Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Wants and Needs

There are so many things I want for my boys. I pray they love the Lord above all else. I want them to be kind. I want them to serve others. Gratitude is a hard thing to instill, but we will keep teaching it until it sinks in. ..For ALL of us. Bottom line, I don't want them to have a spirit of entitlement. I want them to KNOW there are people whose needs far outweigh their wants.

You might have heard of a man named Dave Ramsey who has a radio program and a debt reduction program called Financial Peace. Even if you didn't know his name, I'd be willing to bet you have seen or heard his principles in action. Examples? People pulling out envelopes to pay for things rather than their wallets. Friends or family cutting up their credit cards or freezing them in a glass of water. Families creating budgets and operating only with cash. I do not profess to know all there is to know of Ramsey, but one piece I do know about is Financial Peace Jr. Pull up a chair...you'll be hooked.

Imagine this....teaching your kids at an early age that money they earn isn't just theirs to spend at Target on whatever they want. WHAT?? Is that just crazy talk? I don't think so. Our job as parents is not just to keep our children happy. We're raising a future grown-up who will face choices and consequences related to money. If we give our children a financial foundation and arm them with this knowlege now, they will be less likely to make those costly mistakes in the future. Do you know how many of our generation are contemplating walking away from their credit card debt and leaving that burden for the next generation to shoulder?

Financial Peace Jr. is the power of Financial Peace University tailored for children ages 3-12. It is a hands-on way to teach children the value of earning money. The kit we received came with a boxed set of books, envelopes for spending, saving and giving and wipe-off charts for goal setting and responsibilites (he uses the term 'commissions' instead of 'chores'). The books feature a character name Junior as he learns about working and saving; giving and spending. Love the logic...LOVE the program!

We began by identifying responsiblities for them to earn their commissions (taking out trash, dishes to the sink, feeding the dog, etc). Then we assigned a dollar amount to each and paid out commissions on Sundays. Sometimes they received their entire amount, others only a portion. But each time money was given, they divided the money into the three envelopes. We have since moved from envelopes to the Learning Cents Bank. The running joke was that I could sell these banks better than anyone at Learning Express. What can I say....it makes sense to me and I had to share! I really like the visual of the clear bank and the icons that label each section.

One of the harder things to teach is the difference between their 'save' and their 'spend'. To make it simple, their 'spend' is for little stuff and their 'save' is for bigger items that they are setting a goal to reach. Eventually they will come to an age when the 'save' will be for their portion of a car. The awesome thing is....no arguing. If the money isn't there, it just isn't there. How many of us would like to rewind and learn that before we filled out that first credit card application in college. Was that free t-shirt or coozie worth it? I'm just sayin'.....

I wish I had some snappy humor to make this more interesting, but I just love the program and feel it can stand alone. Don't just take my word for it. Log onto their site or visit a Lifeway Christian Bookstore to flip through the materials. I'll be suprised if you aren't impressed.


Christy@pipandsqueak said...

My husband listens to Dave Ramsey almost every day and loves him. We took Crown Financial classes at our church and they are similar. In fact, this month we thought we would experiment by using only cash for purposes to see if we do spend less than when we use credit (and pay it off every month).

Our daughter will be 3 in February so I will have to check out Financial Peace Jr. Do you think that a 3 year old would be ready for it? I am looking forward to teaching our kids about money. That is one thing that my parents did right!

Laurie M said...

Hi Christy-

I think the ideal age to begin is 5, but perhaps the books about Junior would be a good place to start with her.

I like using cash as well because it holds me accountable more than a debit card or checking account. And I seemed to really evaluate what I spend better...no crazy food urges at the grocery store!