I want to take you back in time to being a college student. Not just the days of being a young eager to learn and take on the world college student. If you were like me you were probably focusing on classes, living on a shoestring budget, working a low paying work study job or doing a summer internship. I have no shame in admitting I was a young broke college student.
Now I want you to think about that time when you got your first real job after graduating college.
You may have felt accomplished, thinking those long hours studying had all been worth it.
Think about that first job offer letter you got and how you were no longer making minimum wage but you finally had a real salary. What was the first thing you decided to do to celebrate your big accomplishment?
Well, let me tell you what I did. I marched my 20 yr old self down to the Lexus dealership, walked into the show room and told the sales lady I want to test drive a brand new 2002 Lexus IS 300. 6 months after graduating from college I purchased a brand new 2002 black Lexus IS 300, black leather interior, with a stick shift. Because if you are going to drive a sports car it has to be a stick shift.
My first salaried job after graduating in 2001, I thought I was making decent money for a 20 yr old college grad making about $50K a year as a software engineer. I had finally made it, I had arrived. But you know what else started to arrive, those college loan payments.
Needless to say, as a young 20 yr old, I probably could have made smarter choices with my money rather than taking out a loan on a $30K luxury car given I didn’t have a substantial amount of savings and still had to pay off my college student loans. It pains me to admit, I made a lot of financial mistakes early in life. As a result, I had to teach myself about personal finance and how to be smarter with my money.
In addition to my formal education I decided to embark on a quest for personal finance education so I could learn more about the difference between assets and liabilities.
One of the things I learned over the years, that no matter how much formal education you receive, more than likely how you handle your personal finances will largely be based on what you learn from your parents.
And for me, growing up, my dad did not have a college degree and my mom was a first generation college student who studied education, so I did not grow up having regular conversations about investing in the stock market, building a real estate portfolio, and other ways to grow your net worth.
And I believe, if while growing up my parents had a mechanism to facilitate ongoing personal finance lessons in order to teach me more about financial literacy I think I would have been more equipped to make smarter financial decisions earlier in life.
Now, 20 years later I have 3 kids, an 11 yr old daughter, a 8 yr old daughter and a 6 yr old son.
And like most parents, I’m trying to figure out how to help them avoid some of the mistakes I made early in my life. How can I equip them with the tools they need so they are more prepared later in life to make smarter financial decisions than I did?
So, last year I took the family to the NC state fair. As we are walking around, enjoying the rides, eating cotton candy, chomping on turkey legs, trying out the fried twinkies. We get to the area where all the vendors with concession stands are set up and we get to this one concession stand where they are selling these fidget spinners and fidget poppers. These are all the craze among the 10 yr old girls these days. And my 10 yr old daughter is asking me if I can buy her these fidget poppers. As much as I just want to buy my daughter anything she asks for, I also want to help her learn some early financial lessons that I think will benefit her later in life.
So I told her, well if you really want to get the fidget poppers then you will need to use your allowance money to purchase them.
And the minute I said that, I could tell she instantly started doing the mental math of the price of the poppers and how much allowance money she had and decided she would hold off on getting the poppers.
After I told her that she had to use her own allowance she started paying more attention to the prices and stopped asking me to buy the poppers. And that's the purpose of providing an allowance to children. To teach the child about the value of money and financial responsibility.
Which is why we are launching Kiddie Kapital, a financial literacy app that teaches kids interactively how to earn and manage money, helping them develop strong healthy habits in spending, saving and giving back to charity.
Personal finances are not taught in school. Currently there are only 5 states that require a personal finance class in order to graduate from high school. Research shows that 78% of families live paycheck to paycheck due to lack of personal finance skills. Another research survey done by the Association of International CPA’s, showed that 92% of parents believe it is very important for children to understand how to manage money
Kiddie Kapital is going to help parents teach their kids the value of hard work, the importance of personal finance, and the value of social responsibility.