Making Their Own Money

The Alphonsos created a currency system to teach their children how to handle finances

understand that if I complete a project for $100, it doesn’t mean I make $100 because I have expenses that I have to consider.”

The children have also learned a little about investing. Ryan is in a gifted program at school that picked companies to invest in and followed their progress for a trimester. The Alphonsos also discuss investing at home. “We watch TV and track the stock market by looking at companies we’re all interested in,” Stacey says. One of their favorite companies is Disney. When Comcast was recently trying to purchase Disney, Stacey explained why it would be a good time to buy Disney stock. “I told them that when there’s conflict and unrest, prices of shares drop, which is when you’re supposed to buy.” By using the coupons, the stock market, and her business, Stacey has her children well prepared for the financial realities of life.

To provide access to programs that will educate my children about business and finance

Stacey is diligent about educating her children about money because she says: “As African Americans, oftentimes we’re learning these things through trial and error as adults, while in other cultures, people are generally better prepared.” She is teaching her children a number of life lessons early by following these steps:

Keep it real: Ryan and Brianne are learning to be responsible by dealing with real life issues. Just as in real life, if their jobs aren’t completed, they don’t get paid. Managing their money has also given them a newfound respect for cash. “When they have to spend their own money to buy video games, they recognize that it doesn’t grow on trees!” Stacey says.

Teach your children about business: Ryan has learned about being an entrepreneur by watching his mother. He is currently saving for a school trip to California and decided to sell jump ropes at school to help raise money. He realized that he would sell more if he had a sales force, so he enlisted his friends to help. His mother discussed profit margins with him and other elements she is faced with as a business owner. Ryan created his own business plan, designed an order form, distributed recruiting advertisements, and designed flyers to distribute. He even planned to give each recruit a jump rope to show prospective buyers. When he could not enlist enough friends, he decided to raise funds by writing to local businesses instead.

Let children learn by doing: It’s easier to learn by doing and lessons become ingrained when children are given the freedom to manage their money. They will obviously need guidance and might make mistakes, but ultimately, the errors will teach them about financial responsibility.

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