3 Money Rules your kids must know before leaving for college

April 15, 2017

Sending our kids off to college is a monumental step, for both parent and child. Freedom, independence and discovering who they are, are all part of the college experience. With this huge step comes added responsibility, with the hopes that we have equipped them with the life skills necessary to succeed.

One of the most important life skills we need to teach our kids is how to be smart with money. I’m not suggesting that money buys happiness, but I am saying that not having money can create heartache and stress, neither of which we want our children to experience.

So, how do we set up our kids for financial success? First, get comfortable yourself with money.

There are many topics to cover around money, all of which are important. Here are three you must share with your kids before they head off to college. In the interest of keeping within my allotted word count, I’ll keep the details short, but this will get you headed in the right direction.

Rule 1: How to properly use a credit card: Credit card debt can wreak havoc on their life, so it’s imperative they understand how to use one properly. Using a credit card can help build credit, which will improve one’s FICO score, so I do suggest they use it. BUT, and here’s the huge but, they must pay off that card in full every single month. I suggest they buy gas or groceries with the credit card, then pay in full. Show them what happens when they don’t pay the balance off and they incur interest charges. There are many online calculators that you can use to show them how much an item actually costs if they pay only the minimum balance. Now is the time they create the money habits that will make, or break, their credit history, so teach them as soon as they get a credit card. They should never purchase anything on credit they won’t be able to pay in full when the bill arrives. The only exception would be an emergency, such as replacing a flat tire or putting food on the table…and I’m not talking beer and pizza.

Rule 2: The Power of Savings: This is where the wealth begins- understanding how to save and the discipline to do it consistently. Just as the interest on a credit card can compound and create a downward spiral, the compounding interest on an investment/savings account can spiral sky high. When I show examples of how compounding interest works, I always, and I mean always, get a look of shock and amazement. Then I’m asked, “where do I start?” Again, check out the online calculators for “compounding interest.” Make the savings automatic, every month. They are blessed with the gift of time- start them saving early and watch their wealth grow!

Rules 3: Find a cause greater than yourself and give back: Being wealthy for the sake of being wealthy is a shallow existence. There are countless millionaires who are miserable. Be an example to your kids and find a cause and donate. Giving is, by far, a greater reward for the giver than the recipient. Teach them to open their wallets, which in turn will open their hearts.

Listen in for money tips!

February 10, 2017

Tori is live with Patti Handy discussing her new book "Money R…

Tori is live with Patti Handy discussing her new book "Money Rules 101" – KHTS AM 1220

Posted by KHTS AM 1220 on Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Why is it so hard to discuss money with your teens?

August 3, 2016

Believe me, I understand your struggles.

I have a teen myself- actually he just turned 20 years old (gulp) and I teach this stuff, and yet some days I just don’t get through to him.

Teens love to be with their friends, which mean they are out and about…A LOT. This generally suggests they are eating, drinking coffee or going to the movies, which all require money. It’s amazing how a few bucks here and a few bucks there add up to a boatload of bucks!

My strategy?

I take every opportunity (I call them teachable moments) to have a conversation about money choices. Sometimes, this comes at a time when he finds himself out of money and wonders where it all went. Sometimes, he wants to buy a big ticket item and he’s not sure how he’s going to save for it.

All great teachable moments.

My Online Money School is a great way to have many teachable moments with your teen or college bound child (young adult). These short videos cover a multitude of topics, all invaluable for their financial peace and prosperity.
Watch these videos with them to get the conversation started!

The Perfect Summertime Activity for your Teen!

April 14, 2013

Welcome to our newest subscribers! We have had quite a few new families join us recently and I’m very happy you’re here!

I was so excited to read a recent article about Maryland schools requiring financial literacy to be added to their curriculum. If you are in the Maryland area and have heard the same, please let me know. I am in the process of researching this and would love confirmation!

How great would that be? Finally, our public school systems acknowledging the importance of “life skills” in the classroom! Imagine our kids coming out of high school with the knowledge and confidence of knowing how to interview correctly, how to manage their money wisely, building business relationships, understanding time management and stress reduction techniques! I’m getting excited just thinking about this!!

As summer approaches, many parents struggle with how to keep the “brain juices flowing” with our teens, myself included. Summertime is a great time to relax and enjoy time off from the crazy schedule of school commitments, but it’s also important to stay active, both in body and mind.

Well, I’ve got just the answer…at least for the mind part! My online Money School is a perfect way to entertain and educate your kids (and possibly Mom and Dad too!) This program is comprised of 40 lessons, broken down into 10-15 minute videos. The material is comprehensive and the perfect gift for anyone in high school or going off to college. As a thank you for being a loyal subscriber, I am offering this Money School for 40% off the retail price for 4 DAYS ONLY! This offer ends on April 18, 2013! Enter coupon code “SUMMER” at checkout!

You can learn more about the complete program here: http://teenscashcoach.com/products/napt

Have a wonderful week and please let me know how I can help you!



Football and planning for your future…

September 10, 2011

I love posting this article during football season. If you’ve read it before, read it again, as it will be a good reminder for you. If you’re reading for the first time, enjoy!

OK, I admit it. I like football. Although I don’t understand all the strategies just yet, I enjoy watching the carefully
planned plays. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t, but nevertheless, very fun stuff to watch.

As I’m watching the games, it occurs to me that football and finances have a lot in common. (I admit, sometimes it’s hard for me to turn my ‘work’ brain off, even in the middle of an exciting game). The plays are carefully planned, the teams spend countless
hours practicing and strategizing, there is an experienced coach that guides the team to victory and they never give up. Their goal is specific, understood by all and there is serious motivation to win. Do you see where I am going with this?

Your money matters, your financial roadmap, requires the same mindset as those big, bad, burly football players. If you don’t have a specific plan in place, if you don’t practice and don’t have someone guiding you, you will probably not end up where you want to. When it’s time to send your kids to college, go on that vacation or retire, where are those funds coming from? What if you lost your job unexpectedly? Do you have reserves to fall back on?

Imagine those football players running onto the field with no plan, no plays. It would almost be painful to watch. Complete chaos. Is that what we enjoy watching? Doubtful.

So, is your financial picture complete chaos? If so, don’t panic. It’s never too late to get things in order.

Start by having a plan. Write down specific goals, what action steps are necessary to achieve those goals and by when. If lifestyle changes must occur, define what those changes are and commit to that change. Sit down and pull all your bills out for the last month. Determine your fixed expenses and compare that to what you actually spend every month. Sometimes this alone can be a real eye opener. Where does all that extra money go? The local coffee house? Lunch out? Those shoes you had to have?

Here’s an interesting statistic: If you saved $4 per day (one coffee) for 5 days per week for 52 weeks and invested that money at 10%, do you know how much you would have after 40 years? Some would say about $80,000, $90,000 even $100,000. Nope, you would have $553,396. Compounding interest is your new best friend.

So, make plans for your vacation and sending your kids off to college, just remember to plan for your money issues as well.

It’s all going to be okay…

March 13, 2011

Given what is happening in our world these days, it’s easy to get stuck. Stuck in the unknown, stuck in fear, or stuck with worry…it tests us all. If we allow ourselves to only focus on the challenges and tragedies, our days can become very bleak.

I’m not suggesting we ignore what is happening around us. Quite the contrary, I feel we should take action to help those around us in every way possible. Whether it is our time, our money or our prayers, we should help.

So, where am I going with this? Over the last several years we have been bombarded with the financial crisis. It would be literally impossible to turn on the news without some sort of story related to our economic challenges. No doubt, we have had some difficult times.

But, I’m here to share some inspiring news! Here’s some statistics that I think will make us all feel better. As you probably know, in 1932 the U.S. experienced the Great Depression. Did you know that in the subsequent 5 years, the market experienced a 194% return? Exciting to think about, isn’t it?

In 1982, the U.S. had the worst recession it had experienced in the prior 25 years. But, in the subsequent 5 years, the market experienced a 183% return!

Here’s one more. In 1994, the U.S. had a dramatic tightening of interest rates, (which means interest rates were going up). In the following 5 years, the market experienced a 213% return! Wowza!

Even in our difficult times, we have rebounded, and rebounded nicely. Look to the future with optimism and hope, as we will surely look back at this time in history and appreciate the healthy rebound. It’s all going to be okay…

Control? Yes and No…

February 18, 2011

Two weeks ago, on a quiet Saturday night, I got a phone call from my nephew. Being the prankster that he is, I normally take what he says with a grain of salt. “We have a little flooding problem over here and mom needs you to come over.” Not taking him seriously, I calmly said, “Devin, really?” “Yes, really” he says. We repeated these same words three times before I realized he was serious.

As I jumped in my car, I still wasn’t 100% convinced he wasn’t pulling another prank. Then I walked into their home. My sister was devastated, as she watched the ‘rain’ from the second story continue to fall onto our grandmothers antique dining room set. We moved as fast as we could to remove belongings, dry furniture and figure out what to do next. All the while, I just held my sister, telling her this was just temporary. We would get everything repaired and before she knew it, her home would be her castle again.

Like me, her home is her sanctuary. It’s the place we go to when we need calm and quiet. It’s a peaceful feeling when our home is clean, free of clutter and everything is in its proper place. We are in control. Or are we? Yes and no.

To think that we have total control over everything in our lives is a bit ignorant. At least in my opinion. We don’t. And that alone can make some people go nutty. As a control freak myself, I oftentimes struggle with this myself. But, here is how I find my balance.

First, I’ve learned to let go and hand over my issues to God. If that offends you, I’m sorry. But, finding a higher source to lean on, gain strength from and get direction from is, I believe, the first step towards finding peace. Whether you are dealing with a flood in your home, a health scare or money challenges, finding a source of strength, other than yourself, is paramount in getting through it.

Second, with those issues you do have control over, take the bull by the horns. For example, if you have money challenges, such as mounting credit card debt, take proactive steps towards resolving this. Contact your creditors and try negotiating lower interest rates or do a balance transfer to a zero percent interest rate card (Citicards and Discover have some nice offers right now). Then, cut up your cards. Don’t close the account, as this will oftentimes lower your credit score.

Another aspect you do have control over is your mindset. If you think you’re set up for failure or set up to succeed, you are right. Having a positive mindset, despite the bumps, will carry you through difficult times. Read uplifting books or get involved with an activity that brings you absolute joy. It’s not always easy, I’ll give you that, but perseverance and a positive attitude will take you farther than you ever thought possible.

If you learn to let go of those things you can’t control, master those issues you can control and enjoy the journey along the way, you will create a life of joy and peace. Despite the unexpected floods.

Help, I can’t get out of credit card debt!

October 9, 2010

I was recently asked a question about credit card debt that I think many people can resonate with, so I decided to post my response. The question was, “I have about $8,000 in credit card debt and I’m making payments, but it seems I’m not making any progress. Should I just declare bankruptcy?”

Here is my response:

Your question is a common one, especially in these challenging economic times. People are using credit cards to buy groceries, gas and other necessities. I’m happy to hear that you are making payments and taking a proactive approach.

You aren’t seeing much of a dent because most of your monthly payments are going towards interest, not the principal. Take a look at what interest rate you are paying and try to get that down. Contact your credit card company and speak to a supervisor. Tell them you are doing everything you can to make these payments, but you are having a tough time. Ask them if they can reduce your interest rate or have any type of special programs for people in your situation. Bottom line, it’s in their best interest to work with you, because if you decide to declare bankruptcy, they may never get a dime. (By the way, bankruptcy should be avoided at all cost, as it creates havoc to your credit score for years).

Fortunately, there is a lot of help for consumers who are overwhelmed with their debt. Some of the ‘debt help’ or ‘debt consolidation’ businesses aren’t exactly legitimate. They will typically ask for a nice chunk of money up front and oftentimes, can create more of a mess than what you started off with. Only work with debt counselors that are recommended by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (www.nfcc.org- 800-388-2227).

These counselors will sit down with you and work out a repayment plan. Typically, they will gather all your debts and you will make one single payment to the counseling agency. Oftentimes, the counselors will negotiate deals where some of your credit is forgiven or they can get your interest rate reduced. This service isn’t free though, so be sure to ask what their fee is.

Again, much of this can be done on your own. Don’t be afraid to contact your credit card companies and push a bit. If they say no, call them back in one month. Always speak to a supervisor or manager.

On the other side of the coin, let’s talk about ways you can make larger payments every month. Take a hard look at your spending habits and find items you can cut out of your monthly expenses. This part of the equation is always challenging, as we have certain habits that can be tough to break. Here’s a few simple ways to cut back:

• If you eat lunch out at work, consider taking a sack lunch
• Make coffee at home in the morning rather than hitting the coffee shop
• Check your cable TV and cell phone plans and see if you can cut back on services
• Watch the ‘emotional spending’ going on (buying something to feel better)
• When purchasing something, ask yourself “do I need this or want this”. If you answered ‘want’, put it back.

I realize this can feel like sacrificing quite a bit, but consider how great you will feel when your credit cards are paid off. Plus, the interest that you will be saving over time can be applied towards building your financial freedom account! I know you can do it!!

Teens, money and mistakes

June 2, 2010

This week we’re on to number three!

The number three mistake we as parents are making: Not holding our kids accountable. If your child does something against the household rules, typically there are consequences. Pull on the dog’s tail and you may get bitten. This is how our kids learn right from wrong, good from bad, etc. When it comes to spending money or using credit cards, oftentimes parents come to the rescue. Bailing our kids out of a financial mess, without having them pay the consequences, isn’t holding them accountable. As a parent of a teen myself, I understand how difficult it is to watch our kids ‘fall’, but fall they must, in order to pick themselves back up. Stop rescuing and instead, use the word ‘NO’ more often. Easier said then done, I get that, but start today and they reap the benefits tomorrow.

Top 5 mistakes parents are making with teens and money: Mistake number one

May 19, 2010

Money is a topic that makes most people cringe. Especially in the present economic climate, it’s generally not a fun conversation to have. I’d like to change that. Some tell me that my mission of teaching financial literacy to teens is similar to turning the Titanic…it’s going to take a long, long time and require a lot of effort.
Fine, we better get moving now then!

Although I prefer to discuss what we as parents are doing correctly, I’ve been asked several times from various people, to talk about what we are doing wrong. Let me start by saying, don’t beat yourself up if you find some of the following issues ring true for you. We are all doing the best we can, so take the information, make the changes that apply and move forward.

Number one mistake: parents aren’t talking! We talk about school, friends, drugs, smoking, sports and more, but never about money. Without question, everything I mentioned above is critical, it’s just not enough. Start the conversation about money over dinner, while driving or when shopping at the grocery store. It doesn’t need to be some heavy, boring talk, which would tune your kids out anyways. The intention is to bring an awareness of spending habits, saving habits, credit card pitfalls, and more, to your child’s radar.

Keep it simple, keep it short. Talk often, listen more.

Stay tuned for next week when I discuss mistake number two!

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