Prevent This: Not Benefiting From 100 Years’ Experience

We’re back in the blogging saddle after a month’s hiatus working on a submission to a competition for non-profits. Wish us luck. During that time, Tonya’s grandmother turned 100 years old. When asked what the most important thing today’s parents could do for their children was, Tonya’s Gram, who has no idea at all about her work on the Gifting Sense project, gave an answer she couldn’t wait to share with us: “…it is very important children learn how to handle money”! It turns out that this particular Centenarian (Lorraine is her name) was a Realtor in the 1960s and 1970s, and saw first-hand what happened to young people who were unable to live within their means.

When Tonya asked her Grandmother, who has three grown children, eight grandchildren and four great-grandchildren what the most important thing parents could do for their children was, believe it or not, she was surprised at the answer: “You know what I think honey? I think it is very important children to learn how to handle money.”

Lorraine spoke about how in her day, no one would dare spend more than one week’s take-home pay on housing when buying or renting a home. This translates into 25% of after-tax monthly income – in line with today’s conservative recommendations – but not today’s actual practices – where most first-time buyers are approved for housing costs equal to 35% (or more) of their pre-tax monthly income. Lorraine and her husband’s first home was a rented bungalow, at a cost of $18.00 a month.

We believe that children who grow up discussing things like the total cost of going to a professional sporting event (e.g. including the safe transportation, snack and souvenir costs) or the cost-per-use of a item (15 cents every time you pick up that new iphone 7), are children who will become financially literate and responsible adults. It’s why we built a free, safe service that helps parents teach their kids to think before they buy, or ask someone else to buy on their behalf.

This upcoming holiday season, we hope you’ll encourage your kids to use our DIMS (Does It Make Sense) Score Calculators and Gift Surveys to “thoughtfully prefer” one more meaningful gift. We hope you will let your kids forward the pdf summary of all the math and thinking that has gone into “thoughtfully preferring” that one more meaningful gift, to all the family members who normally buy for them. (Gift Survey summaries were in fact designed to be an organic crowd-funding tool, for wish-list items too expensive for one person to pay for. They can be printed off, e-mailed, or shared via social media.)

By doing so, you’ll be ensuring that no one wastes time or money buying gifts that might end up in landfills. You’ll be giving your kids quick but meaningful lessons in spending wisely. You’ll be giving out-of-town family members a chance to get to know their grandchildren, nieces or nephews better. And, as an added bonus, you’ll be benefiting from 100 years of living, which just last month concluded that financial literacy is still one of the best gifts you can ever give the young people in your life.

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