WRITTEN BY SAM X RENICK
(A.K.A. SAM, SAM, THE MONYEY MAN):
to Set Kids Up For Success! ©
By Sam X Renick
If you want to set your kids up for success, encourage them to budget.
Say what? As my father shared with me repeatedly, “Sam, nothing
matters to me less than whether or not other parents are encouraging
their kids to learn about money. All I am concerned about is doing
everything in my power to help ensure the success of you, your brothers
and your sister.”
Making a habit of budgeting money (and time) is a great idea because
both are resources that are generally limited. As my father realized,
it is prudent to carefully manage resources that are limited. Furthermore,
it is wise to emulate winning strategies.
A budget is a success tool. It is also a money plan and a measuring
tool. Ideally, it tells us where our money is coming from and when
it is coming in. It also tells us where our money is going and when.
Corporations use budgets. So do governments. And so do individuals
who are serious about success. In fact, they all insist on using them.
Budgets are a part of a structure for success. Budgets help us achieve
goals and dreams by informing us at any moment in time whether our
chosen earning and allocation actions are moving us closer or further
from our goals and dreams. Budgets also aid in anticipating, avoiding
and eliminating problems and inefficiencies.
Budgets offer other benefits: (1) they encourage and focus thinking;
(2) they give purpose to actions; and (3) they create organization
Budgeting is fun when we realize it helps us create and engineer success.
Budgeting is fun when we realize it puts us in the driver’s
seat and creates control. And budgeting is really fun when we achieve
a goal or a dream and gain confidence that we can duplicate that success.
The ability of everyone - regardless of income – to use a budget
makes it a fantastic tool. Anyone who likes to win and is willing
to pay the price to win can create a budget. All anyone needs to develop
his or her budget is a pencil, paper and a desire to get what they
want. Because most people do not use budgets, those who do create
an advantage for themselves.
If the term budget turns your stomach, then think game plan, strategy,
list or journal.
How do we teach kids to budget? (1) The absolute best way to encourage
kids to budget is to budget yourself. There is no getting around it.
Setting a strong example is an incalculable gift to children and speaks
volumes about what we truly believe (as opposed to what we say). (2)
Start with small steps. Begin by encouraging your children to develop
either a daily or a weekly budget or spending journal. Using pencil
and paper, an excel spreadsheet or specialized software have your
kids list their sources of income and anticipated expenditures. (3)
Review and discuss their entries with them. Be sure their expense
entries include saving, investing, sharing and any specific goals
they have in addition to regular expenses. Ideally, saving, investing,
sharing and other personal goals should be at the top of their respective
lists. This will help reinforce that these activities are priorities.
(4) At the end of the day or week have your kids list their “actual”
income and expenditures. Compare and discuss the differences with
them. (5) Repeat the process.
Like adults, kids love games and incentives. So periodically, consider
giving your kids special rewards or matching bonuses for exceptional
performance. The idea here is not to be overly rigid or stress perfection,
but to introduce kids to a tool that will set them up for success.
Sam X Renick is the author of two financial books for children:
It’s a Habit, Sammy Rabbit! and Will Sammy Ride the World’s
First Space Coaster?; he also produced the music CD titled Get in
the Habit!; and is the founder of The It’s a Habit! Company,
Inc., a socially conscious corporation dedicated to providing parents
and educators with wholesome, entertaining and educational tools that
help them encourage children to develop good habits, especially saving
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