Raising Kids to Be Smart About Money

Young minds are programmed to absorb and copy the behaviors around them, which means the sooner you instill proper money management skills, the more prone your kids are to become mature and responsible stewards of their own cash-flow in the future.
“Becoming financially literate early in life is fundamentally important to your financial well-being as an adult,” says Micah Fraim, award-winning CPA and best-selling author.

“I was pinching pennies at five years old, calculating the cost of grocery items per ounce, refusing to buy expensive clothes unless they were on-sale and foregoing scoops of ice cream from the ice cream shop, so I could buy multiple gallons at the grocery store,” Fraim says. “Now as an adult, I still have that same mindset and live well below my means.”

The following kid-approved strategies help you teach the core tenets of being financially savvy; in terms they’ll understand and appreciate. Consider how you can use them to teach your little ones to be smart about money.

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Find Opportunities for Lessons

At some point, your child will inevitably deplete their allowance on impulse purchases, rather than holding out for the more expensive item they’ve been asking for. Instead of giving them more money, or buying it for them, use this as an opportunity to demonstrate that money is a finite resource, which must be allocated over an extended period. Once you spend, it’s gone until you can make more.

Have a conversation about what else they could have done with that money, or how much longer they would have needed to save to get the big-ticket item they wanted. Perhaps give an example of when you spent foolishly, or better yet, saved enough money to buy something important, like your house or car.

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Demonstrate that Income Is Earned

Chores are an easy way to teach children that money must be earned. This tangible incentive for contributing to your household shows them that have to work for what they want, and even do things they may not want to do—i.e. vacuuming and doing the dishes.

The concept of having to earn your money is a positive outcome of rewarding children financially for completing chores. However, some parents find that this method doesn’t necessarily teach money management, making it a bad way to teach children how to be smart about money. The key to avoiding the latter is the set-up.

Susan Borowski, mother and author for Money Crashers, shares how she set this up with her teenage son:

“As a contributing member of the family, my 13-year-old son is expected to do certain chores around the house for free. He can earn money for tackling larger tasks, many of which he can choose, some of which he cannot; the amount he earns depends on the difficulty of the task or how long it takes. This forces us to discuss money each time he takes on a larger task.”

This shows them that they have control over how much they earn, rather than it being a given.

Secondly, keep chores focused on money management with an app like Chore Monster so children can track what they’ve done and earned. This is an easy way to establish a record-keeping system, for both chores and allowance, seeing increases or decreases in money earned over time.

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Establish a Record-Keeping System

When your child is consistently earning allowance or money for chores, it’s important that they’re able to account for what happens with that money. The more emphasis you put on this piece of the earning, the more they’ll see the value of managing their funds. They’ll start to notice wasteful spending habits and identify which pitfalls to avoid during their next allowance payout.

Designate a folder where they can stockpile receipts and a notebook where they can track all purchases. This simple method of financial reporting is an ideal precursor to balancing a checkbook, analyzing bank statements, or creating a monthly budget.

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Use Visual Aids to Your Advantage

Although the “piggy bank” is a time-honored childhood favorite, this approach to money management doesn’t allow your child to see the positive outcome of their coin stashing. For a more functional alternative, use a transparent mason jar or clear plastic Tupperware container, both of which gives them an unobstructed view of the progressive financial increase that comes from diligent and habitual saving. This tool makes the abstract concept of saving easy to see and understand.

You can also open a bank account for older children. This gives them a chance to become familiar with bank statements, which act as a visual aid. Each time a new statement comes in, they can sit down and look at how much money was put into the bank account and how that’s changed month-over-month. Many banks now offer online portals, as well, where your children can see progress represented in bar and pie graphs; these may be easier to understand and digest.

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Encourage Them to Set a Savings Goal

There’s a sense of accomplishment and empowerment in reaching a goal with no shortcuts taken or assistance received. Channel this mindset when encouraging your child to practice economical behaviors. Next time they express interest in the latest gadget, suggest they purchase it themselves and develop a step-by-step plan together, so they feel equipped for the undertaking. This process of setting aside money with a specific goal in mind reinforces the gratification gained from being smart about money and purchasing the item without any help.

It’s never too early to start teaching your kids about how to be financially savvy. Too many people don’t learn about personal finance until it’s too late — like when they’re buried in student loans — so teaching these skills early on is important for setting your children up for success later in life.

 

 

 

Written By: Jessica Thiefels
Source: PBS

Best School Districts in Every State

© Wikipedia
© Wikipedia

Whether you’re starting a family, selling a home or choosing a new city to live and work in, the strength and reputation of an area’s public school district is of great importance.

StartClass sifted through data from the U.S. Department of Education and identified the best school district in every state (this list also includes Washington, D.C.). Each school district is evaluated using our Smart Rating system and scored on a scale from 1 to 100.

The ratings are primarily based off student math and reading proficiency on state assessment tests, with a few other institutional factors considered as well (i.e. student-teacher ratio, student discipline, etc.)

Each state’s selection for “Best School District” is determined by the highest average Smart Rating of all the schools in the district. Districts that have only one school or have charter schools were not included.

It’s important to note that each state defines the term “school district” differently. For example, Hawaii and Washington, D.C. each have just one school district for all schools in the state or territory. Other states have districts with a mix of school type—as in elementary schools, junior highs and high schools all together in the same school district.

Whether you’re thinking of moving to a new area, or you’re just curious about the best school district in your state, look no further: Here are the top school districts in each state, in order from lowest to highest Smart Rating.

#51. WASHINGTON, D.C.

District of Columbia Schools

Average School Smart Rating: 57

Number of Schools: 131

Top Schools: Janney Elementary, Deal Junior High School, Benjamin Banneker Academy High School

#50. HAWAII

Hawaii Department of Education

Average School Smart Rating: 61

Number of Schools: 288

Top Schools: Haleiwa Elementary School, Robert Louis Stevenson Middle School, Kealakehe High School, Lanai High & Elementary School

#49. DELAWARE

Caesar Rodney School District

Average School Smart Rating: 76

Number of Schools: 15

Top Schools: Nellie Hughes Stokes Elementary School, Dover Air Force Base Middle School, Caesar Rodney High School

#48. ALASKA

Valdez City School District

Average School Smart Rating: 80

Number of Schools: 3

Top Schools: Shades Hermon Hutchens Elementary, George H. Gilson Junior High School, Valdez High School

#47. FLORIDA

Gilchrist County School District

Average School Smart Rating: 81

Number of Schools: 6

Top Schools: Bell Elementary School, Trenton High School

#46. MARYLAND

Worcester County Public Schools

Average School Smart Rating: 83

Number of Schools: 14

Top Schools: Pocomoke Elementary School, Snow Hill Middle School, Snow Hill High School, Cedar Chapel Special School

#45. WEST VIRGINIA

Pendleton County Schools

Average School Smart Rating: 84

Number of Schools: 4

Top Schools: Brandywine Elementary School, Pendleton County Middle/High School

#44. NEVADA

Storey County School District

Average School Smart Rating: 86

Number of Schools: 4

Top Schools: Hugh Gallagher Elementary School, Virginia City Middle School, Virginia City High School

#43. WYOMING

Sheridan County School District #1

Average School Smart Rating: 86

Number of Schools: 7

Top Schools: Tongue River Elementary, Big Horn Middle School, Big Horn High School

#42. NORTH CAROLINA

Chapel Hill-Carrboro Schools

Average School Smart Rating: 88

Number of Schools: 20

Top Schools: Elizabeth Seawell Elementary School, Guy Phillips Middle School, East Chapel Hill High School

#41. UTAH

Park City School District

Average School Smart Rating: 88

Number of Schools: 13

Top Schools: Jeremy Ranch Elementary School, Ecker Hill Middle School, Park City High School, Treasure Mountain Junior High School

#40. SOUTH CAROLINA

York 04 School District

Average School Smart Rating: 89

Number of Schools: 13

Top Schools: Gold Hill Elementary School, Gold Hill Middle School, Nation Ford High School

#39. GEORGIA

Schley County School District

Average School Smart Rating: 90

Number of Schools: 2

Top Schools: Schley County Elementary School, Schley Middle High School

#38. LOUISIANA

West Feliciana Parish School District

Average School Smart Rating: 90

Number of Schools: 4

Top Schools: Bains Elementary School ,West Feliciana Middle School, West Feliciana High School

#37. OKLAHOMA

Chisholm Public School District

Average School Smart Rating: 90

Number of Schools: 3

Top Schools: Chisholm Elementary, Chisholm Middle School, Chisholm High School

#36. WASHINGTON

Mercer Island School District

Average School Smart Rating: 91

Number of Schools: 5

Top Schools: West Mercer Elementary School, Islander Middle School, Mercer Island High School

#35. SOUTH DAKOTA

Wall School District 51-5

Average School Smart Rating: 91

Number of Schools: 4

Top Schools: Wall Elementary School, Wall Middle School, Wall High School

#34. TENNESSEE

Williamson County Schools

Average School Smart Rating: 91

Number of Schools: 41

Top Schools: Trinity Elementary School, Brentwood Middle School, Fred J. Page High School

#33. NORTH DAKOTA

Wyndmere 42 School District

Average School Smart Rating: 91

Number of Schools: 2

Top Schools: Wyndmere Elementary School, Wyndmere High School

#32. ARKANSAS

Valley Springs School District

Average School Smart Rating: 92

Number of Schools: 3

Top Schools: Valley Springs Elementary School, Valley Springs Middle School, Valley Springs High School

#31. INDIANA

Carmel Clay Schools

Average School Smart Rating: 92

Number of Schools: 15

Top Schools: Towne Meadow Elementary School, Clay Middle School, Carmel High School

#30. VERMONT

Stowe School District

Average School Smart Rating: 92

Number of Schools: 2

Top Schools: Stowe Elementary School, Stowe Middle/High School

#29. IDAHO

Moscow School District

Average School Smart Rating: 92

Number of Schools: 9

Top Schools: Lena Whitmore Elementary School, Moscow Junior High School, Moscow Senior High School

#28. MISSISSIPPI

Pass Christian Public School District

Average School Smart Rating: 93

Number of Schools: 4

Top Schools: Delisle Elementary School, Pass Christian Middle School, Pass Christian High School

#27. VIRGINIA

West Point Public Schools

Average School Smart Rating: 93

Number of Schools: 4

Top Schools: West Point Elementary School, West Point Middle School, West Point High School

#26. ARIZONA

Tanque Verde Unified School District

Average School Smart Rating: 93

Number of Schools: 4

Top Schools: Agua Caliente Elementary School, Emily Gray Junior High School, Tanqu Verde High School

#25. COLORADO

Ouray School District R-1

Average School Smart Rating: 93

Number of Schools: 4

Top Schools: Ouray Elementary School, Ouray Middle School, Ouray High School

#24. IOWA

Gilbert Community School District

Average School Smart Rating: 93

Number of Schools: 3

Top Schools: Gilbert Elementary School Gilbert Middle School Gilbert High School

#23. WISCONSIN

Mequon-Thiensville School District

Average School Smart Rating: 93

Number of Schools: 6

Top Schools: Oriole Lane Elementary School, Steffen Middle School, Homestead High School

#22. KENTUCKY

Beechwood Independent School District

Average School Smart Rating: 93

Number of Schools: 2

Top Schools: Beechwood Elementary School, Beechwood High School

#21. CONNECTICUT

Westport School District

Average School Smart Rating: 94

Number of Schools: 9

Top Schools: King’s Highway Elementary School, Coleytown Middle School, Staples High School

#20. MICHIGAN

East Grand Rapids Public Schools

Average School Smart Rating: 94

Number of Schools: 4

Top Schools: Wealthy Elementary School, East Grand Rapids Middle School, East Grand Rapids High School

#19. MASSACHUSETTS

Acton-Boxborough Regional School District

Average School Smart Rating: 94

Number of Schools: 2

Top Schools: Raymond J. Grey Junior High School, Acton-Boxborough Regional High School

#18. NEW HAMPSHIRE

Hollis/Brookline Coop School District

Average School Smart Rating: 94

Number of Schools: 2

Top Schools: Hollis-Brookline Middle School, Hollis-Brookline High School

#17. MAINE

Yarmouth Schools

Average School Smart Rating: 94

Number of Schools: 4

Top Schools: Yarmouth Elementary School, Frank H. Harrison Middle School, Yarmouth High School

#16. MINNESOTA

Mahtomedi Public School District

Average School Smart Rating: 94

Number of Schools: 6

Top Schools: O.H. Anderson Elementary School, Mahtomedi Middle School, Mahtomedi Senior High School

#15. NEW YORK

Jericho Union Free School District

Average School Smart Rating: 94

Number of Schools: 5

Top Schools: Cantiague Elementary School Elementary School, Jericho Middle School, Jericho High School

#14. NEW MEXICO

Los Alamos Public Schools

Average School Smart Rating: 94

Number of Schools: 7

Top Schools: Pinon Elementary School, Los Alamos Middle School, Los Alamos High School

#13. ALABAMA

Homewood City Schools

Average School Smart Rating: 95

Number of Schools: 5

Top Schools: Shades Cahaba Elementary School, Homewood Middle School, Homewood High School

#12. MONTANA

Anderson Elementary School District

Average School Smart Rating: 95

Number of Schools: 2

Top Schools: Anderson Elementary School, Anderson 7-8 Middle School

#11. KANSAS

De Soto School District

Average School Smart Rating: 95

Number of Schools: 12

Top Schools: Riverview Elementary, Lexington Trails Middle School, Mill Valley High School

#10. ILLINOIS

Northbrook/Glenview School District 30

Average School Smart Rating: 95

Number of Schools: 4

Top Schools: Wescott Elementary School, Maple Middle School

#9. MISSOURI

School District of Clayton

Average School Smart Rating: 95

Number of Schools: 6

Top Schools: Meramec Elementary School, Wydown Middle School, Clayton High School

#8. PENNSYLVANIA

Unionville-Chadds Ford School District

Average School Smart Rating: 95

Number of Schools: 6

Top Schools: Hillendale Elementary School, Charles F. Patton Middle School, Unionville High School

#7. RHODE ISLAND

Jamestown Schools

Average School Smart Rating: 96

Number of Schools: 2

Top Schools: Jamestown School-Melrose Elementary, Jamestown School-Lawn Middle School

#6. OHIO

Ottawa Hills Local School District

Average School Smart Rating: 96

Number of Schools: 2

Top Schools: Ottawa Hills Elementary School, Ottawa Hills High School

#5. TEXAS

Lovejoy Independent School District

Average School Smart Rating: 96

Number of Schools: 8

Top Schools: Robert L. Puster Elementary School, Soan Creek Middle School, Lovejoy High School

#4. NEBRASKA

Creighton Community Public Schools

Average School Smart Rating: 96

Number of Schools: 2

Top Schools: Chreighton Elementary School, Creighton Community High School

#3. CALIFORNIA

Hillsborough City Elementary School District

Average School Smart Rating: 97

Number of Schools: 4

Top Schools: North Hillsborough Elementary School, Crocker Middle School

#2. NEW JERSEY

Mendham Township School District

Average School Smart Rating: 97

Number of Schools: 2

Top Schools: Mendham Township Elementary School, Mendham Township Middle School

#1. OREGON

Lake Oswego School District 7J

Average School Smart Rating: 97

Number of Schools: 12

Top Schools: Hallinan Elementary School, Lake Oswego Junior High School, Lakeridge High School

Written by Nick Selbe of FindTheBest.com

(Source: MSN)