Is Your Teen Graduating with an ‘A’ in Personal Money Management?
3 Important Lessons They Don’t Teach in High School or College
More high school students than ever will be collecting diplomas in the coming weeks, an increase attributed in part to new career-oriented schools that help students appreciate the link between learning and earning.
“After 40 years, we’re finally seeing significant improvements in high school graduation rates. The national average shot up from 72 percent in 2001 to 78 percent in 2010,” says retired business executive Cary Siegel author of “Why Didn’t They Teach Me This in School? 99 Personal Money Management Principles to Live By”.
“While it’s wonderful to offer initiatives like career-prep schools, I worry these new high school and college graduates won’t have a clue about how to manage their paychecks.”
Siegel speaks from experience. Even after earning an MBA from the University of Chicago, he realized he knew little about how to best manage his personal funds. Setting financial goals helped him establish some basic principles, a trial-and-error process that was ultimately successful: He retired at age 45 after a marketing and sales career that included introducing new products like Crystal Light and Jell-O Light for Kraft Foods.
“I wished I’d learned these things in school – I would’ve made fewer mistakes,” he says. “My main goal was to retire early enough to spend time with my kids while they were still young, and I was able to do that. It’s not because I’m rich; I’m not! It’s because I learned how to effectively manage my money.”
All high school and college grads should leave school armed with that knowledge, says the father of five teenagers ages 13 to 17.
He offers three of his favorite tips:
• Just say no to credit cards (and don’t get one in college!) Credit card companies inundate college students with special offers. They want to hook you early on! But getting hooked on credit cards is as bad as getting hooked on drugs. The more you use them, the easier they are to use, and since you’re not required to pay off the balance each month, you can quickly spiral into debt. You pay for that debt, too. The average interest rate on student credit cards in April was 17.4 percent – which means for every dollar of debt you have, you’re charged almost 18 cents every month.
• Know what your bills are and take action when they go up. It’s amazing how many people don’t know what they’re paying their service providers each month. (If you don’t know within $5 what each monthly bill is, you’re probably overpaying on many of them.) When your cable, internet or cell phone company tells you it’s increasing its rates, call the company and ask to speak to a manager or someone in the retention department. Be polite and don’t raise your voice. Ask for detailed rationale for the increase; often, this will immediately stop the increase. If it doesn’t, stress how long you’ve been with the company and your excellent payment history.
• Spend an hour a week learning about personal finance. Once you start, you’ll find you’re learning so much, you’ll spend more than an hour exploring. Some free resources include the internet and the library. Look for a financially savvy individual, write up a list of questions, and ask if you can interview them. You may not have to look any further for this than your own family. Just one hour a week adds up to a lot of time over a few years: 52 hours your first year, and more than 200 hours during four years of college. “I’m fairly certain that is more time than 95 percent of other college students spend on learning personal money management,” Siegel says.
About Cary Siegel
Cary Siegel is a retired business executive. After earning his MBA from the University of Chicago, he began his career in brand management with Kraft and went on to lead several companies in marketing and sales. He wrote “Why Didn’t They Teach Me This in School? 99 Personal Money Management Principles to Live By,” whydidnttheyteachmethisinschool.com for his five teenage children. Following his personal money management principles allowed him to retire at the age of 45, and coach more than 40 of his children’s soccer, hockey and baseball teams. Siegel is a popular speaker on both marketing and personal money management.
Oh, my gosh, I can’t believe it was Thanksgiving since I’ve written. I’ve been really busy raising chickens. I’m the mamma and I watch over them with an eagle eye, knowing we have owls, foxes and any number of wildlife that would love to make an easy meal of my chickens.
My son was a big help building the pen and especially in cleaning it and keeping the birds fed and watered. He hasn’t really warmed up to them yet, but I suspect it’s because he knows I’m expecting him to kill them when the time comes. That time will be here sooner than I thought too.
It seems I bought four meat birds. They will be ready to butcher in 8-weeks. Not 8-weeks from now, but in 8-weeks total. Please don’t buy these birds. They grow so fast they can hardly walk, you can see their little hearts beating for all it’s worth. My heart goes out to these little creatures and I don’t think I’m going to let them get full size. I feel so badly for them, when I see they are suffering it will be time.
They are 4-weeks old now, I can’t believe how fast they grow in one day. I let them out in the yard when the cats in the house, they follow me around. I love to spend time outside with them. Not only am I providing fresh organic food for my family, I’m also fertilizing the lawn, so it can grow to support another batch of chickens. Nature renews itself over and over again.
In the process my spirit is renewed daily. I think the chickens are actually homeschooling me and I’m loving it.
I think Zack will enjoy the chickens once we determine who the layers will be. Right now we don’t even know how many roosters and hens we have. I can’t wait to find out. We are keeping one of the roosters, so I’ve been keeping a sharp eye out. I like what I see, except I’m so worried about those meat chickens. I wish I would not have gotten them.
This is a great school project, especially when you start incubating your own eggs. The pen and hutch are quite an investment. If you have access to the wood, the fencing is pretty cheap. The nice thing is you can build as they grow, when they are little all they need is water, food, and heat. You do have to be ready with the other things though, they do grow quickly.
How many times have you run out of a dire ingredient, only to realize it smack in the middle of preparing a major meal? With Thanksgiving coming up, one can’t afford to take those chances!
Sharing a lowdown of clever substitute ingredients for cooking emergencies, WearEver Pure Living’s expertise in all things cookware truly comes in handy for readers of any age prior to turkey day.
Check out the below tips from WearEver Pure Living for whipping up a large meal successfully and efficiently with everyday pantry items. Not only does Pure Living present safe advice, but they present safe, toxin-free cookware that leaves food healthier, not to mention professionally cooked (as the pans are heat-resistant up to 750).
WearEver Pure Living’s Thanksgiving Rescue Tips
Cooking Emergency 411:
- 1 cup honey = 1 1/4 cups sugar + 1/4 cup liquid,
- 1 cup whole milk = 1/2 cup evaporated milk + 1/2 cup water
- 1 tsp. lemon juice = 1/2 tsp. vinegar
- 1 cup butter = 1 cup margarine or 7/8 cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup yogurt = 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 Tbsp. flour (for thickening) = 1/2 Tbsp. cornstarch or 2 tsp. quick-cooking tapioca
- 1 cup buttermilk = 1 or 2 tbsp. lemon juice or vinegar plus enough milk to make 1 cup
- 1 Tbsp. fresh herbs = 1 tsp. dried herbs
- 1 square unsweetened chocolate = 3 Tbsp. cocoa plus 1 Tbsp. shortening
- 1 tsp. baking powder = 1/3 tsp. baking soda plus 1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
- 1 cup all-purpose flour = 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 cup brown sugar = 1 cup white sugar plus 2 Tbsp. molasses
- 1 egg = 1 heaping Tbsp. soy flour plus 1 Tbsp. water
- 1 cup self-rising flour = 1 cup all-purpose flour plus 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder and 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 tablespoon of dried minced onion = 1/4 cup raw minced onion