*This is a repost of ablog we shared earlier this year. When we changed our from our previous provider to our current provider, it was one of the blogs that didn't get transfered over. Hope you enjoy!
Not too long ago, we had to sit down with our #1 and #2 and have the Money Talk. With both boys now working, it was time to open their first checking accounts. So, I (Jay) took them both down to our bank to get them started.
Each opened a checking account and ordered their first ATM/Debit card. We waited for everything to come in before with set up any online banking. (We do just about everything through online banking. And since this will be the way of banking in the future, I want to make sure our kids are comfortable with the online system.)
So Saturday, their first checks arrived. I sat down we each of them to begin helping them start their checkbook registry and how to properly record and keep their accounts accurate. With the assistance of online banking, it's pretty easy.
But as I was sitting there, working with each of them, I couldn't help but realize how we continue to cross those major milestones in life. Now here we are talking about personal finance. Which is comical for me, because good personal financial habits were once something we lacked. Early on in our marriage, we worried less about how well we kept records. For the longest time Amy kept the money. When we went into full-time ministry, I started keeping the accounts. There were a lot of mistakes made in those early years. We weren't very smart with our credit, falling into the trap of "the more cards you have, the better off you were." We also gave into the lie that said as long as we were paying our minimal required payments we were okay. (I will confess, these mistakes were mostly mine.) At the time we were too busy watching how others around us were living and did our best to keep up with them.
But we have come a long, long way. A number of years ago we finally saw how much debt (and it really wasn't that much) we were carrying and how it prevented us from doing something we wanted to do. We were also introduced to Dave Ramsey, and his Total Money Makeover book. (Thanks again, Dawn.) I (Jay) devoured the book and committed that we were going to live debt-free.
Well, it took some time, and a couple tax-refunds, but we did reach a point where we were debt-free, minus a mortgage and a car payment. We also managed to pull off a series birthdays and holidays without going back into debt. Yep, we did it all with cash. (To this day, we still celebrate cash only Christmases.)
Sadly, we can't say that we never made any further mistakes. When we moved back to Canonsburg, we quickly found ourselves with more month and money, which led to some credit card usage and some unfortunate debt. I know, lame. But God has been so faithful, and we have once again almost reached a place where we will again be debt-free!
But here's where I am going with this. As we think about our kids, we want them to do better than we did when it comes to person finances. We realized that no one ever really sat down with us as young adults or as a young couple to show or teach good and healthy budgeting, spending or savings. We sometimes wonder, would we have done thing different had someone come along side of us to help? Or, had we known about Dave Ramsey way back in 1996, would we have avoided certain poor decisions that affected our financial status?
Maybe. Maybe not. But what we do realize is, we can do something for our kids. We can help them learn from our mistakes. And we can invest a little more into their personal financial planning. (At least while they are living under our roof.) And that is what we intend to do.
So, we have begun having the Money Talk. The Money Talk is simple. It's an ongoing discussion about finances and spending habits. We share what we have learned, the mistakes we've made, and how we have at time had to go without because we didn't manage our finances with good stewardship. As we talk we discuss the importance of budgeting, saving, spending, and giving. As our kids enter into the work force, they will be require to budget their spending, plan for their savings, and be generous in their giving.
As part of the Money Talk, we will also share with them a number of really helpful financial resources and tools. (Of course we will share some of these resources with you here on the blog.) With these tools we hope to encourage our kids not to make the same mistakes we made when we started out. In showing them how dumb debt is, we hope that they will avoid the crazy credit card debt that many adults wrestle with. We want them to know the feeling of paying for something with cash, and the pleasure of saving instead of guilt-filled impulse buying.
And while I sometimes think, I'm really not the one to be teaching this, I am reminded that grace reaches just as far as into the checking account as it does the sinners heart. Not to mention the accountability I now have know that I have to practice what I preach in terms of finances.
So begins another new chapter of parenting life; teaching the kids wise financial planning. Scary stuff.
- the higham family
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