Coming of Age Challenge #4 - Money

Money is a huge challenge no matter what your age. In asking friends, how they learned about money, most people respond, "By watching my parents." Not exactly the perfect scenario in most cases.  

In thinking about this, we realized it is a process that will take time, a long time as kids mature and recognize what money really does and what it means to each of us personally. 

A couple of activities we are engaging in for this challenge:

1. Investment Class -- we enrolled in an adult education investment class that in retrospect was a bit over Zoe's head, but did get her thinking. The result --a purchase of Nickelodeon stock for $100.  Overtime she hopefully will learn how to choose a stock and when to keep and sell -- something that we can all learn how to do better.

2. Shopping -- Last week she took $60 of her own money and went to a movie and shopping with a friend. Sitting separate from the girls at the movie, we watched as they came back from the snack bar with two extra large cokes in their hand. I looked at Jean and said, "Who buys an extra large coke (let alone a coke) at the movie?"  We laughed and thought-- a teaching moment on how to spend and waste money.  Her friend then came over and gave us one of the cokes. Okay, generosity trumps wasting money. 

Note to self: talk to Zoe about what movie snacks cost and why you want to bring your own

The next two hours they ended up shopping in Claires, a safe and secure store for 12 year olds where they could get alot of value for their money. Upon meeting us they proudly showed off their purchases; earrings, a purse, a fake ponytail, headband, matching bracelets, and scarf. Zoe proudly showed me 6 crumpled receipts all from Claires. "Look how many receipts I have." she said with utter pride.  We smiled. 

Note to self: Walk through all the receipts and add up what she spent. Ask her if she is happy with her purchases and expenditures. Remind her that next time she should tell her friend to bring some money too. 

Salaries:  This past month she has been researching salaries and has realized that certain professions definitely pay more. This has translated into seeing what the future can hold or not.  She came home today and told a story that her friend thought a $30,000 salary is good. She said, "I wanted to say that is minimum wage. You can't live on that. I want to do what I love and make good money. I have dreams."

Just knowing it made us realize this discussion of money goes far beyond budgeting, investing and spending.

Note to Self:  Keep discussing different careers and that you have to like what you do in order to sustain them

The challenge of learning about money continues and it is amazing how little we know unless someone actually teaches it to us.  For many adults, it is Suze Orman who is teaching us, but for our kids, we can continue to learn right along with them and help them to see the choices we make regarding how we spend, earn, and invest our money are all around us and in every many things we do, say, and choose.