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Blog: Minimizing Financial Clutter
Teach Your Children Financial Organization

My youngest child is about to graduate from college.  (I became a mother at a very young age.)  I am so proud of the accomplished and responsible young woman Meredith has become.  Nevertheless, as she prepares to leave her childhood home for good, I can't help but feel some concern that I didn't equip her to manage her money. 
Maybe it is because of all of the mortgage foreclosures in today's headlines.  Maybe it is because of the rampant credit card debt among young people.  Maybe it's just "mother guilt" and worry that I've had a couple of decades to hone to a fine art.  Guilt aside, if Meredith were a little girl again, I would do some things differently.  I would teach her to organize her finances at every stage of her life.
Pre-school Finances
My parents kept two coin banks in their kitchen, and designated one for each of their grandchildren.  They would put their pocket change in those banks, making sure that each bank had exactly the same amount of money in it.  When Meredith and her big brother, Greg, would visit them, they would eagerly open their banks, sort their coins by type (an organizer's dream come true!), and count how much money they had "earned".  I know that this is a special memory for my children.
When we arrived back home, however, their treasures were sucked up into the black holes that they called their bedrooms.  Their dresser drawers were full of baggies of coins.  When they needed money, they simply raided their stash.  (True confession:  I admit to "borrowing" parking meter money from them on more than one occasion.)
If I could turn back time, I would do things differently.
Budgets for Babies?
From an early age, we can teach our children to create a strategy for the use of their money.  It involves understanding your own priorities that you want to pass along to them, and setting up systems to make sure that they can put those priorities into action.  One simple strategy we could have easily used for our children's money was the 50-40-10 strategy:
Create 3 separate containers for each child.  Make them different sizes and different colors or shapes.
  • 50% of their income goes to the Savings container, to eventually be deposited in a savings account
  • 40% goes into the Spending container for discretionary spending (within parental guidelines)
  • 10% of their income goes to the Charity container, to be given to a cause that your family believes in
Imagine the precedent you would set for your child for the rest of his or her life! 
  • Living within your means
  • Saving for the future
  • Sharing with others who are less fortunate
Could teaching our children financial organization help eliminate some of the financial problems of this world?  Yes.  I think it could.

posted on: 4/20/2008 11:30:00 AM by Katherine Trezise
category: Finances

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Minimizing Financial Clutter

by Katherine Trezise

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About Katherine:

Katherine Trezise is president of Absolutely Organized, based in Baltimore, MD. She is president-elect of the National Study Group on Chronic Disorganization. Katherine holds a masters degree in business administration, is a Certified Professional Organizer® and a Certified Professional Organizer in Chronic Disorganization®. Absolutely Organized specializes in helping people organize their homes, paperwork and financial records to make room in their lives for the things, people and activities that are most important to them.

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