Recessionary Times Equals Excellent Lessons

By: A. Keshelle Kerr

In a tough economy, talking about money and investing can be more important than a primer on the "birds and the bees".

Since my last article on "tough times", I promised not to write a similar one again. However, as things have gotten financial tougher for some parents, I am sure there may be some who could use the tips many parents agreed worked well for them. Even though the gas prices have been going down, all other financial monsters may have been rearing its ugly heads. What’s one good thing that may come out of this current financial crisis? A better financial future for your children!

Our children are no doubt also feeling the pinch from this stressing economy. They are now expected to satisfy with receiving the bare necessities from their parents’ shrinking budget. No more fast food lunches after school, endless desserts, or trips to the movies every other weekend – at least not for now. Whether you like it or not, we are part of the problem; so - the least we could do is to help them out of it and prepare them for a successful future. I therefore went on a hunt to provide information that would help to begin this process. A recent article published on, a website for entrepreneurs, offers six tips for guiding your offspring through a recession. I have presented an abridged version below.

Have the money talk. When it comes to empowering your children to succeed, it's important to sit down with them and discuss the basics of money management. Show them your pay stubs and bills to help them conceptualize where money comes from and how it is spent. If you have teenage kids, chances are they're hearing the word "recession" a lot lately, but might not know exactly what it means. Start by explaining to them why the economy is in this position.

Lead by example. Instead of letting your kid roam the cereal and candy aisles, use a trip to the grocery store as an opportunity to teach money management. If rising costs during a recession prompt you to clip coupons and make creative use of cheaper ingredients, show your child the ways in which you save.

Encourage entrepreneurship. Running a lemonade stand is a classic example of youth entrepreneurship at its best -- and seeing something through from start to finish can be an excellent learning experience for children. Point out ways in which your kids can use their hobbies or skills to fill a need. Have a child who is great at an instrument? Why not suggest they teach lessons to other neighborhood kids for a nominal fee? This will help them develop an enterprising and resourceful nature.

Don't be afraid to share your struggles. Every career has trying moments. Rather than just sharing news of your latest promotion, signing a new client or other successes, make a point to explain the whole process to your kids. Tell them how you got started, where you stumbled and how long it took to get to where you are. Even if you're handed a pink slip, be candid.

Look beyond allowances. Many successful entrepreneurs got their start at ice cream shops, movie theaters, and local stores - and credit much of their early confidence, self-reliance, and teamwork skills to their first experiences as employees. "I knew a lot of kids whose parents wouldn't let them work because they wanted them to focus more on their studies," Zalben says. "But I don't think any of those kids spent any more time studying than I did. I just had to have better time management."

Practice smart saving. There is no better time to teach the importance of smart saving than during a recession. Chances are you've set up your own savings fund that you can turn to in times of need, so why not have your kids do the same? If you haven’t, this is a good time to prevent them from making the same mistake. Make it clear that the money should be used for big purchases in your kids' future, such as their first car, or to help others in need.

Financial literacy is economic self-defense! Recession - proof kids are those who are money-wise, saving savvy and exposed to skills that lead them to become financially free when the tough times come around again.

What are you doing with your kids to help better their financial future? Do not let this teaching opportunity pass you by.

Keshelle Kerr is the owner of Creative Wealth Bahamas, a subsidiary company of Creative Wealth International, a non-profit organization located in Santa Barbara California. The company exists to give kids and adults the tools to choose and create financial freedom. Their goal is to ensure that all kids throughout the Bahamas from age 10 and up receive financial literacy training in their life. For more information visit You can contact her at 361-7911 or 454-0808.

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