeting softwares or these apps for you smartphone.

4. Poorly Investing and Overspending
People have a difficult time living according to a budget. When using a credit or debit card, it is easier to overspend than when you are using cold hard cash. This doesn’t mean that we can only use cash to make purchases; however, even when people create a budget to live by, they still have a difficult time following through. It is important to get the assistance of someone you can trust to help you make purchasing and investing choices moving forward if changing your habits is not your strong suit.

5. Focusing Too Heavily on the Present
Rawes further states that “According to a Federal Reserve survey release from earlier this year, ‘Thirty-one percent of non-retired respondents reported having no retirement savings or pension, including 19% of those ages 55 to 64,’” and 40% said not saving was their most monumental financial issue. About 25% of those same people from that Federal Reserve survey stated that they have not started thinking about saving for their retirement whatsoever.

Focusing on the present is imperative for getting things done, but it is vital to focus on the future in order to plan for proper action. Creating a budget that allows for you to not only spend but save will allow you to start saving for your retirement. I also recommend making some investments that can help earn you more money as the years go by so that you can have even more money than you earned originally set aside for your retirement. Find out more information here on that topic.

6. Families/Partners Don’t Discuss Income and Expenses
When only one person in a family/partnership knows where the money goes and comes from, it can be difficult to keep to a budget. When expectations are not set by facts, one can lack the knowledge necessary to make financially safe purchases and investments. Having a monthly or even bi-weekly meeting about all profits and losses within a family unit or partnership can keep everyone from making poor financial choices.

7. Emergencies Aren’t Planned For
If someone who earns any money for the home suddenly goes on disability or passes, this can very heavily impact the stability and financial safety of a home. It is important to go over life insurance and disability resources you have at the company you work for before emergencies happen.

8. Children Aren’t Trained to Understand Finances
A child’s ability to learn is like a sponge soaking up water. It is important to teach children early on how to manage money. There are piggy banks that split the jar into four categories of money management. These can help children to learn basic financial wisdom at a young age.

9. Poorly Used Benefits
Oftentimes, companies have an array of different benefits available for employees. These can include things such as commuter financial assistance, free books and lectures, and free tickets to certain entertainment venues. All one has to do in order to take advantage of and find these great benefits is to review what you believe you have in benefits with your Human Resource Director. Ask any and all questions that you have. That is what they are there for!

What financial issues do you face? What solutions have proven helpful for you? Tweet me @EricaHill_KW with your thoughts and questions!

Track Your Spending with These Apps

Personal finance is difficult to keep track of, especially for people who are constantly busy. When you’re always running around, the small things you spend money on tend to add up. Even though an individual expense may seem inconsequential at any given time, it is most beneficial to keep track of all such expenses so you can plan your budget accordingly each month. Thankfully, there are many personal finance phone applications to help you keep track of everything you put your money toward. Below are three that I have found to be most useful.

Dollarbird

This app integrates all of the expenses you record into a calendar so you know exactly when you spent what. Not only does it keep track of when you spend your money, but it also calculates directly the impact on your checking balance. However, it does not link to your bank accounts, so it is best to check bank accounts regularly as well for any discrepancies.

Goodbudget

This is an app whose sole purpose is to help you budget. Remember the times when people kept envelopes of all their spending in specific categories? This is just that, except in digital form. You can create categories and set a budget for each. Whenever you make a purchase, just mark it in its designated category, and be sure to stop spending money when said category runs out.

Penny

Penny has labeled itself as a personal finance coach for good reason. It is an app that links to your bank accounts and sends you personalized text messages based on your balance often. Not only will it inform you how much is in your balance, it will also provide you with charts and graphics that can help you see your spending habits visually.

For more information on apps that help you track your daily spending, check out this Forbes article.

Visa Launches Financial Literacy Initiative for Olympians – and More?

My previous posts on this blog have focused on the importance of teaching children about money management from a very young age (three years old, to be exact – find out why here). Something I haven’t really touched on yet, though, is the fact that most adults, both here in the US and around the world, have never received a financial education like the one I’ve outlined, and are thus financially illiterate themselves. For proof, just look at the US subprime mortgage crisis, which likely would not have happened if more people had known how to manage their money responsibly, or how to determine if a potential investment had integrity before they signed their life savings away on the dotted line.

Erica Hill Keller Williams

Does a new Visa initiative represent the start of a global push to increase financial literacy? Only time will tell – but we can hope so.

The National Financial Educators Council (NFEC), an important organization that I’ve mentioned before on this website, has created a National Financial Literacy Test to find out just how financially illiterate each generation of Americans is in 2016. The test was originally designed for 15-18 year olds, but it has been administered to US residents of all ages, and quite frankly, the results are troubling, to say the least. This is mostly because the data shows no marked difference between the financial literacy of older Americans and that of our school-aged children, which shows that we are still not making enough of a concerted effort to teach our children about finance. We can see this quite clearly when we compare the average test scores of 10-14 year olds with the average scores of 25- 35 year olds, 36-50 year olds, and 50+ year olds. The average 10-14 year old scores a 54% on the NFEC Financial Literacy test; this is unsurprising, though disheartening, because this age demographic has yet to worry about their own personal finances the way they will when they get a few years older. Still, the average 25-35 year old only scores a 72% on the test, less than twenty percentage points higher than their younger counterparts – and the results aren’t much better in older Americans. Amongst 36-50 year olds, the average score is 73%, and in 50+ year olds, who perform the best on the test of any age group, the average score is still only a 77%. I’ll remind you again that this test was created for 15-18 year olds – scary, isn’t it?

This is why I was so excited to hear about Visa’s new Global Financial Education Initiative for Olympic athletes, which they’re debuting at this year’s Olympic Games in Rio. According to an August 4th press release, “The new program, Practical Money Skills for Athletes, will utilize Visa’s award-winning financial education program and curriculum focused on key personal finance topics including financial planning and decision making, goal-setting, budgeting and saving, understanding banking services, and basic money management. Financial education workshops for athletes will initially be available in English, French, Portuguese, and Simplified Chinese, and will feature presentations, skill-building activities and multi-media components.” What great news – and what a great idea for a program!

I can already think of so many different and valuable ways that an initiative like this one could be expanded on and adapted to teach people of all ages how to manage their money. I hope that this Visa program represents the start of a global push for financial literacy – but in the meantime, not to fear: I’ll still be here, posting about different ways that you can take your financial education (and that of your children) into your own hands.

How to Start Teaching Your Toddler About Money Management

In my most recent blog post, I wrote about how much I love the curriculum that the National Financial Educators Council (NFEC) has developed for teaching money management skills to children. After researching this topic even more, I was inspired to create a new video series about strategies for teaching financial skills to kids, starting with toddlers – so without further adieu, here is the first installment of my new series: How to Start Teaching Your Toddler About Money Management. Please feel free to share it with anyone who may benefit from this knowledge, and stay tuned for more installations to come!

 

Use This Organization’s Tools to Teach Your Children About Money

In my last post, I spoke about the importance of early financial education. I recently learned of a terrific organization, the National Financial Educators Council (NFEC), that focuses entirely on this topic. Here’s their mission statement: “The National Financial Educators Council (NFEC) is creating a world where people are informed to make qualified financial decisions that improve their lives. We provide financial education resources, promote advocacy campaigns, and help organizations build sustainable financial education programs.” I have to tell you, just reading those words gives me hope for the financial future of our children – and here’s why.

Erica Hill

Teaching your children money management skills early on will make them fiscally responsible adults.

In focusing on creating a standardized financial curriculum, NFEC is addressing a real and dangerous problem in our country: the absence of anything even closely resembling a financial education in our schools. Quite frankly, it’s unacceptable that we are still prioritizing esoteric and unnecessary knowledge, like micro-details of the average Bronze Age Mesopotamian’s diet, over important, real-life knowledge, like how to avoid accruing debt, how to write a resume, and how to create and follow a budget.

People wonder how the Financial Crisis of 2008 could have happened. To me, it’s quite obvious that this stock market crash was a direct result of the fact that most Americans knew next-to-nothing about how to responsibly manage their finances, or why it would be a terrible idea to do things like take out four mortgages on one house. If we want to prevent another financial crisis caused by the same national Achilles’ heel from happening, it is imperative that we start teaching our children the skills they’ll need to become fiscally responsible adults as early as possible. Based on my fervency about this subject, you can imagine how pleased I was to learn that NFEC’s curriculum starts at the pre-school level, when the organization advises that children should be taught basic concepts of numbers, time, money and income, value, market and exchange, choice, and social values.

If you’d like to learn more about the NFEC’s advised curriculum or the opportunities they provide for guided financial education, head over to their website at financialeducatorscouncil.org. Your children will thank you for it one day. 

The Strong Case for Early Financial Education

As any parent of a school-aged child can attest to, one topic that is conspicuously absent from most school curriculums is personal finance. Despite the fact that understanding one’s financial responsibilities is a basic life skill, for some reason, it is not only a topic that is rarely covered in the classroom, but it is one that is barely discussed at all until adulthood, by which time it is often too late to instill smart habits for money management without the added stress of having to apply these lessons in real time to real bills that are mounting by the day.

I am a strong proponent of the belief that we should start to educate our children about finances as early as possible, thereby demystifying the world of money management and imparting valuable advice that will stay with them for the rest of their lives. All too often, though, the process of getting the ball rolling on a financial education is so daunting that parents don’t know where to start. When we talk about a financial education and developing financial literacy, then, it helps to break the topic down into 4 areas of knowledge:

Erica Hill Real Estate

Teach financial literacy by turning money management into a game.

  1. How a person makes money
  2. How to manage the money you’ve made
  3. How to invest your money to turn it into even more money, and  
  4. How to donate your money.

Each of these topics opens a dialogue about much broader issues that children should be exposed to early on. For example, if you’re teaching your child how a person makes money, you can introduce her to the topic of work salaries and how her paychecks will be taxed before she receives them. When it comes to imparting wisdom about how to manage the money you’ve made, you can use this opportunity to teach your child about the importance of saving, how to financially plan ahead for her future and why and how to avoid the trap of falling into credit card debt. And while investing is often considered to be the purview of the rich, this is not only misguided, but also causes millions of people to lose out on potential income every year. We can correct this perception by teaching our children about investing in the form of a game, which will both demystify the process of investing and make it an appealing prospect to children from all socio-economic stratas. Finally, with financial education, we have the power to raise future generations who will view donating to charity not as a luxury, but as a mandatory component of money management, thereby creating a world in which charities and nonprofits have a much larger pool of funds to pull from to do good.

The fact of the matter is, only time will tell if these important lessons are incorporated into school curriculums. Until that day comes, it is our responsibility as parents to teach our children about finance in the home if we want to re-shape the way we as a society understand how to manage our money and put a stop to the financial ignorance that is causing so much of the world’s economic problems today.