Welcome to Money+ Monday. Today we’re talking money.
In addition to the social-emotional learning and mental health skills that needed reinforcement in my teens/twenties, learning about finances and managing my money were real life skills that needed some work, too, though I didn’t realize it at the time.
My parents offered some useful lessons about the value of a dollar, saving, and budgeting growing up that planted some early seeds, as did a required “how to balance your checkbook” class in high school (perhaps the most useful class for living in the real world that I ended up taking those four years). Some of the lessons sunk in (I’m a whiz at filling out my check register!), though others didn’t (for a variety of reasons, most notably that I didn’t want to listen and/or didn’t really get the significance).
Now firmly into adulting and having made my share of less than useful financial decisions (sometimes the most painful though best teachers), I’m getting that actually having some competence about one’s finances and money mindset is useful. So, I’ve started to re-educate myself (I’ve read four finance books and started to ask for help from others who know more than I do — go me!). And what do you know? I’m learning!! (And coming across some of those early seeds that I planted and then completely forgot about that were actually quite useful.)
In coming weeks, we’ll ponder on money mindset (yes, the thoughts we’re rolling around in our heads about money matter). For today, let’s look at a resource for the basics to help build a strong financial foundation. If you want to catch an older teen/twenty-something’s attention (or brush up yourself), check out this book by Ramit Sethi:
After sitting on my nightstand for a year, I finally read it and am glad I did. (And on a funny note — Ramit went to my alma mater around the same time and there is a quote from someone I’m pretty sure was in my freshman dorm. I wonder if our paths crossed, though clearly I didn’t gain from his wisdom then.)
Of the money books I’ve read, I enjoyed this one the most. It offered lots of practical guidance and clearly laid out tactics for helping create (or improve) a strong financial foundation, yet in a way that didn’t bore me to death or feel condescending. I found his writing style hilarious, though some of the jokes toed the line and may not be to everyone’s taste. As a young adult, I think his wording would have caught and kept my attention, and I might have actually heard some of the useful, informative, and well researched advice.
“But there are a lot of dorks who spend every waking hour online digging up the best interest rate and switching to it immediately…If you do this, you are a moron.” (Ramit Sethi)
I read that and laughed out loud. Well…okay, then. I’ll try not to be a moron.
If it’s been on your list to shore up your teen’s money skills (or refresh your own), this may be a useful book to consider. While our kids aren’t going to listen to everything we say, perhaps they’ll pick up a little more if via another voice, and in any case, it’ll help plant seeds for the future.
Let’s plant some seeds this week.