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The Money Messenger -- Better Late Than...
January 17, 2010
Welcome to Issue #026 of The Money Messenger!
The Money Messenger brings you the latest on your kids and money.
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January can mean starting the new year with a clean slate and a time for setting goals. The turn of the calendar promises new opportunities to accomplish these goals as well as continuing to build on the successes of last year.
This month, the articles focus on setting family money resolutions and getting your teen started on the path to money management by helping them to start earning their own money. There are a number of options to consider in each article it can be tempting to jump in start all of them.
Don't. Pick one and try it on. New habits can take some time to develop and trying to fit too many into an already-busy family life can be stressful. Start slow and build on your success - you'll be amazed at how much you will have done in a few short months.
A reader's question on balancing new money resolutions while digging out from old money habits
A new section on helpful links and resources
Better late than...never?
Despite plans and a mountain of intentions, this newsletter is finding its way to you late. Reasons abound for why (work and family being the primary ones) that is the case. Each of them with their own merits and still ringing a little bit hollow since I didn't meet your expectations (or my own for that matter).
Do you find this happening in your own life? That you have the best intentions of setting a chore program for your kids or encouraging your teen to find a winter job? What about that budget you planned to set up to track your money at the beginning of the year - whether on paper or using online sites?
The hardest part of anything can be getting started but it can also be staying going. You may get your budget set up...but then you have to find time to update each week or month. That chore chart you and the kids created looks great on the refrigerator...except no one is following through on the plan.
No worries. Start anew wherever you find yourself. That's what I did with this newsletter - sat down, started typing and made the progress to getting onto your screen. (And, of course, promised myself and you that would never happen again!)
Family Money Resolutions for 2010
Resolutions of any kind can be a bit dangerous. For many of us, January 1st is a time to make our list of resolutions with great intentions Ė only to see them fall to the side before the end of the month.
But 2010 can be different.
Start by setting some realistic family money resolutions and focusing on a few key areas. Then come up some concrete ways to put those ideas into action. And, finally, take action Ė no matter how small Ė quickly. Getting started can be the biggest hurdle, so moving toward your goal immediately can be a key to success. Here are some key goals to consider for your resolution list:
Using these family money resolutions or some of your own to save money can make your life a lot less stressful. If you stick with them, the next New Year might look a whole lot brighter.
Teen Money Management Ė Earning It
As adults, we often look back on our teenage years as some of the best times of our lives. But when you're a teenager, it's hard to really appreciate the fact that you don't have to hold down a full-time job or pay bills. Teens have concerns of that usually arenít about money management, such as keeping their social lives going strong and coming up with money to go on dates and out with friends.
As parents, we can't always give our teens a lot of money. And even if we could, it's important for them to learn how to earn money for themselves and money management skills to go with it. If your teen is short on cash, it can be tempting to sigh, roll your eyes and open your wallet. But what if they started earning more of their own money?
Earning money often translates to managing it more effectively because of the work needed to get it. (Sure, thatís not always the case but it is still a good start.) Here are some ideas that he could use to earn the money he needs.
You and your teen can also brainstorm ideas. Get creative and let the ideas flow. Donít edit them the first time around Ė you can always do that. The goal is to have as many options as possible to kickstart the earning part of your teenís money management program. Share your best ideas with other readers here.
Here's where I answer your questions. Mike writes that he is struggling between focusing on fixing old money habits while trying to build some new ones. Which one is more important - or can you do both at the same time. Here's the advice:
Working on something new is almost always more exciting than trying to improve habits that have challenged you in the past. Focusing on the old stuff may be not be as motivating as moving on to newer things that can be more interesting - even if that's just because it is something new.
But what if those old money habits will negate or erase any progress that you are trying to make on your new goals?
It may be time to review all your money habits and goals to come up with one new integrated list. Here are some ways to make that happen:
The biggest key is to not get overwhelmed and feel like you can't move forward. If focusing on new goals gives you the incentive you need to move forward, then do that. There is no right way to achieve your money goals - or even to set them to start with. As long as you are making strides toward even one goal, you are on your way your money management goals - old or new.
While money-and-kids.com strives to provide all the information you need to help educate your kids, teens and family on money matters, there are other great resources to help you. This new section of the newsletter highlights those that I've found that provide solid, understandable and usable information.
February can seem to stretch out forever even though it's one of the shortest months. The gray days of winter can drag on while wait for spring - only broken up by Groundhog's Day and Valentine's Day. That can make it a good month to look at what is coming in spring and how you might need to update chore programs or plan for spring and summer jobs.
If you have questions you'd like to see addressed for that issue, just use the Contact Form or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Talk to you soon!
If you have any comments or suggestions for future newsletters, please let me know. I want to be sure that this newsletter meets your needs. Feel free to provide your comments using this contact form.
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