Saturday, April 26, 2008

Frugal is Cool!

An article in today's NY Times noted that the recession has brought frugality into vogue. Let's hope that this is more than temporary. Click here to read the article.


Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Coloring Is Cool - Going Green Saves Green

With both Earth Day and Credit Union youth week coming up next week, I just had to post this really cool coloring page we created with our friends at for our Money Mammals "Saving Money Is Fun Kids Club." One of the panels is specific to the club, but the overall message that Going Green saves Green is universal. We hope you download it here and print it out and use it with your kids, class or whomever else might enjoy it.


Saturday, April 12, 2008

Interesting - Compounding for Kids?

I came across an interesting post on - he taught the concept of compounding to his eight-year-old. Good stuff.


Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Financial Literacy's time is NOW!

A terrific recent article in The Economist (click the link above) highlights the global push towards improved financial literacy. It shines a bright light on the desperate need for financial literacy worldwide and it underscores two of my core beliefs and what drives The Money Mammals project:

1. TEACH KIDS YOUNG - Jeroo Billimoria, a social entrepreneur who founded Child Savings International, teaches kids 6-14 in 35 developing countries about money through a course called Alfatoun ("Explorer"). She notes that it's imperative to start young because "by 14 most of their habits are formed." Not surprisingly, she encountered skepticism but has fought past that to create a successful worldwide financial literacy program for youth.

2. USE NOVEL METHODS - Lewis Mandell, winner of the William E. Odem Visionary Leadership Award in financial literacy, says, "clearly the way we are going about teaching personal finance needs to be improved" The article notes, "the only classroom method that seems consistently to raise financial literacy among high-school pupils is playing a stockmarket-investing game - which rewards taking high-risk bets."

Kids need to be engaged to be educated. Bland presentations or classes don't cut it. Saving Money Is Fun?! It can be.

It is clearly important to do something and to do something for our children NOW. We cannot wait. We all must work together to improve financial literacy education in this country. But we also can't wait for education system to handle this. Take advantage of the numerous services offered by many of your local credit unions to help teach you and your children about financial literacy. But more than anything else, start educating your kids yourselves. If your discomfort with the subject is holding you back, keep it simple. Teach them to share, save and spend smart, understand the difference between needs and wants and to make smart money choices. Want to get started? Take The Money Mammals Challenge (see previous post this month).

Monday, April 07, 2008

The Challenge Continues

How is your Money Mammals Challenge going? I thought it might be helpful if I posted a completed challenge sheet right here. Take a look and you'll see that our daughter is saving for a new pair of shoes. She's turning five and tells us (oh, about every five minutes) that she's getting bigger and will need some new clothes and shoes that fit her better. This is a bit of an exaggerating (she's doing just fine with most of her clothes), but her choice was pretty practical and she could use some shoes. $3/week (her allowance) will net her $12 by the end of the month. Enough for the pair she'd like.

We used to have a beautiful hibiscus plant that recently died so my wife is saving for a replacement plant - a new palm tree. We're lucky enough to live in Southern California and she's always wanted one of these iconic trees.

I have a good friend who has multiple sclerosis and I missed the MS Walk in which my wife and kids recently took part. So I'm saving to "Share" my money with MS. $80 is only a dent, but it will help.

For the month, my wife and I will be making a point to show our kids the money going into our clear "Save" and "Spend" jars for the month. I want them to physically see that the money is being saved and that's it's accumulating over time (albeit a short time).

Comment here to let me know how your challenge is going.