In earlier times, the messenger delivered bad news! Don’t blame the person who tells you bad news. Too often, the person delivering bad news is blamed for the news. For many years, I was the messenger! I was the Chief Financial Officer who said profit margins were decreasing or some other performance indicator. As a personal finance blogger, is it my fault you make bad choices?
I am just the messenger! April was National Financial Literacy Month and I am advocating financial literacy. I even teach a personal finance class in high school in addition to my personal financial blog. A Harvard Business School study found personal finance courses in high school “have no effect on financial outcomes.” If the students are just memorizing facts, it is not changing behavior. My class uses a curriculum that engages students through activities, games and projects.
It takes a village
It doesn’t stop there! I try to engage the parents by assigning a project to help the parents around holiday shopping. In order to change behavior, you have to change everyone’s paradigm. I need support after the class ends to continue the change in behavior. My personal finance blog may be additional support for change. Trying to change adult behavior is much harder, but worthwhile. It takes twenty-one consecutive days to either make or break a habit. The benefit of change is a better outcome!
Don’t think of me as just the messenger! I use these skills and I have achieved a great outcome. Make personal finance a game. If you can integrate money into your daily life, you are more apt to make a permanent change. I do most of my shopping online. I use a few shopping bots to find the lowest price. It is a game for me. If I cannot get enough of a discount, I do not buy. Ask your children to do the research online. They are online anyway and enjoy the process. Make it a game of who can save the most!
I remember a boss I had gave me a challenge of getting a piece of equipment below a certain price. I love challenges and beat the target by ten (10%) percent! You could use the help and the more people you involve in the change, the better the outcome. When you are trying to reduce expenses, you need everyone onboard. If one person in the family is trying to make a change in behavior, you need support from the rest of the family. If you do not get it, you will not succeed!
Children are using their Smartphone for entertainment and games. Why not use them to help the family become more successful with their personal finances? There are many apps that support tracking expenses, comparison shopping, coupon codes, monitoring bank accounts, investments and much more. Learn and teach your children to use these applications too. You can reward better behavior and reinforce good habits. Next time your children want something, say yes if they can find it for 25% off!
Teach your children how to shop better. If you do not know, find out and practice with them. Children are great observers, but involving them in the process will change their behavior. The more practice they get, it is more likely that they will incorporate that habit into their lives permanently. Change is difficult, but you can do it! I know I am only the messenger, but this makes change easier. The internet provides so much information that we normally do not use it. It is time to make changes!
I know children get a Smartphone to communicate with friends, use social media and just amuse themselves, but they can also monitor their savings accounts, investments, shop smarter and play games. Yes, a Smartphone can be a learning device as well as a communication device. It is a good idea for parents to help their children learn about money and adults should too. I think it is something parents and children can find in common and it is time to open up this line of communication.
I am not just the messenger, but I am also a user of these applications. Saving money or managing your money is not a hobby. It is an important habit everyone needs to learn. If you start your children with a small savings account, have them buy a couple shares of stock and learn how to shop more effectively. It is a good start on financial literacy. Credit and debt Is a large part of life and they need to use it wisely. Learning to live within their means is another important lesson.
It takes a whole village to raise a child! If the entire family wants to change a behavior, it will take everyone to support it. Personal finance is an important behavior to change. Start with the outcome and develop habits to support it. If you were trying to eat healthy, you would need everyone in the family to support that change. Money is no different! Don’t shoot the messenger, but the message is change your personal finance habits and use your support system to help.
Photo by: Flickr
Carnival of MoneyPros hosted by Money Infographics
Finance Carnival For Young Adults hosted by Save and Conquer
Lifestyle Carnival hosted by Make Money Your Way
Carnival of Financial Planning hosted by The Smaller Dollar
Carnival of Money hosted by Carnival of Money
Don’t shoot the messenger!