How To Talk To Your Tween About Money

Teaching financial literacy has been my passion. Over the years I’ve had an opportunity to speak to parents who want to know how to talk to their children about money and want tips to help them become more independent before they go off into the real world.

For many parents it seems like just yesterday that your children were on their way to kindergarten, but now that they’re in middle school things seem to be happening way too fast. Tweens seem to go from having play dates to group movie dates right in front of your eyes.

And they’re fashion conscious and brand sensitive far earlier than we ever were. This is all the more reason for us to help them get a financial grip on money and the need for saving by talking to them early and often about ways to save and spend money responsibly.

Here are a few things you can do to get your tween ready for the day when you’ll need to cut the strings and watch them spread their well-prepared financial wings.

Giving your tween an allowance is a great money move. It will help you as a parent reign in their budget-busting requests while teaching them the value of a dollar and saving for the things they really just “must” have.

In her book, “Kids and Money: Giving Them the Savvy to Succeed Financially,” author Jayne A. Pearl says this about giving your children a fixed spending budget. “Allowance is an effective way to start transmitting to your kids financial literacy, values, and decision-making skills.”

When tweens have access to money they can better understand the meaning of it and the proper ways to use it. Trying to help them understand the basics of money management using something that they have earned and saved for is powerful. Often that new “thing” they just had to have when you were paying for it becomes less important to them when they come to realize that it will greatly reduce the amount of money they will have left.

If your family doesn’t embrace the allowance concept but still wants to help your children have first-hand experience with money management, another way to teach tweens about money is through interactive learning experiences and board games such as:

Monopoly Jr.
The Allowance Game and
Cashflow for Kids

These are all wonderful ways to teach lasting lessons in an entertaining way. Not only will these games help your child strengthen their math and problem solving abilities, they’ll also understand basic money concepts.

Finally, encourage your children to save with a purpose and if possible offer to add a small percentage to whatever they have saved. This teaches the lesson of compound interest and how money grows if left untouched.

The next time your child wants a new bike, skateboard or series of Karate lessons use it as a chance to challenge their desire for what they want by having them save for it. As an extra incentive agree to match their savings dollar for dollar up to a set amount or a specific period of time.

The benefit of this to you is that your child will develop discipline and a habit of not spending every dime they get their hands on. Plus, when you make the goal one that’s reachable even if they fall short, you can assist them so they will be encouraged to try again next time.

The biggest thing to remember is to encourage their new saving habits and find ways to support them so they’ll actually think of it as something fun. Once that happens you’ve created a situation that will develop a positive attitude toward saving for a lifetime!

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Managing Money For Your Future

If you are stuck in student loan debt then you can consider a student debt consolidation loan to help you to put all your federal student loans into one more manageable loan. This also means that you only have one monthly payment which will help you with your finance situation and when managing money. This consolidation option can many times be much lower than the standard 10-year repayment system. There are two main programs that you can use to try to consolidate debt. The Federal Family Education Loan FFEL will provide loans from banks, secondary markets, and other lenders. The William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan will provide loans directly from the federal government. If you are a student with debt than one of these personal loan options is something worth checking out.

There are many types of education loans that you can consolidate in a student loan such as Direct and FFEL loans, SLS, Federal Nursing Loans, Federal Perkins Loans, and Health Education Assistance Loans. Unfortunately, private education loans cannot be consolidated with the rest of your loans.

If you want to make sure that your loans are eligible for student debt consolidation then you want to contact the Direct Loan Organization Center’s Consolidation Department. You may also want to contact a FFEL lender that is the type of loan that you are looking to consolidate.

You should know that even if you are no longer in school or if you have lowered your enrollment level to below half time student than you can still get a debt consolidation loan. If you want to consolidate your loans and they are all FFEL loans then you should get the consolidation loan from that same holder. You should make sure the repayment terms are good for you before you sign anything. IF you want a William D. Ford consolidation loan you should have a Stafford loan or you can have a FFEL loan to be eligible for this kind of consolidation.

If you have unsecured debt than you can get help from debt relief specialists. There are many settlement specialists and helpful representatives to help you with all your questions regarding debt consolidation. You can get the help you need, but make sure that it works in your favor and not in the favor of the creditors. Find a good company to help you with the debt negotiation process and make sure you use only trusted professionals. There are many different unsecured debt consolidation programs so make sure you find the best one for you and your family.

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Watching Over Money

You open it, close it, and reopen it at least twice a day. One of your most important storage devices, your wallet, has evolved over the years to an important financial tool and a personal journal. Storing receipts, bills, paper money, coins, credit or debit cards, your driver’s license and even your local supermarket membership card, your wallet is perhaps the most important piece in your pocket or purse.

But keeping score of your week’s spending and managing to stay under your budget’s limit, is something that needs more precise effort than frequently checking the amount of cash you have left inside your wallet’s compartments. Special tools, such as software applications, most of them stored in the memory of an electronic device like a personal computer or a blackberry, are extensively used for similar purposes since they assist contemporary busy individuals handle their finances, apart from their daily schedules. But these types of technologies cannot work without the necessary feedback from their user, meaning that the data needed to configure the spending limits of a person have to be entered into the system-or software program-from the individual himself or online through their choice of financial institution -if the necessary permission is given and the application allows such information to be stored automatically into the system.

If you think of it, is like an invisible hand opens and closes your own wallet, but not with an intention to harm your finances. On the contrary, the issue here is to protect your saving and increase your investments’ profit margins. So, it is like having a virtual friend, who acts according to your rules and takes care of your own pockets. Some applications have preinstalled features, like alarms, which are used by people to control as much as possible their spending patterns and allow them to feel free to spend up until a certain limit; how ironic does this actually sound. Yet, the ones who feel comfortable using such machines and program applications are mostly interested in keeping their finances organized and their future plans under control. It is not a matter of choice to them, as much as it is a necessity.

Whichever your personal view on this subject is, you should be aware that these systems and applications exist, in order to be able to decide on your own whether or not you want to give them a try. Especially if you think that people will indeed someday stop worrying about loosing or someone stealing their wallets, then you should begin examining the horrifying scenario that one has now to worry in case he or she forgets a code, looses a password, or finds out that his identity has been stolen.

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Making More Money On Your Money

Low interest rates at the bank have you annoyed? Well, they should. Receiving less than 3 percent interest on your money is not only unnecessary but it is also keeping you from staying ahead of inflation. Your local bank isn’t the only option for building wealth nor should you have to settle for below market interest rates. Read on and we’ll examine some high yielding, low risk investment strategies for you.

Online Banks Online banks are one way where you can get more for you money, literally. Banks such as ING Direct, HSBC Direct, Emigrant Direct, and NetBank pay higher than average rates on simple savings accounts and CDs. Rates of 4.5% or higher are not uncommon clearly ahead of the rate of inflation which many have said is running at just over 3%.

Offshore Banks No, you won’t have you money backed by the federal government and yes you really must be careful who you decide to bank with. The Cayman Islands and Switzerland have been two popular places where consumers can stash their cash and receive a rate of return higher than most banks around the world. If you are looking for a risk free investment this is as close to it as it gets. When investing overseas political stability is key; make certain that you fully understand what the local political climate is and your rights as a foreign consumer.

Bonds and Notes From time to time US saving bonds are a good deal, but right now isn’t one of those times. Still, when interest rates are pegged higher than the yield on U.S. Treasury savings bonds can be attractive. Consider regular bonds and notes if the low yield rate isn’t something that you can live with [or on].

Credit Unions Not too often considered are credit unions which are owned by its members. Rates with some credit unions are higher than the average bank making them an attractive option for some. You may have to qualify to become a member so check with your desired credit union to find out what the requirements are.

Some commercial banks are fighting back by offering special rates to attract and retain customers. These consumer wise institutions know that if they don’t offer a deal to you, the consumer, then their competition will. The result is that they keep you as a customer and you make more money on your savings. A win-win situation for all!

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Make Extra Money Without Working Another Job

You don’t need to take on a second job in order to make some extra cash. In fact, you don’t have to even leave the house in some cases. Who couldn’t use a little extra money to pay for things that you really need? Read on and we’ll explore some nifty money earning methods that can help you gain better control over your time and your budget.

Go Consignment: Gently used clothing, books, household items and the like can be sold on consignment. Find a local consignment shop that has a great reputation and take your goods over to them. Policies vary, but you’ll earn as much as 60% of the selling price on your goods, with the remaining funds going to the shop.

Hold a Garage or Yard Sale: How is it that some of your neighbors can hold monthly garage or yard sales? Who has that much stuff to sell? Well, some people make money selling used goods from their homes as they buy and resell items they accumulate through other sales. You don’t have to be that aggressive, but chances are you can come up with enough excess stuff once a year to hold a sale. Price everything right and have a decent selection of items and you should clean up $150, $200, or more with every sale.

Take Surveys: Your local mall is a great place to earn quick cash. Survey companies rent space at the mall to conduct to consumer surveys with mall shoppers. In many cases you can simply walk into the office and ask if they are conducting a survey which you are eligible to participate in. Chances are they are, if not you can give them your contact information and have them call you for the next survey. Earn anywhere from a few dollars up to $50 for your time and effort. Some surveys can be completed online; however, beware of the many scam offers on the internet!

Teach a Class: You don’t need a college degree to teach a craft or to give voice lessons. Your local adult or community school is always looking for capable and qualified individuals to fill staff positions. Even if a class in your subject area isn’t currently being taught, submit a curriculum proposal to the administration for their consideration. Most classes are taught once per week with very little preparation time required on your part.

With a little thinking and a lot of ingenuity on your part, you can realize a little bit of extra income without a whole lot of hassles!

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