Why Women Don’t Ask

Although the wage gap between men and women has been widely publicized, it hasn’t narrowed much in a decade.

In article, The Simple Truth about the Gender Pay Gap (Spring 2015) the author says:

“In 2013, among full-time, year-round workers, women were paid 78 percent of what men were paid.”

Research as to why women get paid less shows multiple reasons. They don’t try to train for the high paying jobs. They have to take time out from their career to bear and (usually) raise the children. They work more part time jobs than men. They don’t ask for higher pay or more opportunities or promotions. Sometimes they don’t even think about what they could want or ask to receive.

Linda Babcock is one of those researchers. She has written a couple of books:

  • Ask for It – How Women Can Use the Power of Negotiation to Get What They Really Want and
  • Women Don’t Ask: Negotiation and the Gender Divide

Her findings indicate that men will ask for what they want much more often than women. On the Lange Money Hour radio show, she explores how this can hurt the female half of a couple when it comes to family finances. For example, if the husband is running the finances (which is true in many couples) and he decides to take a risk with the money, it can end up devastating the family finances. Many women won’t ask their spouse to consider a different approach. When they do, they sometimes suffer for it.

In my own family, a sister-in-law spoke up when her spouse wanted to use the college funds they had saved to send their 4 sons through school to carry a real estate investment through the 2010 recession. They fought over it and he ended up suing her for divorce.

Another situation might be when the man decides to take his social security as early as allowed (age 62), instead of waiting until full retirement age. Since women typically outlive men by 5 – 10 years or so, and since currently the wife can get benefits from her husband’s social security (and vice versa) in many cases, the reduced benefit he gets by taking early social security can affect her ability to live comfortably after he dies.

Women are afraid to ask.

I know that throughout my own life, I have been afraid to ask for what I want and sometimes have even felt that I don’t deserve to even think about having what I want.

I was raised to be a ‘nice girl’, to be considerate of others, to always be polite, not to yell, not to be selfish, to always be of service. After I married, I noticed that my spouse had no trouble at all speaking up for what he wanted, but when I did, there were arguments and anger and resentment. It didn’t take long to quell any thoughts of going after what I wanted.

Why are women afraid to ask?

Other research, reported in Winning Negotiations: Why Women Don’t Ask expands on that concept.

Jean Clemons is a management communications teacher at Wharton. She says:

“Women are afraid that asking for what they want will make them appear negative, aggressive or pushy.”

Guess what? There is a good reason they are afraid of that. The article goes on to say:

“Michelle Madhok, founder and CEO of SheFinds Media, an online media company that publishes editorial websites about shopping for busy professional women, pointed out that women’s concern that they will appear in a negative light is somewhat justified.

Research shows that women tend to get labeled “arrogant” or “abrasive” much more readily than men, she said.”

Another article: Nice Girls Don’t Ask states that:

“Women often don’t get what they want and deserve because they don’t ask for it.”

They agree with me that it may be partly due to our upbringing, saying:

“First, they often are socialized from an early age not to promote their own interests and to focus instead on the needs of others. The messages girls receive—from parents, teachers, other children, the media, and society in general—can be so powerful that when they grow up they may not realize that they’ve internalized this behavior, or they may realize it but not understand how it affects their willingness to negotiate. Women tend to assume that they will be recognized and rewarded for working hard and doing a good job. Unlike men, they haven’t been taught that they can ask for more.”

“Women who assertively pursue their own ambitions and promote their own interests may be labeled as bitchy or pushy. They frequently see their work devalued and find themselves ostracized or excluded from access to important information. These responses from women’s colleagues and supervisors may not be conscious or part of any concerted effort to “hold women back.” More typically, they’re a product of society’s ingrained expectations about how women should act.”

My theory.

How the heck did this kind of socialization get embedded in our society? I think it dates back to the dawn of time, and to our physical makeups.

Most of earth’s populations developed as patriarchal societies. Men ran things. Why? I think it was because they were physically stronger. I think it was because they beat weaker beings into submission, through verbal and actual physical means. I think it was because women were forced into dependency during childbirth and breastfeeding and were pregnant much of their adult lives due to lack of effective and viable birth control measures.

Because of these things, women learned to modify their behavior simply to survive and ensure the survival of their children. They passed along what they learned to both sons and daughters. Their men passed along the idea that it was OK to ask and demand as well as dominate. A societal culture was created that favored men, that made them feel free to ask for ( or even demand) what they wanted. That same culture taught women that they were at the mercy of men and that they must subjugate their right to ask so that they and their offspring could survive. In time, it became the norm.

Although women’s ability to function independently has risen with the change in society to enable women to become bread winners and to be shed of the constant cycle of pregnancy to which we were previously enslaved, men can still threaten and dominate – and some do.

Speaking up to ask for what women want is not easy when, deep down, we know that we can and probably will be yelled at or punished for doing so. It is nearly impossible for those unfortunate women who still suffer physical and mental abuse from the men in their lives.

Yet knowing the reasons and understanding the cultural role played in causing women not to ask for what they want and need can help us all learn a new lesson.

Realizing that is really is OK and normal for all of us to state our position and ask for what we want frees our minds and sets us on the path toward full utilization of all our human resources.

We need to stop teaching our children that women shouldn’t ask.

For my daughter-in-laws and my granddaughter.

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Grandma Rie’s 2015 Money Camp Plans

Teaching the next generation to successfully handle money and personal finances is normally a family responsibility. Although parents bear much of the burden to teach, train and model good personal finance, extended family members can also contribute.

Although my grown children do very well in the personal finance arena, they learned from us by osmosis, without any special or formal training by my spouse or I. When they presented me with grandchildren, I vowed that I would take an active part in teaching financial literacy to them.

As a result, I started a one week ‘Grandma Rie’s Money Camp’ in 2011 and held our fourth annual one this year.

Background.

This year’s camp will held just for the two grandchildren, a boy just 11 and a girl almost 8. My grandchildren’s other Grandma will participate with me in this years camp.

Long range planning

Earlier this year, I sat down and thought about the long range goals of our Money Camp. Before I know it the kids will be teens and not very interested in going to a Grandma camp with their precious time. However, as long as there is interest I plan to continue.

From basic concepts about currency identification and value to more esoteric topics such as the psychology of money, I jotted down the things I felt were important to pass along to our next generation. I gleaned some of my ideas from books such as The Young Investor by Katherine R. Bateman, Raising Financially Fit Kids by Joline Godfrey and Granddad’s Money Camp by Dr. George H. Meyers. Other’s came from discussions in our family meeting about what our family values are and still others from things I felt I had lacked or had neglected to teach my own children before they grew up.

Some of the items, for example, include:

  • How to deal with a windfall
  • Conceptual and practical information on investing
  • A heavy focus on saving
  • Exploration of and encouragement to have financial independence
  • How to negotiate
  • Getting a loan, buying a car or house
  • All about insurance
  • Tax education
  • more…

I ran my topics past the parents and then divided them up into categories and figured out at what age I want to cover each.

This year

Since saving is such an important value in our family, I intend to spend an additional day reviewing what we did last year, when the main focus was on saving.

Then we will dive into some practical skills. We will cover things like practice making change, when why and how to use a budget.

We’ll explore what adult members of our family do for a living as well as what other kids are doing right now to earn money or have a business.

I’ll continue to help them learn about investing by reading books (including Stock Market Pie), having them look through samples of annual reports, do a scavenger hunt to find companies who make things around home.

We will continue to learn about self employment and entrepreneurship (which I encourage because I want them to consider the possibility of NOT working for someone else all their lives). We will read Once Upon a Company – a true story about kids who earned money for college by opening a Christmas wreath making company; Benji – Kid Zillionaire – a 5th grade level book about a boy who wrote an App and made a bunch of money; and The Toothpaste Millionaire – about kids who made and sold millions of dollars worth of toothpaste.

Then we will play a board game I made up called Toothpaste Millions which helps kids learn about how decisions they make affect the growth of a business.

We are also going to watch an old movie called Kidco – about a group of kids who make money selling fertilizer from their farm, but get into trouble because they aren’t following the rules.

One day will focus on selling – why it is important, how it can be done, practice with sales techniques and examples of kids selling things. Another day will be devoted to learning how to negotiate – with a field trip to garage sales so they can practice.

Each year, they typically elect to have a kid business. So far that has been a one day drink & snack stand with various other add on products for sale. This year I’m going to propose that they make or bake Christmas crafts or treats, send samples to relatives along with an order form – which we will then fill in December.

Preparation tasks.

I’ve found over the years that lots of prep work makes things go smoother and lets me focus on covering the concepts I want the kids to learn. I spent about 3 months planning for and preparing objects and activities for the camp this year – the board game in particular, took a lot of time, but was great fun for me.

Here are some of the tasks you might consider covering if you want to hold a camp for your kids – especially if, like me, you are not used to having the little people around all the time anymore!

Pick one or two concepts to cover. Look at educational standards and what typical kids the age of yours can or should know and do before you settle on a concept. By focusing on just a couple of things, you will send a stronger message.

Search for resources (books, games, activities, movies and etc) that help reinforce those concepts. I use library books, books I buy, board and card games, online games and activities, dvds, presentations, home made movies and more.)

Do something to set camp time apart from down time. We use the t-shirts – wearing them during camp and taking them off when camp ends.

Plan for alternate activities. Some times the kids just aren’t interested or you aren’t up for the orig. one. Have something in your back pocket to pull out and use.

Draw up a schedule. Check first with parents to see when the kids are available. Check the offering dates and times of businesses or tours or activities you want to pursue during camp. Test your schedule to see if you have enough or too little planned for the time allotted. I usually do this by going hour by hour on a paper schedule and then reviewing it multiple times. You have to be flexible during camp though and not try to stick strictly to the schedule. It should be a guide for you, not a task master for kids.

Gather or prepare any materials you need. Any teacher will tell you that it takes many non-classroom hours to be ready for one class exercise.

It really helps to be organized!

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The Future of Personal Finance Record Keeping

The other day, I was looking (longingly) at a new laptop at the store.  I keep my personal finance records totally separate (as much as possible these days) from the internet, to attempt to avoid data or identity theft.  Today those records exist soley on the hard drive and diskette backup of my 2000 era desktop computer in a very old version of Quicken.

As I looked around the electronics department, I wondered, why not go to a tablet.  It would be easier to use.  In researching the applications I could use to track my finances, though, it quickly became apparent that I would need to store my data on a third party server or even ‘in the cloud’ – something I’m not totally comfortable with today.

That made me wonder, what will the future of personal finance record keeping be?

But first, a look back.

The past.

Picture the Christmas movie: Scrooge (aka A Christmas Carol) where Bob Cratchet bent over hand written ledgers, inking in the latest information. In the 1920’s and 1930’s folks (and banks) used ledger books to track their accounts and inflows and outflows. Net worth was tracked via paper and pencil (if at all). On to my youth in the 1950’s when banks issued passbooks showing your transactions (which were stamped in while you stood there and watched); parents kept checkbooks handy for bill paying and hardly anyone used a credit card (and there were no credit scores as we know them today the FICO scoring system having been developed – according to Bank Rate  – in the late 1980’s)

Now look at what many are doing today to track their finances – pictures of receipts going into software which automatically classifies it; check pictures snapped and automatically deposited, online automated bill paying, direct deposit of payrolls and benefits, confirmations of transactions sent out automatically (and posted online for you to see), even taxes being calculated and filed by software and services offering cloud based data storage of your financial data along with a multitude of tools to help you manage it.

Until the advent of the personal computer, most people (if they tracked at all) kept their records on paper, using hand written or typed (yes on a typewriter) accounts.

Introduction of the personal computer changed that. Since 1985, Intuit has offered software to track your personal finances. Allowing the software to bear part of the burden of keeping track of things.

Still, even with the expanding use of computers, the information was personal and private. Money was (and still is in many ways) a taboo subject. You didn’t talk about how much you made, how much you had or how much you spent on what.

With the spread of internet usage in the mid-1990s multiple new tools to simplify personal finance tracking were introduced as well as the possibility for your data to become less than private.

Some of these tools required that you basically gave up some control over your personal data, allowing it to be stored in databases in the cloud or on servers where the company controls who has access to it (hopefully in such a fashion that no hackers were able to get it), how much you had to pay to use it and what services you actually got.

In April 2015, PC Magazine article: What Is Cloud Computing? acknowledged some of these issues, saying:

“Cloud computing—like so much about the Internet—is a little bit like the Wild West, where the rules are made up as you go, and you hope for the best.

The ISPs, telcos, and media companies control your access. Putting all your faith in the cloud means you’re also putting all your faith in continued, unfettered access. You might get this level of access, but it’ll cost you. And it will continue to cost more and more as companies find ways to make you pay by doing things like metering your service: the more bandwidth you use, the more it costs.

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak decried cloud computing in 2012: “I think it’s going to be horrendous. I think there are going to be a lot of horrible problems in the next five years,” he said.

But Wozniak was concerned more about the intellectual property issues. Who owns the data you store online? Is it you or the company storing it?

That said, of the approximately 256 million people aged 15 and over living in the United States, estimates of the numbers of people storing and accessing their personal financial data over the internet exceed at least 15 million (estimated number of Mint.com users). This doesn’t even count everyone using online brokers, bill paying, banking and other private data center vs. ‘the cloud’ (what is the difference?) type storage and services. Heck, even if you don’t sign up for online accounts, your data is still out there, and can possibly be hacked. Financial institutions don’t typically segregate accounts prior to loading it to their private servers – its usually all there in these data centers, whether or not you use it via the online functionality.

In just a few short years, more and more people seem to be willing to lose that degree of control over their data, so that their record keeping can be simplified. Why is that?

Because record keeping is a drag, always has been. That, according to some sources, is, after all the reason Scott Cook and Tom Proulx started Quicken – Cook’s wife’s loathing of her monthly bill paying chores. I myself have lamented the increasing amounts of record keeping required as we have become more affluent.

What will the future of personal finance record keeping look like?

As we move forward in time, how will it change, how will it become less of a drag?

I believe it will be a combination of the influences of technical advances, changes in our psychology around money and of the fight against hackers. Among those, I believe the psychological changes will be the hardest to effect and the most important influencer.

Technical advances.

In 2014, Pew Research Center’s Internet Project, and Elon University’s Imagining the Internet Project cam up with 15 projections about the future of the internet.  One of them was:

 “Augmented reality and wearable devices will be implemented to monitor and give quick feedback on daily life, especially in regard to personal health.”

With respect to our finances, these could (perhaps in combination with bio-metric security applications) be used to record our financial transactions as we go about our day to day business of living – keeping track automatically of spending (including savings and investments), payments made and received and their impact on our net worth and goals planning. You won’t even have to take a picture of your check or receipt to capture it.

Taxes (I believe) will be simplified (eventually) and automatically calculated and filed for you. Records will be stored online instead of in your filing cabinet at home, by the organization that cares most about you paying them (ahem, the IRS for the most part). Just as doctors offices long ago took over our interactions with our own health insurance companies to file a claim, the government will lose patience with our record keeping and reporting and take over the process.

Cash (or some equivalent non traceable form of exchange) will continue to exist, but fewer people will use it and those that do will probably be tracked by the NSA because it will be assumed that since you don’t want to be tracked, you must be up to something bad.

Fees will be reduced or eliminated (such as transaction fees on credit cards or Paypal accounts) only if some other means of reward can be introduced to entice companies to offer these services.

There will be more and more financial interactions that cross national boundaries because the technology will make those transactions easier and cheaper.

If you are interested in the latest and greatest, there is a conference dedicated to exploring the latest and greatest finance innovations – called Finovate.

Changes in our psychology of money.

A percentage of our populations are becoming more open to the sharing of things and information – evidenced by ride and home sharing applications as well as social networking and personal finances in the cloud products and services. Our psychology of money is changing from being one of private, secret, none of your business to one where we trade privacy for convenience.

Among those 15 predictions of the future of the internet, another was made which validated the above, saying:

“People will continue – sometimes grudgingly – to make tradeoffs favoring convenience and perceived immediate gains over privacy; and privacy will be something only the upscale will enjoy.”

There will be more personal style interaction, made possible by a backlash against the isolation of the internet and by the advancement of technology that allows cross-distance face to face human interactions. These interactions will address more foundational (and trust related) personal finance issues than mere record keeping – offering financial therapy, planning and non-trivial conversations.

The fight against hackers.

Biometrics may become the gold standard in security in the nearer future. Starting now, with the finger print scanning available to lock or unlock your cell phone, progressing to voice recognition in phone calls to verify your identity all the way into the more distant future where payment devices will sense your unique body or genetic characteristics, access your pre-stated preferences on payment and automatically deduct the purchase amount from your preferred account. Back in 2013, PBS NOVA article The Boring and Exciting World of Biometrics validated that, stating:

“Before long, physical driver’s licenses will be obsolete and credit card purchases won’t require signatures, just a wave of our hands over a sensor.”

Until and unless our computer applications become smarter and more creative than human brains (which I hope never happens!), hackers will find ways around security devices.

There is a degree of risk in all human endeavors. We accept a very large degree of risk today in using the internet, hopefully that risk will be reduced by a better hardware, software and regulatory infrastructure going forward.

The future depends on how well our trust issues are addressed – both within ourselves and by our service providers.

On a broader front, Kiplingers, in The Future of Personal Finance predicts:

“The future will be all about simplification. The financial-services industry has created a dizzying set of products and services for dealing with household risk and responsibilities. From now on, the innovation mantra will be managing these risks comprehensively, from hedging against a drop in income to making sure you’ll never run out of money to monitoring household finances with a tap of a finger.”

What does this mean to us?

For me, it means an uncomfortable personal finance record keeping future. Fewer and fewer products or services will cater to people like me (who prefer to keep their money issues to themselves).

It means that I may be stuck in the past using out dated and unsupported software to centralize and track my accounts, debts, net worth and trnasactions.

It also means that I won’t be using personal finance needs to justify buying myself a tablet!

For the rest of you, it means less time and effort spent on the mundane and boring tasks of tracking your money and more time available to actually form goals and strategies to move your finances to a more affluent state.

What do you envision in the personal finance future world?

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Money in Your Twenties, What Would You Do Differently?

 

1956 calendar

This week I had an inquiry from Jackie, asking what I did successfully in my 20’s and if I could go back in time, what would I do differently – saying:

“Your 20s are typically the perfect time to start planning for retirement, but sometimes life gets in the way.

What did you do successfully in your 20s, or if you could go back in time, is there anything you would have done differently to ensure a better financial future sooner in life?

In a post on Family Money Values, I would love to hear your thoughts on how you could have built your financial safety net in your 20s better–and how you can start it now if you haven’t already. What would be your ideal retire at 65 plan?”

In answer to that, I’m going to repeat part of the story I told in my book Choose Wealth! Be a millionaire by midlife. In Chapter 4, I talk about my journey to becoming a millionaire, particularly some of the mistakes I made in my youth.

What I actually did in my youth.

I became a millionaire in my early fifties. It still kind of amazes me.

Here is how I got there.

The early years.

My birth family didn’t have money while I was growing up. Mom and Dad started poor – Dad the son of farmers and Mom the daughter of an immigrant.

I grew up in a lower socioeconomic neighborhood. Not a bad one, just not middle class. When I was little, we used a coal stove to heat, had no indoor plumbing and lived in a 4 room house.

As a child I sort of bumbled along, trying to please everyone. Shy as a kitten, I hardly felt I had the right to take up space in the school hallway.

There weren’t any formal money lessons at home or at school. Mom and Dad were savers and I watched their example, but they let me make my own mistakes – and I did!

I got 25 cents a week allowance for helping around the house, and spent most of it each week. The one thing for which I remember saving was my first two-wheeler. It was a green, no gear, girls bike with balloon tires, a basket on the front and fenders. It was $10. That would have been 40 weeks worth of allowance if I had saved it all (and I did give part to church). So I tried selling plums from our backyard tree and Christmas cards door to door and doing odd jobs for the relatives.

Eventually I had the money to buy that used bike. I still remember the feel of the wind on my face as I flew downhill on it; the sound of the pedals as they bumped slightly against the bike body and the scritch of the tires on the gravel road as I banked into a turn. Fun times!

I was clueless as to the existence of another kind of world. All my friends lived in houses just like mine and had no more money than I. We happily rode bikes in the neighborhood, and played tag, king of the hill and monopoly together.

College Daze.

My first exposure to a more luxurious lifestyle came in college. It was state U, paid for by my parents. They saved for years, and Mom went back to school for a Masters degree in teaching, got a job and used her salary to help pay the college expenses. All I had to supply were my clothes and spending money. For those I worked summers. I was blessed to have this family support!

I was dating a boy who had joined a fraternity. Of course I decided I had to fit in, so I joined a sorority. I’m sure Mom lobbied with Dad for this. She benefited greatly from her own teachers college sorority throughout her life and no doubt thought I would be smart enough to do so as well. But as usual, I was clueless. Yes, I enjoyed the fancy sorority house we stayed in and getting to know the other girls. But shy as I was, I neglected to make firm bonds with any; didn’t visit their homes; or meet their parents; or understand what their families did. Neither did I keep in touch after graduation to provide mutual help, support and contacts as we all grew in our fields.

I also neglected to make use of my college counselor and consequently didn’t explore potential lucrative and interesting career fields. Instead, when it came time to choose a major, I just picked one I liked – without regard to whether it would provide a living or even an enjoyable job. I had no dream or vision for what I wanted from life.

I did a few things right. I studied hard and earned good grades. I also learned to lead by taking on the roles of Chief Justice of the student traffic court and Scholarship Chairman of my sorority. These helped me learn how to work with groups of people.

Just Bumbling Along.

After college, I continued to bumble through life, grabbing the first job I could find, marrying and giving birth way too young, still trying to please everyone around me, never imagining a better life.

We were pretty poor, although the only debts we had were for real estate (our starter home and 40 acres of raw land). Every year we saved what we could from his salary. I was home caring for kids and working part time weekends at a retail sales job. Every year our savings went out the door at year end for annual bills and Christmas.

The stress built. My husband was working 10 hour days and then watching the 2 babies on the weekend. I was home with the kids all day and night 5 days a week, trying to provide a loving and educational environment with no money and no help, and working weekends for peanuts. He was mad much of the time. Mad that he made so little for so much effort. Mad that his salary had been frozen for many years, with no raises given at all. Mad that we weren’t able to get ahead financially. His mood made me resentful and angry. I remember being on my hands and knees on the hard Congoleum floor, scrubbing it with a brush to get the dirt out of the dimples and thinking – this is not what Walt Disney promised me! This is not a happily ever after. There is no prince charming. I want more.

My Trigger to Act.

I wanted more. I wanted earning power, I wanted control over money and I wanted a better life.

The stress on both of us was so great that I decided we needed to divorce unless things changed, but I wanted a way to be able to provide for myself and my sons before taking that action.

Note: He and I stuck together through these tough times. They were not only tough on me, but also on him. We recently celebrated our 41st wedding anniversary and are happily going strong together.

Getting back to my story – I researched jobs that paid the most, figured out what I had to learn and do to get one of those jobs, and then made a plan. I was determined to not take a penny of what he made to get prepared for that job. I was determined to pay back every cent he had earned and used on the family up until then – after I got that job. I did it too. I actually tracked the money for a few years, but gave that up as unnecessary when I started earning more than him!

To earn money to go back to school, I decided to start a licensed day care home. To be licensed, I had to get permission from all bordering neighbors – most of whom I didn’t really know. Swallowing my shyness, I trudged to the homes next door, across the street and behind our house and begged for permission. Luckily no one objected. I got the license and advertised for kids to watch. Since I had been the head of the church’s mother’s day out program, I quickly found a baby – Jeffry – to watch full time for $40 a week. I used some of the money to hit the garage sales to get equipment to help me with the day care home and added children – up to the max I could legally watch. This was the most difficult and tiring job I’ve ever done, and I did it for 3 years. I saved up all the money I would need for books, tuition, gas money and clothing to wear so that I could go to community college to get a data processing degree.

It was hard going back to school after all that time. I did it in the evening and on the weekends, still caring for our kids during the day. I studied every chance I got. After the first year, I landed a part time job in the school’s computer lab and after 2 years I had my associates degree in data processing with straight A’s.

To make a long story short, I took the long route to financial freedom. If I had done a few things differently, I probably could have retired in my fifties instead of at 62.

What I would do differently.

Be more curious.

Everyone should try to get outside of their own neighborhood – seeking out new experiences, different socio-economic neighborhoods, other geographical and cultural areas. I stayed within my box and consequently didn’t see that there were other ways of doing things and couldn’t dream a big dream about what I wanted from life. I wish I had been a more curious and exploratory child – pushing the envelope of my environment to see more of what different parts of the world were like.

For example, my nephews, one in college, one about to enter, have found ways to provide service in foreign countries without it costing their parents an arm and a leg. One is in Nepal now (during the 2015 earthquakes) as part of a semester of overseas clinic duty. What an experience. Thank heavens he is OK.

Choose a more lucrative path of study.

Part of those explorations should include not only the college subjects in which you have interest, but the monetary rewards they might bring to you. I went to college because it was expected. I hadn’t a clue what I wanted to study or what kind of career I should enter. I graduated in 1971, during a recession. Some say it was the worst decade of most industrialized countries’ economic performance since the Great Depression. Needless to say, a Bachelor of Arts didn’t get me a job of any kind.

Wait to have babies.

I was 22 when my first was born. If we had waited to have babies, I might have pursued an active career before getting pregnant and may have advanced further than I eventually did.

Listen to Dad.

During the late seventies and early 1980’s my Dad began to learn about the stock market. Back then, it wasn’t as common for regular folks to invest, but Dad was starting to do so. He also tried to educate me using a family newsletter that he laboriously pecked out on a typewriter. Since we didn’t have much money even to save, I pretty much ignored him and his message. Big mistake. Taking time to learn about personal finances then would have been a big boost for my life and our little family.

Develop alternate and passive income flows.

Looking around now at what others have done to have more than one source of income is inspiring. Pat Flynn, for example, from the Smart Passive Income blog, was laid off from his architect job, yet now is making hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, using multiple streams of income, some of them passive.

Things I did right.

Eventually, I did seek out a well paying career field and get trained so I could enter it.

My spouse and I were both diligent savers, which kept us out of debt and eventually helped us gain enough traction to start investing.

Based on my experiences, I have drawn up a Framework for Wealth, which I detail in my book: Choose Wealth! Be a millionaire by midlife. You can use this Framework to shape your own (or your child’s) financial life.

Thanks for the great question Jackie!

What would all of you do differently if you could go back in time – to be better positioned for early retirement?

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More Kids Making Money

When I was a kid in the 1950’s there weren’t too many ways to make a buck before you turned 18. At least, I didn’t know about many. Neighborhood jobs like lawn mowing or newspaper delivery or babysitting (once you hit age 13 or 14) were about the only things available.

Because I’m trying to help my Grandkids understand that they have options on how to make money, I set out to find out what younger kids do these days to make money.

In my first post (Kids Making Money), you can read about a couple of girls making money online, one with a You Tube channel and the other selling a toy.

Here are a few more things that real kids are doing in the 21st century to make money before they are old enough for burger slinging.

Write a book.

Ava Kofke, aged 10, wrote a book and landed a paying speaking gig with her father Danny Kofke  (an author and ex-elementary school teacher). He wrote:

“My 10 year-old daughter, Ava, wanted to earn money last spring to purchase a laptop computer – her allowance wasn’t going to cut it.

Since I had ties to the publishing industry, I suggested she write a book. We talked with one of my publishers and she said a book to help children learn about money would be a great fit.

Well, last September, “The Financial Angel: What All Kids (Ages 4–11) Should Know About Money” was released! This book includes Ava’s simple definitions and tips about Savings, Spending, Giving, Debit Cards and Credit Cards, plus activities for kids to enjoy learning about money basics.

“Ava has not made enough yet to purchase a laptop but we has made some in royalties. In addition, we have been hired for a daddy/daughter presentation this summer and she will get paid $1,000 – not too bad:)”

Do odd jobs.

Viki Garrison (from Ask Viki Ltd.) and her 12 and 13 year old sons are a rural family. Her boys have earned money multiple ways, such as by:

  • mucking stalls
  • walking the neighbors dogs
  • cleaning out gutters
  • painting mailboxes
  • cleaning the insides of cars & pickups
  • weeding flower beds
  • unloading grocery carts at the store
  • helping the elderly neighbor put their groceries away
  • acting as go-fers or servers at family parties
  • tilling gardens
  • helping plant gardens

Sometimes they volunteer their time, especially with the elderly, but other times they will call or go ask for a paying job.

Work for your parents.

Kendal Perez with CouponSherpa.com used to work for her Mom who had a visual merchandising business for local clothing retailers, one of whom had a children’s consignment store. Her Mom paid her to help dress the windows, do inventory and organize the clothing racks.

Kristen Daukas reports that she hires her kids to help research things for the Ten to Twenty Parenting website she runs.

“If I need research for a post or a special series we’re running – my 13 year old quite often does it. I give her instructions such as “go find 20 companies that sell prom dresses” and she uses tools like google docs and comes back with a list. I also have her help me with editing video and podcasts.”

Mica Furlow hires her kids to help out at the office.

“If I went in on my day off to work to prep for the following day or week, I would take them with me. With no interruptions of bosses or ringing telephones, I was able to use my office and then some. I would give tasks such as making copies, helping prepare samples and putting price tags on them, and doing assembly lines to collate and staple documents that I would need for the following week.”

Sell used stuff online.

Marilia Candeloro from Kids Business Club says her 7 and 9 year old kids sell stuff online to make money.

“They sell used, in good condition, items they don’t use anymore. It can be books, toys, video games, winter jacket… anything that still looks like knew, and is fully functioning.

I help them to sell this on buy/sell facebook groups in our area as well as Ebay. With the money they make, they are able to by other items for them (usually used as well from these groups and Ebay).

I have saved so much money and they are also learning how to take care of their things so they can later sell them. It also teaches them to not hold tight to things… they come, and they go!”

How do your younger kids or grandkids make money?

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Kids Making Money

Most of my ancestors and relatives worked for someone else to make a living. So did I, in my main career as a Software Development Manager. Successful entrepreneurship was not demonstrated in my family, so I had no frame of reference to know that it was a normal activity. Yet making it big in one lifetime, like Bill Gates or Steve Jobs usually requires building a successful company.teach kids to sell

That is why I am trying to model and teach entrepreneurship to my grandchildren. I want them to know that they CAN, if they wish, pursue a business of their own.

To that end, this year in Grandma Rie’s Money Camp  we are going to explore ways other kids are making money.

I recently heard of two young ladies with their own businesses  whose stories I will be sharing at our 2015 Money Camp.

Jordan is just 15, yet has her own YouTube channel HowToByJorden with 100,000 subscribers. She started her channel at the tender age of 12, but was selling her first product at age 7 (Wish bracelets) and she also has a line of headbands and iPhone cases she sells online.

Her little sister makes and sells Wigglos Pets for kids who can’t have a live pet. She tried her first business at age 5!

Their father, Leon Scott Baxter, author of Secrets of Safety Net Parenting, was kind enough to let me quiz him on the details of how these girls came to start their own business at such young ages.

Knowing that kids don’t typically come up with the idea of going into business without someone letting them know it is possible, I asked As a parent, how did you encourage your daughters to start businesses?

“When I was a kid, we were dirt poor, so I started businesses out of necessity, to have money, some of which my mom would borrow. I learned early on how to market and sell and save. I instilled that entrepreneurial spirit in my girls early on.

I am also a 3rd grade teacher and we have a classroom economy where kids apply for class jobs, get a paycheck, pay rent for their desks, can buy their desks or even their friends’ and become landlords. They spend the money in the class store, at monthly auctions, and to pay for fines.

My book has a part dedicated to helping kids find their passions and to start to find success today, and not have to wait for tomorrow.”

Here is the rest of our interview.

How did Jordan get so many subscribers? Did she set out to get them, did you help, how did she let folks know that she has a channel and how does she let them know when there is a new video?

“She started her channel almost 3 years ago. She had a passion for being crafty as well as for film making. So, she set up an account and started posting. She was having fun and just kept adding more content. As she did, her videos and camera-presence got better. She watched other YouTubers, and asked if she could get a shed to put in the backyard as a studio. I thought she was crazy.

I think her first viral video was about making your hair look longer in 5 minutes. People started noticing her and her numbers started growing. Soon, management companies started asking to represent her. She chose one (with my help) and they coached her on how to optimize her channel and get even more subscribers. She has a regular posting schedule, so her subscribers know hen to expect her next video.”

“She didn’t start it to make money. She just loved what she was doing and it eventually brought her income that she reinvests into her videos, socks into mutual funds and buys stocks with.”

Some research on how to earn money on YouTube revealed that it can be incredibly difficult for most posters of videos. According to YouTube itself, you only get income for views of actual ads (not views of your video) and not all views count (like mobile phone views). Advertisers pay so much per 1000 views to YouTube. YouTube takes 45% from the gross amount generated by the ad views, and then you also may be paying for managers, production costs and more.

How long did it take before she started making money? How does it generate income for her? How do you handle the money (since she is still a minor)? Did you have to sign for her on You Tube agreements or anything else that required an adult? Is she willing to share a ball park of how much she makes on a yearly basis?

“Once she signed on with management she started generating income. Based on the ads that appear before videos and at the bottom of videos, and the numbers of clicks on them, she gets paid.

She has two bank accounts that also have my name on them. One is savings, and the other is for her taxes. I have to co-sign any contracts and am usually on all of her business calls. She is not comfortable sharing what she makes, but I can tell you it’s far more than I made her age working at Burger King. She has recently become very interested in investing (mutual funds, stocks and IRAs)”

How does she produce her videos? Is there a special room, what equipment does she use, where did she learn how to make the videos? Does she do all the work herself? How long does it take her from start to finish on a new video?

“Instead of getting a shed, she rearranged her room and set up a corner as her “studio”.

Since then, she shoots in different locales, including other parts of the house, in the backyard, on location, in the garage, at the beach, and etc.

She started with her own video camera, but as she improved her skills, her equipment was not keeping up, so she has since purchased new cams, lighting, editing software and computers.

She does all of the editing and shooting all herself. Each video is different. Some are faster than others.

What takes the longest is her editing. I don’t know exactly how long, but I know it can be hours and hours.”

What concerns as a parent do you have on her YouTube business and how do you address them?

“The biggest concern is privacy and keeping her safe as a pretty young lady. She has over 100,000 subscribers from all over the world with 10 million views of her 150 videos.

There have been a few contacts made from people we did not feel comfortable with. So, we try to keep her safe and use a PO Box and a different name.”

On the subject of her line of other products (headbands and iPhone cases) does she make them herself? Was there a special reason she chose pediatric brain cancer research to receive her donation of 25% of the profits from these products? Where does she sell the headbands? The iPhone cases?

“She makes all of her products in her spare time.

She chose to help Talia’s Legacy, because there was a young YouTuber who made beauty videos, named Talia. She had neuroblastoma and even without her hair, she continued to make videos, inspiring thousands. When she passed away, my daughter felt the loss and wanted to do something in her honor.

She sells these items on her website.”

How did Jordan think to start selling wish bracelets when she was just 7? How did you help her get started? Does she still sell them?

“She started selling the bracelets in grade school. When she was 7 she wanted to start a business, and she started by selling knitted bags, picture frames and jewelry.

The business morphed and she focused on the frames and different jewelry.

I was reading a book about The Universal Law of Attraction and shared the information with her. So, she decided to make “Wish Bracelets” to help the wearer draw their desires to them. They were a hit, but not a smash. She sold them for many years. She had a page on FaceBook. She rarely makes them any longer, but every now and then someone asks for one and she’ll make it.”

Little sister (now 11) makes Wigglo Pets, which are cute fuzzy little critters that wiggle when you pet them. I was curious about how an 8 year old came up with the idea.

How did she figure out how to make the product?

“Having an entrepreneurial older sister, my youngest was always looking for business opportunities. When she was 5 she started selling a product that was a very slow sell. When I was a kid, there was a toy similar to her product, and I remember making my own version as a kid. I told her about it. We made a prototype and asked friends what they thought, how to improve it, and price-points.”

“She started her own business at age eight, selling these Wigglo Pets. She’s sold over 1,500 to people on four different continents. She uses a portion of the money to donate to shelter animals and uses the rest to buy more supplies for her business, to invest in mutual funds, and in stocks like Disney and McDonalds.”

“Her first business was started when she was five. She sold these cute things called Wish Wands. They were wands with little colorful wooden things at the end (tiara, pirate chest, tiger) and ribbon coming off the end. Also it came with a spongy sticker. The idea was that you could make the wand magical using the power of eyelashes (have you ever made a wish on an eyelash?). You take a loose eyelash, adhere it to the sticker and attach it to the wand. And, voila, magic wand!”

Congratulations to these two girls and their Father on pursuing their entrepreneurial goals!

Need even more money making ideas?  Check out the Penny Hoarder post on selling used books or my own journey to become a multi-millionaire in Choose Wealth!  Be a Millionaire by Midlife.

Do your children have their own business? What do they sell?

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