Sunday, March 30, 2008

The Money Mammals Challenge

Fellow Money Mammals,

April is now my favorite month. Why? Well, it's National Financial Literacy Month of course. It's a great opportunity to spread the word about youth financial literacy. I'll be doing a live Money Mammals event in Eureka, California, later this week sponsored by the Consumer Credit Counseling Services up there. Then I'll be heading to DC to for Financial Literacy Day on Capitol Hill with the Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy to help spread the good word.

But I wanted to do more. I thought long and hard about how to make this month more relevant to all of us and our kids and I think I may have come up with a compelling idea...

The Money Mammals Challenge. And we want you to take the challenge with us.

It's simple. You and your children each set financial goals to achieve this April 2008. Download this super-simple worksheet here and put pictures of you, your little savers and, most important, pictures of the goals you will be trying to achieve. They need to see the goals. Also, make sure you're saving money in a jar or something so that they can see your money being saved as well as theirs. As the sheet suggests, break the goal into four parts and enter those incremental amounts into the weekly rows. I've tried the goal-saving approach with some success (see my previous blog posts) and I think it can work for you.

Let us know how you're doing by adding comments to this post. The second step in the challenge will be to spread the word. More on that later.


Monday, March 17, 2008

Goal-Setting for Kids

So it wasn't a one-time occurrence.

Immediately after having success with pasting a goal on my daughter's bank to encourage savings (see 12/26 post), I decided to ask her if she'd like to try it again. She did, picked out a scooter that she wanted and, lo and behold, she successfully saved again. Most importantly, she allocated most of her allowance EVERY week to saving for this goal. Over the course of almost three months, and with a little help from her friends (read "grandmother"), she saved enough to purchase a scooter that she wanted.

To those who might downplay the importance of starting young, don't underestimate the importance of starting this process sooner than later. Learning to delay gratification is a very important trait that your kids can develop early. Columbia University Psychologist Walter Mischel found a link between preschoolers who displayed this trait and future success. He found in follow up studies that preschoolers who displayed this trait were better adjusted and achieved more academically. Want to know more? Click here.