Menstuff® has compiled the following
information on raising financially fit kids
Independent Means, Inc. sets the standard for
innovative resources for Raising Financially Fit
Kids. Your kids are developing views on money
through your actions! This month, make a note to
talk about hidden costs - the price of that trip or
the car or club membership that DOESN'T show up on
the price tag. Source:
In 1990 Independent Means founder, Joline Godfrey,
a social worker from Maine, turned corporate woman
and entrepreneur in Boston, moved to California to
write Our Wildest Dreams, a book about women
entrepreneurs, their passions and their challenges.
(It has been an eclectic life of surprise she
By the time she'd written the last chapter of
her book, she had had an epiphany: many of the
stories the women told about their lives and their
businesses reflected the fact that each of the
women she wrote about had had both a late start in
their own journey of financial independence, and
too little help. By the time the book hit the
shelves of book stores around the country, she had
a mission: find a way to help young women get an
early start on their own journey for
And with that mission, the DollarDiva Story
In May of 1992, Joline and her friend Karen
Schafer invited 50 teenage women from Ojai, CA's
Nordhoff High School to meet with twenty
DollarDivas to talk about money, business and
independence. They had no idea how the day would
turn out, or even if it would work, but decided to
experiment with bringing the two groups together to
see what might happen. (Exploring the unknown is a
trademark of any true DollarDiva!)
The DollarDivas included people like Ruth
Owades, founder of Calyx and Corolla, the first
overnight mail-order flower company, Ella Williams,
who had built a highly successful engineering
company in southern California (she told of getting
her first contract for $20 million after showing up
for years to the same clients, loaf of her own home
made bread in hand!), Kirby Sack, who had just
started her own residential real estate firm,
Terrie Williams, founder of the first public
relations agency started by a Black woman, and
Sonia Melara, founder of one of the country's first
successful Hispanic Yellow Pages.
Kids and Allowances
1. An allowance is not a salary or an entitlement.
It is a tool for teaching children how to manage
2. There is no right amount. Rule of thumb is to
start small and increase the allowance as the
child's ability to manage responsibility
3. Manage your child's allowance in the context
of your goals. Are you trying to teach budgeting
skills? Are you hoping to encourage independence?
Decide what lessons you want to instill and then
build the allowance around those lessons.
4. Do not use the allowance for behavioral
control. Money anxieties are deeply embedded in our
psyches. Connecting an allowance to emotional or
behavioral control exacerbates this and doesn't do
much to help the child develop healthy financial
* RFFK Tips are excerpted from 'Raising
Financially Fit Kids' (2003) by Joline Godfrey.
Please visit www.raisingfinanciallyfitkids.com
for more information.
Team for Your Kids
Kids report that parents find it easier to discuss
drugs and sex with them than money. Which is to say
the conversations rarely happen. Building a Money
Mentoring team is one way to get the subject on the
table and in the real lives of your kids.
The idea is simply to identify a group of people
with whom you can barter time: ask them to spend a
couple of days a year with your kids (a team of six
can translate into 12-18 days of money talk a year
for your kids) to whom you can offer a service in
return-maybe a gift certificate for a massage or a
great bottle of wine will do the trick.
- Do you have a friend who raises money for
non-profits and can talk about the world of
- Do you know anyone who works in mortgage
loans, or commercial credit? Ask them to take
your teenager for an afternoon to visit a house
that is being sold and talk about how the
mortgage process works.
- How about the parent you met at the last PTA
meeting who mentioned they're in charge making
sure their company's benefits are 'family
friendly.' How about asking them to talk about
what a family friendly benefit IS?
- Or think about successful entrepreneurs you
know-would they talk about their life choices
with your kids? Can they talk about corporate
life vs. the entrepreneurial life?
Every family will create a different team. You
might organize your best friend, a grandparent,
your investment advisor, maybe an aunt and a
co-worker all to be on the team. Your best friend
might recruit her father, a co-worker, a favorite
teacher. Whatever the particular make-up, the idea
is to create an extended family of money mentors
who will, over time, reinforce key values and
expectations, offer a cumulative set of money skill
building experiences, and take the pressure off you
as the only source of your children's financial
education. That team is part of the 'village'
required to raise a child.
Making the Team Work... (for the full text of
the article visit Independent Means's website:
or call 800-350-1816.
Four ways to help ways to help your kids avoid the
perils of catching the greed virus:
1. Make sure they are involved in something
larger than themselves (a cause, a charity, a team
project). You can start this as early as age 5-8.
And if your kids are over 12 make it an imperative
of family life.
2. Talk with them about the nature of greed and
its downside consequences. Whether it's a
conversation triggered by a problem with a friends
or a storyline on television, discussing the
consequences of greed is as important as talking
about sex and drugs.
3. For their next birthday make one of their
gifts a donation to a cause in their name-make them
part of the decision about where the donation will
4. If you have a teen, help arrange an
internship in a company that has a reputation for
ethical and profitable practices-this will act as
an antidote to the Enron/WorldCom stories they now
High Net Worth Kids
They drive SUVs, have trust funds that assure
financial comfort for life, money in the bank for
college and credit cards they can use any and
everywhere. Such lucky kids... or are they?
We don't have to exaggerate the dilemmas of
early wealth for kids with horror stories of
depression, suicide rates, easy drugs, or early sex
- Indeed these are equal opportunity problems for
But kids who have little incentive to develop
good money habits are also less likely to shepherd
wealth; more likely to squander it, and less likely
to develop true developmental independence.
Busy parents often say that it's easier to "feed
the tiger than tame it." That may be true, but the
efforts of parents who work to instill sound
financial habits in their kids do have a pay-off -
for both community and for the kid...
For the complete article on "High Net-Worth
Kids," email firstname.lastname@example.org
Financially Fit Kids: What Would You Do? Best
Practices From Parents
Last month's question:
We give our 15 year old son an allowance of
$25/week to cover school expenses and some extras
(food, a movie, etc.) We have two other kids and
this represents a significant part of our monthly
expenditures. He also has does chores for a next
door neighbor a couple of times a week and between
the two sources of income, he makes an average
$40-$50 week. My wife and I think this is adequate
money for a 15 year old to manage at this point,
but we are in a constant battle as he says it isn't
enough to cover the cost of the dates he goes on
What is a reasonable amount for a 15 year old to
spend on a date and what happened to equality?
Don't girls ever help pay the cost of a night
June Brown offered our favorite response (and
the gift certificate winner!)
"Who says YOU have to pay for his dates? I
suggest that when he runs out of money, he doesn't
go on any more dates. Do not ever give him money
for his dates. Otherwise you'll have a college
student asking for money for his dates... Suggest
he needs to space his dates to conserve his funds
and find lower cost dates (picnic, hiking, free
outdoor event such as a sidewalk art show. Explain
to him about coupons and free/ reduced events at
the zoos, movies etc. that can be found by looking
on the web or in the local newspapers. Mention
early bird specials for cheaper eats.
For his next birthday you might buy him an
entertainment coupon book. Independent Means
suggests you check out www.StudentAdvantage.com/buyandsave
And of course the girl could pay her way as well.
Imagine he explained that he would LOVE to spend
more time with her but doesn't have a lot of money
so he would really appreciate it if she would think
up some fun low cost/free things for them to
Remember - his dates are his problem."
Note from Joline:
I just returned from Mexico City where I had a
chance to meet with 100 teenagers, boys and girls.
This topic came up under the heading: learning to
talk openly with your friends about money. It was
clear in this very traditional culture that this
was a worry much on young men's minds - even though
they wanted to show manhood by being able to
"support" their young girl friends, they were
anxious about the how to manage it. The girls were
quite mixed. Many clung to the notion that paying
for dates was "his job." Others saw the fairness of
sharing the costs of dates and time together. This
topic is talked about less openly among young
people, across culture and class, than sex and
drugs. Parents can help by raising the topic often
and helping their kids to find ways to discuss
money with their friends in ways that transcend
what brands they like and are going to buy.
You Took Her to Work --
Now What? Eleven Ways to Make Your Daughter Money
Smart Year 'Round
1. Expect more of her. By the age of 18
every girl should be able to:
- open a savings account and save money each
- create an annual plan (account for money
she'll get and money she'll spend.)
- balance a check book
- make a budget and stick to it
- develop several ways of making money
Parents who do not make handling money as
expected as brushing teeth are doing their
daughters a dis-service. Remember she's smart,
she's on a quest for independence and these are the
tools she will need to live safely and well.
2. Give her role models. Sojourner Truth
once said, "If I can't see it, I can't be it."
Remember your friends are great role models.
Someone in your office or in your family is living
a life your daughter should have a chance to see
and experience. Work out a swap--you take a
colleague's daughter and she'll take yours to work
for a day. Do this once a quarter and give your
daughter a broad range of experiences and role
3. Enlarge her vision. Most girls and
women have a hard time thinking in a large scale.
At Independent Means we don't think big is
necessarily better, but we know that girls who are
able to think expansively about themselves and
their world, see greater opportunities for
themselves. When you ask her what she wants to do
with her life and she says she wants to be a
doctor, suggest she can own the practice, or found
a hospital. If she says she wants to have a nail
salon, ask her if she's thought about owning a
chain of salons. Or maybe she can open the first
inter-galactic network of nail salons!
4. Shop competitively with her. Turn the
next mall stop into an afternoon of great buying
lessons. Select 5 items you will each shop for
(actual purchase not necessary) and see who gets
the better buys (make sure you each have evidence
of the "purchases" you make!)
5. Take her to a business function with
you. Maybe it's a chapter meeting for one of
your business organizations, or maybe it's a
lecture given by a business speaker--give her a
chance to experience the culture of business: how
people greet one another, what they talk about,
what they learn. Business is a culture like any
other and we all know that the younger you enter a
culture, the easier it is to assimilate into that
6. Give her a copy of the National
Business Plan Competition
for Teen Women application. Every teen is used
to seeing invitations for Miss Teen Beauty Queen,
but Miss Teen Business Queen? The young women who
enter the Competition master a process that many
adult women have yet to tackle! (call 800-350-1816
or email us for more info)
7. Give her a budget and hand her the
opportunity to plan the summer event schedule for
the family. You want to do things together anyway,
give her a chance to think creatively and
responsibly to set up one or more family events.
Whether it's a picnic in the local park or a day
together at an art festival, if she needs to plan
the budget and the arrangements for transportation,
entrance fees, incidentals bought on the excursion,
and materials needed (like food for the picnic) she
will be a more cost conscious and responsible
person. And if she makes mistakes -- so much the
better. This is how she will learn. When teens
leave Camp $tart-Up we often ask "What did you
learn that surprised you the most?" The most
frequent response: "How much things cost."
8. Run a joint venture with her. Whether
you plant flowers to sell at the local farmers'
market, run a garage sale, or offer hiking tours
for women who want to get in shape, the experience
of working together and learning together will give
you each a new level of respect for one
9. Run a business video festival for your
daughter and her friends. Rent a few videos and ask
them to critique the movies from an economic point
of view. What are the money messages being given in
the film? What did they think the main characters
portrayed that was relevant to their lives? Some
good videos to screen: BabyBoomer, Working Girl,
Rosie the Riveter...
10. Take her seriously. One of the
biggest challenges women and girls face is they are
not taken seriously much of the time. When you take
her ideas and her opinions seriously, shell
have practice knowing what to expect from others.
You know it's important to you--a sense of gravitas
is imprinted early -- make this a gift she will use
throughout her life!
11. Send her to Camp
the summer program that teaches teen women to start
a business of their own!
How to Make the Ms.
Foundation's Take Our Daughter's to Work Day® a
Easy Plans for Impact and Discovery
The day's approaching, the young women are lined
up, your company wants to make a difference for the
next generation -- but what are you going to do?
Edu-taining young people is not for the faint of
heart! Independent Means offers a wide range of
products which will ensure your day is interesting,
entertaining, and informative. Visit our Online
for more information on obtaining the materials to
put these great ideas to work on the big day!
Tips for Great Days with Kids
Get experiential. This is not a passive
generation. Get them involved and don't let well
meaning members of the staff talk "at them."
Take them seriously. Have you watched
"Dawson's Creek" lately? These young people are
worldly, if not yet wise and respect is more
important than almost anything to them.
Give them a 'take away': knowledge,
on-going activity, or mind-ticklers.
Things To Do:
Network Bingo: Introduce them to one
another and your staff with this fast action game.
Gets them talking, breaks the ice, and sets the
tone for the rest of the day. (Free with an order
from IMI's Online
15-20 min. good for any number.
Annual Report Scavenger Hunt: Want them
to get to know your company but don't want to make
them watch an endless series of slides? This game,
available in BizBuzzTM is a great interactive way
to give them a look at the company, help them
develop some business vocabulary, and provide a
context for the day. 30 min. Work in teams of
Bankrupt! Available in BizWordTM
this game is a great way to introduce jargon or
words specific to your industry or business without
making the kids feel self-conscious about words you
may use they dont understand. 15-20 min. Any
Don't forget to give them a break -- remember
the entire day may feel like an overload of
information and stimulation. Make sure you have
fruit, water, & juices available to keep their
Company - The Money Game with Attitude!
Anyone who has ever dreamt of "being the boss"
can experience the thrill of running a company and
finding solutions that will lead to success, by
playing this exciting new board game. Up to four
people or four teams can play.Each is the "owner"
of a hot new company. Roll the die, pick a card,
and you're in business! The object of the game is
to get your company to turn a profit and have a
great time. Hot Company develops skills that work
in the real world as well. Ages 12 to 92.
in a Box
This is an especially effective activity if you
want to demonstrate what it takes to make a
product, think about how to get that product to
market, and want to offer a fun, hands on activity.
(Lucent & Digital Equipment use this with their
own employees! Great stimulus to creativity!). 60
minutes, includes time to "show & tell." Kids
work in teams of 6, works with up to 100 in a
group; for greater numbers we recommend paralell or
This video is both inspirational and a great
catalyst for discussion and imagination. Co-hosted
by two young women--this is a look at women in
business that girls 13 and over can relate to.
Makes a great introduction to Product in a
Box 45 minutes for screening and
An Income of Her Own Workshop
This five hour program is a complete package of
activities designed to high school age girls to
economic issues and economic literacy. Works with
100-500 girls. Email
us for more information.
We've seen that it's as important to brief the
folks involved in welcoming young people to the
workplace as it is to engage the kids. These
products and programs are designed to make the
in-house mentoring experience a long term
investment in the next generation of employees.
Send your staff home with the tools to extend the
impact of TODTW Day throughout the year.
Wisdom for the Next Generation: An Economic
Mentoring Kit Includes
a video, workbook and book mark to facilitate
activities and shared learning between the
generations. Good for one on one mentoring as well
as group situations.
More Frogs to Kiss: 99 Ways to Give Economic Power
to Girls This easy to use handbook is full of
99 activities that that are great for post visit
events, strategies to recruit young people for your
industry, and thought provoking actions for making
work policies that help us educate the next
Parent Coaching Workshops: Raising Money
Smart Daughters Family friendly companies give
employees access to the tools and methods they need
to raise money smart kids. Make this workshop
available to employees while their children are
engaged in the day -- help them develop strategies
for building on this very special day -- and
leverage the investment you make in their
us for more information.
New Moon: Money - Part of the New Moon
book series by and for girls 9-13. Provides a
comprehensive introduction to money issues with a
strong emphasis on following your dreams and taking
charge of your economic future. Order at
1-800-381-4743. Visit New Moon on line at www.newmoon.org
New Moon: The Magazine for Girls and Their
Dreams - Edited by and for girls 8-14. A place
for girls to explore themselves, their dreams and
the larger world. No advertising! Six issues/year
$29. Order at 1-800-381-4743. Visit New Moon on
line at www.newmoon.org
Every now and then we find products we think offer
parents a little help raising financially fit kids.
One that came to our attention recently is the
Moonjar. This imaginative and colorful box is
designed with three openings: one for sharing, one
for saving, and one for spending. It comes with a
small "passbook" that can be used with your kids
for keeping track of what gets deposited. As an
introduction to money management we think it's a
pretty good tool.
To order, go to: www.independentmeans.com/bin/miva?Merchant2/merchant.mv+Screen=SFNT&
They are ($10 plus S/ H).
We think the product probably works best with
kids 5-10, but will take guidance from parents with
younger and older kids!
"Economic literacy is like compound interest. Put a
little in often and the long-term pay-off is huge."
Here's a Money Muscle Activity that could be a
Give them a list of people you want to give
birthday presents to in the next 3-6 months. Give
them a total budget to buy the gifts (you might
offer a guide of 1-5, 1 being a close family member
to whom you want to give something special; 5 being
a distant relative for whom the gift is a simple
remembrance). Ask them to suggest the gift, find
the lowest cost source, and come to you with a
complete recommendation. They may have to do more
than one iteration before you OK the purchase. But
they get comparative buying experience and you get
a big task done.
You might offer to pay them a percent of what
they save you - but make sure you reserve the right
to OK the gifts! This project can be done by kids
as young as 12. Encourage creativity - if they
suggest you offer a gift certificate for a day
hiking with your best friend for her birthday -
take the suggestion. You'll save money and give a
gift that means a lot: your time. (And if you share
your secret with your friend she may try the same
with her kids!)
Choosing a College with
Lower Admission Standards
Good News: A recent study by Alan Krueger, an
economics professor at Princeton, and Stanley Dale,
a researcher at Mathematic Policy Research found
that students who chose a school with lower
admissions standards over a more competitive school
earned as much as those who attended elite
colleges. According to Krueger, "The best school
that turned you down is a better predictor of
future income than the school you actually attend."
To read Tom Redburn's entertaining take on the
study, go to www.matr.net/news.phtml?newsid=3505&catlabel=Education
Is your child a spendthrift? A giver? A hoarder? A
scrimper? Or maybe, just downright oblivious to
- Are there family money dramas you can do
- Do you know how to make financial fitness
- Do you know where your child is on the
developmental map of financial readiness and
where they need to be by the age of 18?
- Do you want to send your children into the
world as balanced, financially stable
individuals and contributing members of both
their family and community?
Parent Place offers help and resources to
parents, grandparents, mentors, advisors, and
educators who want to help kids become habitual
savers, smart money managers, and responsible
decision makers. We are reinventing financial
education; moving from structured curriculum to
raising community consciousness; from static
lessons to exciting experiential learning.
© 2007, Independent Means
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just because they have it. - Fannie Hurst
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