Basic Training - Part 3
- Friday, April 20, 2001
Of all the areas of our lives as parents, handling money has been the most difficult for us personally. We admit it -- managing our money is our "thorn in the flesh." However, we have made it our goal to be sure that our children are much more prepared in this area than we were.
When Jeremiah was 14, he wanted to receive an allowance that he could use to purchase his own clothes and necessities. We told him to make a budget for himself for a year, including everything on which he would need to spend money. We had him include savings and tithe as well as clothing, entertainment and gifts. He then determined the yearly and monthly amounts he needed for each category in his budget. We then reviewed it and found it reasonable. We gave him his allowance (one twenty-sixth of the yearly amount every two weeks) on our payday. He was then responsible for purchasing his own clothing and needs. Suddenly, he realized that he really did not need those $135 basketball shoes, but could start his own trend with his $30 pair. At the time, "Air Jordans" were "in," so he designated his choice "Air Miahs," (Miah being his nickname). Soon his friends were copying him! He learned to tithe and save, and how to plan and spend wisely. He also learned to do extra work when he needed to supplement his budget.
It's very important that students be capable of managing their money before they go on to higher education. College students today are actually targeted by credit card companies. They can usually obtain a Mastercard or Visa before they earn a dime! Forewarned is forearmed, as they say. Immerse your students in real-to-life financial accountability before they leave home. They should know how to make and live with a budget. They should be aware of the basic cost of living. They should know the relationship between diligent work and earning wages. And, of course, they should know how to start and maintain a bank account, write checks, make deposits, and balance accounts.
It is also important for our children to clearly outline their expectations and goals for their own financial future. Young women who plan on marrying and having a family should be challenged to think through whether they plan to commit to staying home. They need to consider how they will deal with financial pressures that may arise and change their plans. Girls also need to have a plan for self-support if they don't end up marrying. Allow them to become aware of how to manage household expenses.
Young men need to know all the same basics, but they should also have a plan for how to support a family, should the desire and occasion arise. The more aware our young men are of the importance of having a financial plan, the more likely they will be to withstand emotional pressures to marry on a whim when the opportunity presents itself. Before they actually find a wife and begin a family, they should have formed a conviction as to the need for a parent to be in the home with the children. Young men must be aware of what supporting a family requires financially, and be ready to provide that support before marriage. Our society would experience much less debt, and marriages would be much less stressful if every young man was prepared to buy a home and meet family needs before they proposed!
Sometime in the not-so-distant future, you will be releasing your children into the world to make a life for themselves. While those who went to public school are calling home to ask mom how to get their clothes clean, your student will be ready to focus on college or career (and cooking for his roommates). More than this, they will have an understanding of what adult life entails. Give your students a head start by training them in the basics of life while they are home schooling.
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