Long-time readers may remember my first financial lesson came from the rough-and-tumble suburban streets in North Carolina on a hot summer’s morning. To make all my journalism professors happy, I can condense an 800+ word story into a few sentences: As an enterprising seven-year-old, I set up a doughnut stand during my mother’s yard sale. My father backed my business by fronting the money for supplies. After I sold out and made a nice little profit, he shocked me by taking part of my funds to cover the start up cost as well as pay my younger sister for being an employee.
This moment started a lifelong quest to understand money: how to make it, how to save it and how to invest it.
Betraying over-indulged millennials everywhere, I’m a strong advocate for tough love, especially when it comes to money. This is one of the many reasons I’ve always been enamored with Shannon Ryan of The Heavy Purse.
Shannon, herself a graduate of tough-financial-love school, is a force to be reckoned with in the field of financial literacy. She’s truly passionate about teaching children (her own and others) to understand money and helping parents learn how to create a financially literate generation.
She recently came out with a children’s book called The Lemonade Stand to help explain financial concepts like net profit, charitable giving, saving, budgeting and fairly distributing profits. Much like my Dad, Shannon didn’t shy away from teaching her kids how to handle money at a young age by treating them maturely. She too requires they pay her back for funding their entrepreneurial endeavors.
I started smiling as soon as I flipped the first page of The Lemonade Stand. My Dad would’ve loved to have a bedtime like this, instead of having to read Little Girls Wiser Than Men from The Book of Virtues for the millionth time (I had a feminist streak at a really young age).
Shannon does a great job of simplifying basic financial concepts to make them accessible to kids, without dumbing down the content. I wouldn’t be surprised if this book creates a huge surge in lemonade stands summer. Hopefully the parents can handle fulfilling their part and taking money from their babies.
How do other parents respond to the methods your using to teach your daughters financial responsibility?
Overall, very well. It’s interesting because children and money is unfortunately an overlooked topic and missed opportunity for most parents. Whenever I speak at group settings, I have so many people approach me afterwards with a ton of questions because they now see the importance of teaching kids about money. And I love it when I get emails from parents telling me their children have their save, spend and share jars set-up. One young girl went to the bank to open her first savings account and the bank teller asked her what she does with her money. She said, “The 3 S’s, of course – save, spend and share!” LOVE it!
What has been your proudest moment as a mom watching her daughters become financially responsible?
There are so many! A couple that come to mind is how much my girls have embraced sharing. Lauren took to it right away, but Taylor did not want to share. I didn’t want to force her because I wanted her to love sharing and not see it as an obligation. After she experienced firsthand how good it felt to share through our family share goal and saw how much her big sister loves sharing, she was ready to try it. And now she loves sharing. I think we, as parents, sometimes overlook sharing, and it’s such an important mindset to develop in our kids. It definitely helps prevent that entitled mindset from forming too. I am also really proud of how much the girls love earning money. In fact, it is very rare these days for them to ask to buy them something they find at the store. Instead they ask me for more ways to earn money so they can buy it themselves. Music to my ears.
How old should a child be when their parents parents should start teaching him or her lessons about money?
I believe parents should start talking to their kids when they are toddlers, around 3 years old. Now this often surprises parents. I don’t think you should start talking to them about your investment portfolio, but toddlers, in particular, are watching and mimicking you, including how you handle money. They are very sensitive to your emotions and take your words very literally too. At this stage, it’s more about being a good financial role model and being mindful of your words and actions around money. Plus it also makes everyone comfortable with the topic of money and sets the stage for when they are older and those conversations deepen.
The Lemonade Stand – iPad Mini Giveaway
July 14-31, 2014
Sponsored by The Heavy Purse
Co-hosted by Are Ya Gonna Eat That, Broke Millennial, Budget and The Beach, Budget Blonde, Budgeting for More, Busy Mom Budgets, Cash Cow Couple, Cents and Sensibility, Club Thrifty, Color Me Frugal, Debt Debs, Debt Roundup, Disease Called Debt, Eat Laugh Purr, Enemy of Debt, Eyes on the Dollar, Femme Frugality, Financially Blonde, Frugal Rules, Living Richly Cheaply, Luke 1428, Making Sense of Cents, Money Saving Dude, Monster Piggy Bank, Not Now Mom’s Busy, Reach Financial Independence, Shoeaholic No More, Stacking Benjamins, Tackling Our Debt, The Broke and Beautiful Life, The Finance Girl, The Frugal Farmer, The Random Path, Thrifty Dad, VeegMama, and Young Adult Money.
We’re Giving Away an iPad Mini to One Lucky Reader!
Help us celebrate the release of The Lemonade Stand and join Shannon in her mission to increase financial literacy in both children and adults. Broke Millenial readers can receive $3.00 off The Lemonade Stand with the coupon code TOUR3114.
“Everyone handles money. Unfortunately, not everyone does it with confidence. Money has long been a taboo topic in many homes, which makes it even harder for parents to know where to start or what to teach. So I created a series of children books to help parents ease into these important conversations. Financial literacy is one of the most loving gifts you can give your children, and I encourage you to make money conversations a priority in your home.”
The giveaway runs from July 14-31, 2014 and is open worldwide.*
* A winner located outside of the United States will receive a cash equivalent prize via PayPal.