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.


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!

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 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?

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?

How to Teach Kids to Sell

teach kids to sellAlong with financial literacy, I think that we all need to learn effective selling techniques.

Teaching how to sell is something that school typically doesn’t cover (even though many schools ask kids to sell in their fundraisers!). Many of our parents don’t feel comfortable teaching their kids how to sell (because they don’t think they know how). Sometimes people think of selling as sleazy and high pressure and don’t really think they SHOULD teach their children how. Continue reading

2014 Grandma Rie’s Money Camp Activities and Resources

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.

IMG_0689Although 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.

The focus of this years Money Camp was on saving. To zero in on that, we toured a bank, a credit union and the Federal Reserve’s Money Museum, as well as inspecting our home safe and our safe deposit box at the credit union. In addition I asked several family members to record a story about a time they had saved for something or wish they had. In order to put the focus on saving and provide these activities, I moved the location of Money Camp from the lakeside condo to our metro area. To have money to save, you have to get or earn money. This year, I combined camp with a garage sale and had the kids run their kid business during the sale. Some days I question my sanity – running a week long camp, entertaining kids and preparing for a garage sale called for some stamina I didn’t know I still had! Continue reading

A Banking Project for You and Your Kids

Pig croppedEach year, I invite my Grandchildren to a one week overnight camp I call Grandma Rie’s Money Camp. During that week, we focus on personal finance concepts, activities, projects and fun. This year’s camp had the main theme of saving.

One of the activities we did, was to create paper mache piggy banks. This fit well with our overall theme of saving and was something that could be done without spending a lot of money.

I presented the idea of making them as one that could produce a product to try to sell, a gift to give or a bank to keep for themselves. The 7 year old girl decided to keep one and give the other to her cousin. The 10 year old boy decided to try to sell his two. Continue reading