Educating the Wheelers

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Chronicling the Experience of Educating our Children and Managing our Family

Monday, January 23, 2006

Financial Education

My parents never talked to us about money when we were growing up. In fact, the only thing I can recall is that when we got our checking accounts in out teens, they would be on the lookout for the telltale "overdraw" notices from the bank in the mail, and laugh at us when they inevitably came. Responsibility by humiliation, I guess. Heh.

I started college at 16 and remember vividly my prof in my College Algebra course walking in one day and announcing that we would spend the day talking about compound interest, because he wished that someone had explained it to him at our age. It left a powerful impact on me -- one of the few lectures I remember vividly from that year. [I also recall my philosphy professor exclaiming "God is dead!" re: Nietzsche and getting mad that no one was riled up. Hey, lady, we're 3.5 hours into a Monday 6-10 evening class. You're going to have to do better than that...]

Of course, I didn't immediately apply those lessons to my life, because I was an idiot. But he was the first one to get the seed planted.

Andrew and I will be homeschooling our children, and I spend a lot of time thinking about how to start talking to them about money earlier on. Some things are obvious -- raise them in a frugal environment! But then there is the issue of allowance and deciding how much to let them know about the family finances. As I mentioned above, my own family kept all of that opaque and I didn't know anything about anything until, well, my 20s after I'd been on my own for awhile and made huge financial mistakes. I honor my parents' decision on that matter, but I don't think I want to go down that route with my own kids.


Blogger Misty said...

Have you heard of Dave Ramsey? Besides his program for getting out of debt, he offers some advice on financial matters with children.

He thinks there should be some chores that kids do just because they're part of the family. Then there are some other chores (arbitrarily decided) that the kids earn 'commission' on if they do them (and can get in trouble for if they let them slack too long). In the third category is things they can do to earn extra money.

With this money you teach them to put it in three spots: giving, saving, and spending.

We're not going to have a child until early next year, but we're already starting to think about such things! DH's parents neglected this area of his education so we want to make sure to stop the legacy of bad financial decisions.

2/03/2006 08:18:00 AM  
Blogger Terri said...

Huh! It's very interesting that you post that ... I read quite a few of the personal finance blogs, so I've run into Dave Ramsey quite a bit, but never really looked into him since we have no debt. I thought he was just a "conquer your debt"/"turn your life around" kind of guy.

Thank you very much for the info!

2/03/2006 09:08:00 AM  

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