Ep 99: “Mom! Dad! Can I Have Some Money?”

Chris Farrell, co-author of ReThink Money for Children and Teens and co-founder of FUNancial Freedom, shares his passion for teaching teens money management. Say goodbye to the days of allowance and hello to a future with a financially independent teen!

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Full show notes

Talking to our kids about finances can be a chore: terms like “good debt,” “credit score,” and “interests rates” tend to make most people’s eyes glaze over. Besides that hurdle, it feels like as parents we have to know all the ins and outs of money and wealth to get our teens to pay attention. Most parents might just throw up their hands and rely on schools and colleges to fill in the gaps. Let’s just hope our teens get jobs that have a good retirement plan with full benefits...and that they stay in that job for their career.

But what if talking to our teens about money now was guaranteed to make them wealthier in the future?

It’s not a pipe dream—in fact, the evidence (and this week’s guest) suggests getting teens financially literate is one of the most important things to do now to prepare them for stability as an adult. As we’ve now seen with sex education, the less information a teen is given, the more likely they are to take uneducated risks, which could put their future on hold.

We can set our teens up for success by helping them learn good money habits now—whether or not we have good money habits ourselves! while they’re young will lead to a lifetime of responsibility with the dollar. Not to mention, if their finances are in check, their life will run a little smoother in all areas--allowing them to grow up and become their best selves.

So how can we talk to teenagers about finances in a way that excites them? That’s what our guest today, Chris Farrell, is all about. He’s the founder of FUNancial Freedom, an organization aimed at getting kids and teenagers interested in business personal money management. His book, Rethink Money for Children and Teens, is a guide to help your teenager transform themselves from totally-clueless-about-money to a business whiz. His goal is to make finance fun, and to lead kids towards more prosperous financial futures.

And the best way to do that according to Chris and FUNancial Freedom is to throw kids right into the maw of entrepreneurship.

Learning About Money Through Entrepreneurship

Chris believes all kids can (and should) experiment with running a business. Project-based or hands-on learning is often the most impactful when it comes to remembering concepts and internalizing information. As Chris says, it’s also by doing that kids and teens become more confident and self-assured in their abilities.

If you’re thinking your kid could no way handle running their own business, Chris says you might be surprised. With the numerous online marketplaces as well as remaining “traditional” ways to earn, getting a business started today can be as simple as having a smartphone and an email.

Of course, your teen might need your help with a few of the finer points, like attaching business accounts to personal checking accounts or memorizing their social security number. But in Chris’s experience, on the technology side of entrepreneurship, today’s teens seem to pick it up at lightning speed.

To get your teen on their way you can use the FUNancial Freedom’s LEAP method, which starts first with the Learning piece--however, most teens might be eager to jump into the Earning part, and then realize they need some of that Learning to be Earning. The next piece to help kids then Accelerate. In layman’s/-woman’s terms, the Accelerate phase is about discovering how to save and invest--in their business and themselves. Lastly, P is for Play, the phase where teens and kids set financial goals and explore all the fun ways to use what they’ve earned to make the world a better, more fun place.

Having Fun Starts with an Abundance Mindset

As Chris notes, making money is about more than just dollars and cents: it’s about having more choices, less stress, and the ability to make the world a better place. In America, money or personal finances consistently tops the list of the number one stressor in people’s lives. Money might not be able to give you purpose in life, and just because you have mo’ money doesn’t mean you have less problems; but surveys of American households do show that having at a minimum, financial stability, greatly increases life satisfaction.

Just think of how amazing it would feel to pick up the tab at dinner, treat the whole table, and not stress about the dollar amount on the bill. What if your teen could do that? Not worrying about the dollar amount so much is what Chris calls an “abundance mindset.” The opposite is how most people operate: a “scarcity mindset.” When you go to a restaurant the first thing most people do is look to the right side of the menu--where all the prices are. Many people even base their food and beverage choices on how much money they are willing to spend that evening. There’s nothing wrong with that--being frugal and investigating coupon apps is usually a good thing. But many parents may wish for something different for their teens.

An abundance mindset starts with proper money management. It’s not just about having enough to spend, but it’s also about switching one’s mindset: just because one person has a lot, doesn’t mean there is less for other people. There is a lot of money in the world and there are people, companies, and organizations ready to spend it. As some of the great motivational speakers of the last century proclaimed: “If you help enough people get what they want, you can have everything you want.”

Money is useful as a commodity, but it can also be a great tool through which to teach life lessons and instill values.

Instill Values Through Business

Along with all of his financial tips, Chris emphasizes the importance of helping teens define their values and priorities. When they spend money, what do they typically spend it on? Books? Gym memberships? Events with friends? Concert tickets? Traveling?

What we spend our money on is often the same as what we spend our time on. And we spend time on things that matter to us, things that we value. As Chris mentioned, some people will always make sure to have a gym membership, no matter what the budget is, because fitness and health is important to them, it’s one of their core values.

Having money means being able to “spend” on what matters to us, but it also means having the ability to live our values in a more impactful way. Chris and FUNancial Freedom strongly believe in teaching teens not just how to earn, save and invest, but also in the joy of giving and using money to make a difference in our communities.

In addition to the LEAP methodology, in our interview we cover:
  • The 50-20-20-10 rule for managing income
  • How to explain the difference between good debt and bad debt
  • The number one piece of advice Warren Buffet gives about money
  • Why it’s never been easier to start a business
  • Additional online resources to help teens earn money
Grateful to have had this conversation with Chris and looking forward to sharing it with you!

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Creators and Guests

Andy Earle
Andy Earle
Host of the Talking to Teens Podcast and founder of Write It Great
FUNancial Freedom
FUNancial Freedom
FUNancial Freedom inspires 7 to 17 year olds to become financially smart.
Ep 99: “Mom! Dad! Can I Have Some Money?”
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