KidsPersonalFinance

I can openly admit that I am not a financial genius.  I’ve made stupid mistakes like getting a credit card during my last year of high school and then quitting my job.  Or like I when I used said credit card to pay my cell phone bill because…well, I didn’t have a job.  I’ve made mistakes, lots of them.  And while I’m nowhere near where I want to be financially, I’ve not only made the decision to become financially knowledgeable, I also made the decision to not allow my daughter to make the same mistakes I did.  And yes…I’m starting this at 4 years old.

How to Raise a Money Maven

Through my research and even my personal experiences, I’ve come to believe that it’s really not hard to raise a “money maven.”  Even at the age of 4, my daughter has a simple concept of saving.  Every time she’s given money, dollars or cents, she quickly puts it into her “savings account” aka her Dora the Explorer piggy bank.  This is nothing new to her and she has been doing this for a few years now.  But in actuality, that’s not enough.  While saving is good, it will undoubtedly be her attitude towards and values in relation to money that will carry her into financial freedom.  And this is something that she will learn directly and indirectly from her dad and I.  It’s those financial conversations between her dad and I that will seep into her tiny brain, like seeds into softened dirt.  There the seeds of financial knowledge, values and beliefs will blossom into her financial identity.  Will she view money as something precious, to be hoarded and locked away for security?  Will she understand that money management is just as much about mentality as it is about dollar dollar bills? Or will she see money as something that there is never enough of and therefore will resign that “just getting by” is good enough?

We, as parents, hold the key to shaping these attitudes about money while our children are young and pliable.  They emulate us and take on our beliefs, as well as many of our values.  By showing them our best financial selves, we strategically craft the foundation of their financial selves.

That’s how you raise money mavens.

Do you think it’s ever too early to start teaching little ones about money management?  How are you teaching your children?

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One of the greatest disservices you can do to yourself is to leave your development up to someone else.  I’m talking personal and professional, but especially  professional.  By leaving what you learn and who you get to know up to your company or boss, you are inevitably taking the most important entity, you, out of the equation.  Because nobody knows what you want out of your life like you do.  Nobody knows what makes you tick and gets you going like you do.  And nobody knows your strengths, passions and dreams like you.  So why on earth would you leave something so important up to someone else?  Here are 5 things to do that will undoubtedly give you absolute control over the development of your career.

Network

I won’t spend a lot of time on this because I’m sure you’ve heard it all before.  Many times, it’s not what you know, but who you know.  Speaking from experience, I know that this has stalled my career development and caused me to take certain paths because I didn’t see light in any of the others.  Now that I’m dipping a toe in networking, I’m starting to see things a little clearer.  It’s all about putting yourself out there because you never know who you can help or who can help you.

Attend Industry Conferences and Events

There is so much to be learned from industry conferences and events.  Not only do you get to network, but you get to see what’s really out there when it comes to your field.  There may be aspects of your field that you had no idea existed and may better support your career ambitions.  Not only this, but the takeaways from these conferences are often priceless.  From industry secrets to nuggets of wisdom, attending these types of events is a great way to chart your career path.

Utilize Continuing Education

In most fields, mine included, continuing education units or CEUs are a requirement to stay licensed or working in a certain area.  The good thing about these continuing education courses are that, in some case, the student is able to choose the course(s) that go along with a certain learning objective.  For example, I remember feeling like I’d stumbled onto a goldmine when completing some required CEUs a while ago.  Because in addition to my required “Infection Control” and “Understanding Aging” courses, there were a plethora of courses on other topics that interested me, such as case management, leading social change and understanding grief.  Would I have a degree or grade after completing the course? No, but I would have definitely expanded my knowledge and got some nice tidbits to go under the ‘Professional Development’ area of my resume.

Volunteer

Sometimes, all the education in the world won’t automatically seat you in your perfect career.  You, like many other young professionals, find yourself in “the cycle.”  You can’t get a job because you don’t have the experience, but you can’t get the experience because you don’t have the job.  It’s frustrating.  It’s irritating.  It’s discouraging.  Volunteering, however, brings forth a solution to this conundrum.  By volunteering, you place yourself in a unique position to help others as well as yourself.  You are able to gain valuable experience and skills by learning while doing.  Interested in training and development?  Volunteer as a course instructor for new volunteers, etc.  Since one of my long term goals is to create, develop and evaluate human services programming, I recently began volunteering to do just that with an organization at my alma mater.  The director of the program was able to incorporate my goals in with her program needs.  Volunteering is definitely a win-win.

Take on tasks outside of your job description

Learning is, by far, the best way to develop your career on your own terms.  By taking on tasks outside of your job description, you are aligning yourself to become a resource and are expanding your skill set   You not only know about ABC, but you’re also an expert in XYZ.  You become an asset and nobody wants to lose an asset.

These are just a few ways to develop your career into what you want it to be.  There are so many ways out there and so many ways yet to be discovered.  The main idea, though, is to recognize that your career develop is nobody’s responsibility but yours.  If your career path is veering off to the left and you don’t like it, do something about.  You hold the compass.

I will be the first to admit that I have cried at my job.  I mean, the boohoo ugly cry.  And while it’s not my proudest moment, it is also not something that I am ashamed of or even something that I regret doing.

Gasp…I know what all the career books, blogs and articles say:  “No crying in the workplace…under any circumstances.”  I hear that.  I understand that.  But I also understand that I am a human being with emotions, feelings, thoughts, ideas, etc and this does not change just because I’m in the workplace.

I remember the first (it’s only happened twice) time I cried while at work.  I’d just gotten the news that my daughter was being transported to the Children’s Hospital via ambulance and that her breathing was so labored, she could barely form sentences.  This was our first encounter with our friend, Asthma.  I was scared, angry, unsure of what to do and just overall emotionally overwhelmed.  And so the tears came.  And they wouldn’t stop coming, so that’s how my boss saw me walk into her office.  All wet-faced, blubbering something about an “emergency room” and “can’t breathe.”  She didn’t judge (at least out loud) and simply said, “Go.”

But that’s in the heat of the moment and to many folks, may seem pass-worthy.  A sick child? A worried parent?  That’s understandable.  But what about other instances of tearfulness?  Just recently, I saw my boss crying because she felt overwhelmed, unappreciated and attacked…in the workplace.  She hadn’t gotten any bad news, per se, but her performance on a particular project was not as well received as she would have hoped.  And so she cried…albeit silently, at her desk.  Is this acceptable?

It is, in my opinion, but it was obvious that some people were uncomfortable with it.  Although silent, their demeanor was very telling.  But why were they uncomfortable?  We accept happiness, excitement, even aggravation and anger, but we tend to draw the line at crying.  It’s just…too much.

But it shouldn’t be.

Tears are natural.  Pain, hurt, frustration, and many other emotions are natural and should be expressed.  We’re not working with robots, people (unless you are working with robots, in which case I would tell you to run if your robot started crying), so we have to be understanding and empathetic.  In most situations, it’s just as uncomfortable, if not more uncomfortable, for the crier as it is for the innocent bystanders.

What are your thoughts on crying in the workplace?  Has it ever happened to you?

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It’s Friday and I must say, I’m feeling good.  It could be because my boss is out of the office until Tuesday and I’m all alone (my heaven), but it also could be because I’ve made myself a priority this week, over most other things.

I, like most other moms, am always on the go, taking care of what has to be handled, putting out fires and overall just keeping the world from ending…because you know that’s what will happen if we stop doing everything, right?  Insert sarcasm here.  This week, however, I unconsciously took a different approach.  I did not set out to put myself first this week, but it happened and I’m so glad it did.

 I’m taking a note from one of my favorite Repro Justice/Feminist Bloggers and self-care aficionado, Nicole Clark, and making a record of my successes with self-care this week!  Here goes:

  1. I joined the YMCA
  2. I danced…Zumba!
  3. I didn’t stress over what’s for dinner, who’s cooking or repeated meals.  As long as we ate, I was good.
  4. I did not stress about work.  It’s well documented that I’m not the biggest fan of my job.  This week, I just didn’t focus on that and focused on just making the money until it was my time to move along.
  5. I accepted that I wanted a certain material thing and created a plan to get it.
  6. I woke up early enough to get Jam to school and get to work on time, all without rushing.
  7. I bought a poster board for the physical vision board I plan to create this weekend.  Oprah would be proud!
  8. I FINALLY scheduled an appointment for the dermatologist.  This has been about three years in the making.
  9. I turned in my graduate application, fee, and required documents.  This girl will be a grad student this year!
  10. I took time off to be a mommy and be present with my daughter.
  11. I made time to read.  I’m over half way done with Gone Girl and it’s finally getting good.

So, looking back, I think that I had a pretty productive week.  And even better, all of these things brought me closer to my goals.  From adopting a healthy lifestyle to being the absolute best parent I can be, I’m now one step closer to reaching those goals.

 So, how have you practiced self-care this week?  Have you noticed a shift in your experiences or outlook?  Try making a list of your successes over this week, month or even year.  I have no doubt that you’ll begin to see the benefits of making yourself a priority.