“In the long run, we shape our lives, and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
Last Friday I released my 12th Episode of Wine and Dime! I look forward to all of my guests, but this one touched a place in my heart and soul because it was about financial education for our youth. This is an area of great passion for me personally; I can’t wrap my head around why financial education isn’t a class that is required each year, just like math, science, etc. Please take the time to listen to this episode and share it with friends and family – as a community let’s start a movement to make financial education just as important as the traditional education subjects, it is a skill we use for the rest of our lives!
In addition to the podcast, we hope you enjoy the following guest blog from Laura Coleman, who you will hear on the podcast. Laura is the Program Director for Common Cents and Wallet Wellness. You can learn more about Common Cents Financial Literacy, Inc. by going to their website: http://www.ccfli.org/.
Once you have listened to this podcast, I think you will understand why I chose this week’s quote and why I am so impressed with what Common Cents is doing – they are shaping many lives!
Common Cents Financial Literacy, Inc.
Working with students age 16 – 22 to develop positive financial habits
Our childhood experiences with money greatly affect how we view money as adults. Can you remember your first experience with money? I remember as a kid going to a summer bible school because my mom needed a break from all of us, even though we didn’t go to church there. Afterwards my mom would take us to a local swimming hole and we would enjoy the hot, muggy summer weather while basking in lukewarm water. Right across the street was a candy store. She would give us a quarter to go and buy candy. It was like the Mecca of candy stores to me. I would look at each piece of candy thoughtfully, wondering what each piece would taste like. I would often settle on a red lollipop ring. I can almost see your head nodding in understanding as if to say, “Oh yes, I’ve had one of those.” I got the ring pop because I loved to pretend that I was married or I had a boyfriend named Charles.
What I never learned is the value of that ring pop? A quarter wasn’t very much money at the time, but what did it cost my parents? What was the true value? I’m talking about time. We often forget that the things we buy have a time value attached to them. When you start associating the value of time to the things you buy, then you start thinking differently.
For example, you could buy an Apple watch at Wal-Mart for around $200. You could rationalize and say, that’s really not that much. I could put it on my credit card and make payments for 4 months. I can afford $50 a month. (I conveniently forgot to think about the interest that I’m going to pay of 29%, but for our example we’ll forgive you for not thinking about it.) Let’s put the interest aside for a minute and think about that $200, but use time as the currency.
You work at Wal-Mart and you earn $10 an hour. (Here’s a little math for you.) That’s 20 hours of work or if you work part time; one week of your life. Is that the true value of your time? Of course not! You have to get to work, which is 15 minutes to and from work. That’s 2.5 more hours of time. We haven’t even calculated lunch or cost of clothes for work or breaks. When you look at the cost of an item related to time, suddenly that item looks really expensive. We begin to ask ourselves, “Do I want this or need this?”
That ring pop may have only cost 25 cents, but the true cost was the amount of time it took my Dad to earn it. It comes down to values and priorities. My Dad valued his six children and their happiness. He didn’t over indulge us, but he looked at the cost and said, “Does this cost equal the benefits”. As you look at the things you purchase, determine if their worth is equal to the value of your time.
At Common Cents, these are the kind of lessons and discussions we have with our students about becoming financially independent and making wise financial decisions. If we can help them avoid the common pitfalls that we all faced when we were younger, they'll be able to reach their dreams faster with less stress!
We recently had the opportunity to discuss our programs with Amy Irvine on her Wine and Dime podcast. We hope you'll come back and join us for the great conversation.