Category Archives: Teen Green

BBM Interviews Mary Johnson: A College Student’s Money Perspective

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Mary Johnson is the daughter of Lisa and Darren Johnson, a Godly couple my wife and I befriended while attending Calvary CHapel of Idaho Falls, ID. Both parents are hard-working, dedicated to God and very friendly to those around them. It is no surprise that their work ethic and perspective on money has been passed down to their daughter who exhibits discipline, kindness and a great head on her shoulders. I am very glad to have interviewed this young lady. Keep reading and you’ll see why.

BBM: Is the Bible one of your Financial Education sources? Why or why not?

Mary: Yes. If I use the Bible to guide other aspects of my life like avoiding sin or loving others, I can apply it to my finances. Dave Ramsey helped me see how much the Bible actually talks about money.

BBM: Do you believe that small business contributes positively to the economy? If yes, how so?

Mary: I’m not too educated on this topic, but yes I do. I think it allows average people to have a say regarding governments laws on business and have- even though it may be small- a piece of the market “pie”.

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BBM: How do you manage your finances? (Examples: Financial adviser, spreadsheets, envelope system, checkbook register, a combination of tools, or something else)

Mary: I currently use a form of the envelope system. At the beginning of the month, I estimate how much I’ll make and list all of my expenses, including “fun money”. The most important things are at the top: tithe, gas, and other bills. Every dollar gets accounted for, before I even spend a dollar. I then get out some categories in cash, like tithe and my fun” money. Some of the other expenses are only on my card, like my phone payment and gas. If I have any left over at the end of the month, it either goes towards savings or towards next months expenses. I’ve been told that it takes time to really perfect this system, but so far I’ve enjoyed it. It takes away a lot of my spending guilt when I know what I have in my wallet is what I can spend:)

BBM: At what age did you begin to form a “Financial Freedom mindset”?

Mary: I began this mindset literally 7 weeks ago, so age 18.

BBM: Why do you believe financial wisdom is important?

Mary: Debt has the power to steal away so much peace. It can ruin marriages, keep people stuck doing something they didn’t want to do in life, and above all, it can keep one from pursuing the Lords calling. If i know I have the power to avoid all that, I’m going to take advantage of it. Wouldn’t you?

BBM: How do you feel about credit cards as a young lady getting ready to enter college?

Mary: I know I could go my entire life without ever needing one. I know that sounds crazy, but if I plan on never needing loans for anything, I don’t need to “build my credit”. They can be OK if you have good self discipline and are maybe at a later stage in life than I’m currently positioned, but for college students, I recommend they stay far away from them.

BBM: Is “giving back” part of your future financial strategy? If yes, how so? If no, do you think it should be added to your plan?

Mary: Yes. Tithing has always been something I have done since I got my first paycheck. Besides tithing, I believe it is important to be open financially to give if an opportunity comes along. My dream is to be able to give back by going on a mission (or multiple) and though you’re going to serve others, you have to pay your way out there.

BBM: Have you read the book “Do Hard Things”? If yes, did you enjoy it? If no, would you read it if it was bought for you?

Mary: Yes! I love it.

BBM: Do you think society expects too little of adolescents & teens?

Mary: Definitely. Still being in the teens myself, I feel the drag of society pulling on me saying you don’t need to be responsible, you’re young. You can’t really do much anyway”. As a result, our young people feel that they can’t accomplish anything until later, so they usually don’t even try. What would our world be like if young people took a stand and started really doing the hard stuff while they were young?.

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That is a perfect question to pose at the ending of this interview. It is a question that both parents and their adolescent/teen children should ask themselves. Let’s stop acting as if our young ones cannot achieve extraordinary things. In fact, let’s start requiring it of them!!

Teen Business Owners-Part Four: The Stigma of Network Marketing

“Word of mouth is still the best advertizing”.

“Most people look for work, successful people form networks”.

Both these quotes were part of a conversation I took part in with two other business owners the other day. And these comments are not uncommon.

It is a well-accepted fact among Entreprenuers that people spreading their positive opinions about your business is the best form of advertizing. It’s highly effective, mainly because people trust recommendations from their friends a great deal more than commercials, newspaper ads or celebrety endorsements. Also, one of the main advantages to the business owner is that this highly effective form of advertizing is completely free!

Think of the most successful business owners in your community and the world. Do they stay to themselves, work alone or avoid associating with people? No, they don’t. Instead, they create teams and groups aka, Networks.

Yes, there have been network marketing companies who’ve sullied the industry with unethical behavior. And, folks have run with this fact saying that all network marketing is a scam, a pyramid scheme or some other illegal form of money making.

But, do we make this generality when we experience a horrible meal at just one restaurant? Or, does one car wreck mean all cars are not to be trusted? Obviously the answer is no!

The benefits of network marketing are proven and varied. Donald Trump and Robert Kiyosaki both defend network marketing in their book, “Why We Want You To Be Rich”. Robert Kiyosaki’s book, “The Business of the 21st Century” is cover to cover about why network marketing is the business of the future. Personally I think the track record of these business men is cause to, in the very least, investigate the Network Marketing industry.

Picture yourself and your children standing at a fork in the road. On the left you see a sign that says “Employment in an industry that brings a bit over average pay”. On the right the sign says “Extraordinarily high income, travel, debt-free living- as long as you work hard”. I cannot imagine a single parent reading those signs telling their children to choose the left side of the fork. Do you? Of course they wouldn’t. All parents want their children to achieve extraordinary success. Well, according to the congressman I mentioned, this type of success is available through Network Marketing for those willing to step outside the norm, be coachable and work hard.

I remember a while back a well-meaning friend heard that I am a network marketer. His advice to me was to not do it because “the number of people who really succeed” is really low. First, this was a friend who had ever researched the industry. Like many folks he based his conclusion on hearsay, news reports and the fact that he knew a hand-full of people who had failed in their network marketing business. Let’s consider a few folks who tried and tried again despite the low odds of success: Abraham Lincoln, the Wright Broghters, Nelson Mandella, Martin Luther King Jr., Robert Kiyosaki, Donald Trump, Roger Bannister, Jackie Robinson, Lee Iacocca, Neal Armstrong, Spud Webb and Harriet Tubman. The list could go on for pages and pages.

How dare we look our friends and also our youth and tell them not to aim for something extraordinary and unconventional because the odd of success are low. I can tell you first-hand that the reaons most people fail at network marketing is because they do not put forth the same amount of energy and time they would put forth in a traditional job. That’s not a flaw in the industry, it’s laziness and fear on the part of the participant.

Have you ever visited http://www.bbb.org and investigated the ratings of network marketing businesses. Legal Shield is a network marketing company I’m a part of and they have the highest Better Business Bureau rating of A+. Mary Kay Inc. shares this same rating. A while back Legal Shield enjoyed the honor of receiving a letter from a congressman who explained that Legal Shield and companies like it were at the forefront of creating financial independance for more individuals and families than any other industry in human history!

What does this mean for our teens? It means that there is a viable business avenue we should teach them about. It means that we, as adults, should push passed the knee-jerk reflex of avoiding Network Marketing we should educate ourselves on how it can teach our teens to:
1. Leverage their time
2. Create a network
3. Lead a team &
4. Help others succeed

Isn’t that what we should want for the next generation?

For more information visit
http://www.ebright.legalshield.com

Teen Business Owners-Part Three: Contributing To Society

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There are many reasons why I love to support and highlight small businesses. One of those reasons is the business owner’s contribution to the surrounding community. Bright Balance Ministries believes it is of the utmost importance to expose our teens to the truth of this contribution and, more importantly, show them how they can become a part of it.

The Bible’s account of The Good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37 reminds us that everyone we come into contact with is our neighbor and we are all responsible for each other. Also in Matthew 25: 34-40 God speaks of feeding the hungry and clothing those who need it.

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me. ’
“Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you? ’ “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’

So what does Teen Entrepreneurship have to do with taking care of the needy?

Teen Gardner

As a small business owner I know the money I earn from doing business with my neighbors stays in my neighborhood. I spend money at the local grocery stores, pawn shops, mechanic, etc. This allows my surrounding community to profit from my earnings. Also, since locally owned small businesses usually charge less I am able to save money for the specific purpose of helping those less fortunate than my wife and I.

Imagine instilling this type of discipline in your teen and adolescent children. Once they learn how to conduct business, they’ll appreciate the effort needed to turn fifteen cents into a dollar. This will help create compassion in their hearts for those who are trapped in the deep pit of poverty. This is one way teenaged Good Samarians are created.

Imagine your child owning a lemonade stand, lawn care business or babysitting service. If they work hard they will gain enough business that they find themselves in need of employees. This is the second way they can contribute to society- creating jobs.

Have you ever noticed that politicians often campaign using the “I will create more jobs” promise? Corporate business owners like Donald Trump desiring to move into a new location often publicize the many jobs they’ll bring to the community. The reason for this is they fully understand how important job creation’s impact is on a community. When you create jobs you create opportunity for financial stability.

Let’s say there is a town with a population of 10,000 people. Imagine that 4,000 of them are unemployed. In this situation 6,000 people work and provide for all 10,000. This is not a perfect analogy but you get the point. This causes strain on those who are employed. There are not enough shoulders to help bear the economic load. But let’s say several members of this population open businesses of varying types and sizes creating three thousand jobs. Now there are only one thousand people unemployed and three thousand additional shoulders have stepped in to help lift the economy. This is economic growth brought on by business owners, not legislature, not law-makers or hand outs but entrepreneurs creating opportunity!!

Did you know the Bible talks about farmers creating opportunity for the poor?

“During the seventh year, let the land lie unplowed and unused. Then the poor among your people may get food from it, and the wild animals may eat what they leave. Do the same with your vineyard and your olive grove.” Exodus 23:11

“Do not go over your vineyard a second time or pick up the grapes that have fallen. Leave them for the poor and the alien. I am the LORD your God.” Leviticus 19:10

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In both these verses the excess is left for those who cannot provide for themselves. The hard working homeless in our society are willing to do what it takes to get out of their financial slump, we just need to give them the chance to do so.

I can imagine a homeless man who sees the fallen grapes of a vineyard and the untouched potatoes left behind on purpose by a potato farmer. The homeless man gathers these goods, eats a few grapes to satisfy his stomach and then barters with several other fruit and vegetable farmers in exchange for several other ingredients which he then uses to make a large pot of soup. Also imagine that he takes a bowl of soup to the local seamstress and barters for her services. His ripped clothes are now mended. This brings a high level of satisfaction, accomplishment and comfort to someone who lives outside in the harsh weather. Slowly but surely this man moves from the financial desert to financial stability all because the entrepreneurs around him created opportunity for him to pull himself up.

This is a system of generosity in which we should teach our children to participate. We need to imagine a world much better than the one we live in now. Then beg God’s guidance and wisdom in addressing the issues we face. The entrepreneurial attitude needs to be infused into the following generations in order for us to repeat the many successes of our past so that we may more positively affect our futures.

Teen Business Owners- Part Two: Is Your Teen Prepared For Real Life?

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Looking back in history there is strong evidence that children had a lot more responsibility than today’s average teen. The Bible tells us that young David was about twelve when he killed a lion and a bear to protect his father’s sheep and about seventeen when he killed Goliath who stood nine feet, six inches tall.

Try getting today’s suburbuain child to go close to a lion, I dare you!

As impressive as the whole lion situation is, there is an even more important lesson here.

In order for David to be prepared to face the lion he had to be taught two things long before the king of the jungle came into the picture- responsibility and bavery.

Who do you think took on the job of teaching these much-needed character traits to this young man? The school system of the day, the elders of the Church or some brave soldier in the community? No! His parents did. While there is no mention of David’s mother in the Bible we do know that his father was Jesse, a direct descentent of Jacob- ya know, the guy who wrestled with God and consequently had his name changed by the Almighty?

Obviously this bloodline was NOT made of cowards. Wisdom, bravery and integrity are part of this family’s legacy. Such traits were taught, emphasized and passed down to future generations. Don’t get me wrong, these weren’t perfect people. Jacob, The Trickster, stole his brother’s inheritance then was tricked by his own uncle, Laban. Ten of Jacob’s sons agreed to sell son number eleven into slavery.

Yeah, they were liars, deceivers and thieves, definitely not perfect beings, but they were used by God anyway!!

See, even the most imperfect of us, myself included, can be used by God to do extraordinary things.

One book every adolecent/teen should read is “Do Hard Things” by Alex and Brett Harris. This book is authored by teen brothers who were sick and tired of the teen-ager status quo. They got fed up with how little society expects of their age group, so, they decided to do something about it. In this book you’re taken on a journey where the teen brothers achieve things that are considered “far beyond their years”. The important lesson in this book is that both adults and teens need to REQIURE and EXPECT more of our youth. They’ll learn, rise to the challenge, meet our expectations and even surpass them, IF we give them a chance.

So, look at what you’re teaching your children. Do you feel they can do more? If you were their age right now, do you feel YOU could accomplish more than today’s average teen? If your answer is Yes, and I suspect it is, then why sell your teen short? Let’s not prepare them for an average life, let’s prepare them for an extraordinary one!

Teach them to “Do Hard Things” like owning a business, tracking expenses, prepare for retirement, deal with tough economic times and sacrifice that PS3 game now for financial freedom later on.
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It’s up to us parents to get our children ready to bring down the real-life financial lions of the future.

Teen Business Owners- Part One: While Growing Up

When I was younger I remember teachers asking me, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” It was a legitimate question. They were trying to get me to think ahead, get into the practice of thinking about my #Financial Future. This is an important aspect of growing into a well-rounded, contributing adult.

What bothered me is they never phrased the question in a way that impressed upon me that I didn’t have to “grow up” in order to be something. They could have asked, “What do you want to be right now?”, and used my answer to show me how I can create a career for myself right away.
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Many of us are familiar with Proverbs 22:6 which says, “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it”. Obviously we see this verse as telling us we need to train our child in the Way of the Bible, and that is 100% accurate. Reading the five verses before it shows that this passage is mainly concerned with being sure the child is trained in the ways of strong #spiritual character.

But, why didn’t my teachers and other adults in my life think to themselves to use lessons in business ownership as a way to mold me in both future career concerns as well as spiritual matters? If they had asked me, “What business would you start right now if you could?” I would have told them “a dance squad” or “running errands for people in the neighborhood”. This would have been their opportunity to explain to me:
1. How I’d go about finding other teens to join my business
2. How to attain clients
3. The importance of being honest in my business dealings
4. How to manage an income, etc.

Let’s say a young lady of ten years old wants to start a lemonade stand. Her parents can sit with her to decide a work schedule, price, location of the stand and also what to do with the money earned.
The average American ten year old is well-practiced at asking, “Mom can you buy me that toy?” In this parent’s mind, children of this age should also know intimately how long it takes to earn the money for said toy. If she owned a lemonade stand she’d look back at her many hours sitting on the sideaalk waiting for customers, the energy it took to make pitcher after pitcher of lemonade after mom and dad’s friends bought it all. She’d remember the thankful mailman who bought two cups, the draining effect of the weather on her energy and of course the thrill of counting her money at the end of the day. And, of course, she would appreciate her earnings more because she sacrificed her Saturday cartoons in order to work her business. Of course, let’s not forget, this young lady would learn how much of her profits should be put back into the business in order to cover the expenses for the next two weeks, next month, etc.

Our children should be educated in these things when they’re young so that “when they are old they will not depart from” them. Imagine how much better off the American #economy would be today if our citizens were better trained in #entrepreneurship (and all it entails) during their elementary, junior high and high school years.

If a fifth grader started a business and continued his entrepreneurship through his high school graduation he would have seven years of business experience which his peers lack. He would already have a resume whereas his college-bound peers would only be starting their real-life education at the local burger joint.

Imagine where you would be right now if you’d had seven years of business ownership experience right out the gate after your high school graduation! That is a BIG step up ahead of the competition.

Do you not want that for your children?

Adults, I think it is time to stop asking our precious young ones what they want to be WHEN they grow up.

Let’s ask them, “What do you want to be WHILE growing up?”

I’m STILL Not Using #Algebra

I graduated from high school in 1992 @ age 17.

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During my school years I remember thinking, as many students before and after me, “When am I ever going to use Algebra?” Math wasn’t the only subject of which I asked this question. History and Astronomy were scrutinized as well.

I’ll be 39 on January 24th, 2014 and have I used Algebra, …at all….ever?! Absolutely not!

I have no animosity towards my former teachers and I do realize some of my fellow students have entered professions where my least enjoyed subjects have benefited them greatly. Some have reason to use Algebra every day.

(I’ll weep and pray for them later)

However, I’ve noticed that most of us don’t have the slightest need to use so much of the knowledge we’ve accumulated from Jr. High forward, yet vital education we now need in our adult lives was overlooked.

Ask the average teenager if they know how to balance a checkbook and they’ll propably ask, “What’s a checkbook?” If the average adult was asked, “Are you happy with your last month’s Balance Sheet?” they’d probably respond by telling you they don’t own a business. They don’t understand how important a balance sheet is for the financial success of the average person, couple and family.

In our great America we have been taught-falsely- that school is where all of life’s important skills and knowledge are attained.

Really?

If this is true why are so many families buried under debt, close to losing their houses and still living paycheck to paycheck? The answer is: They were not properly educated in Money Management.

I learned recently that Jewish parents start teaching thier children about money when the child starts asking, “Daddy could you buy me a…..?” Jewish children as young as eight years old learn to use their allowance wisely. They give the first ten percent to Church, save the next ten percent and even learn to invest another ten percent. Yes, at such a young age they undersand and practice investing. Have you ever notices how financially secure Jewish folks are in America?

It was interesting to learn that jewish grade-schoolers who are asked by non-Jewish children to let them borrow a few dollars respond with, “I’ll let you borrow two dollars for the weekend but you have to give me three dollars on monday.” To the American-bred child this makes sense because he’s seen his parents borrow money all the time. It’s a way of life, totally normal.

Proverbs 22:6 & 7 comes to mind:
Train up a child in the way he should go;even when he is old he will not depart from it. The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender.

The proof of these verses is all around us. Remember the American kid who borrowed two dollars and repaid three? He grew up to be the average American worker; in debt and struggling to get by. The Jewish kid who loaned two and collected three grew up to be the average Jew with no debt owning three businesses and passing on that legacy to his children.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Proverbs 213:22
A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children, but the sinner’s wealth is laid up for the righteous.

The time has come for us to educate our children about how money works, what money really is and how to use it to attain real Financial Freedom!

Is Algerba useful? Yes, IF your profession requires its use. Is Money Management useful? Yes, BECAUSE your Financial Success demands it!