Like so many people, I spent part of my Thanksgiving weekend on an interstate highway. In this case I-75 in Florida. I'm a car guy, so spending some time on the highway is usually enjoyable. Especially when we can take the Solara convertible instead of the mini-van!
A few miles into the trip I noticed an advisory sign.
About half an hour later I saw it again. But this time the light was flashing! So wondering if there was a wreck up ahead I played with the radio until I was found the advisory. I was surprised that their urgent message was that parents should make sure that their kids were buckled securely. My first thought was that they encouraged me to take my eyes off the road to tune the radio for something that didn't really seem that urgent. Unlike when I grew up, parents don't let kids bounce around in the back of station wagons any more. Everyone knows that you need to buckle up your kids.
But as the miles wore on I had some time to think about it. If just one child could be helped then the message really was urgent. Perhaps not to me, but to that family. And that makes it worthwhile.
And, as I sometimes do, I started thinking about how the topic relates to our personal finances. What flashing lights do we have warning us about urgent financial messages for our kids?
One that occurred to me was the amount of student loan debt outstanding. As a society we currently owe more on student debt loans than we owe the credit card companies! Hard to believe, but true.
I don't know how we'll unravel the student loan problem, but I do know that if we don't teach our kids more about money we're setting them up for trouble when they're adults.
That's why I was pleased to learn about and then become an ambassador for KidWorth.com. The idea behind Kidworth is to get both parents and kids involved in personal finance. The way they do it is fascinating. Kids (with the help of their parents) select financial goals for themselves. Anything from saving for a skateboard or a videogame to accumulating a college fund or a birthday gift for a friend.
Between allowances and gifts, kids control a surprising amount of money before they're grown up. Allowances, gifts from Grandma and Grandpa, and earned money all add up. Instead of wasting the money, they can experience getting closer to their goals. And, as any financial planner will tell you, setting goals and seeing them achieved is a great motivator.
With the holidays coming up many of our kids will be getting money gifts. What better time to begin the process of helping your children learn the important skill of money management?
Take some time to check out their site (www.Kidworth.com) or their FaceBook page (Facebook.com/Kidworth). You'll teach your children many things before they grow up. Don't miss the urgent flashing lights reminding you to teach them about money.
Keep on Stretching those Dollars!