Sunday, October 28, 2007

Heart Check

Recently my father had a mild heart attack and bypass surgery. I just flew back from the hospital on Monday. My mother-in law had bypass surgery two years ago, my father’s recent heart attack and surgery have brought the issue of health back to top of my mind. Because my father has done a lot over the past ten years or so to improve his health, eating way better than most of us and being pretty active for his age I have come to realize that our health is something that we all need to pay more attention to.

One of the biggest surprises for me was that my father didn’t experience the pain that I assumed went with a heart attack. He had a strange feeling in his shoulders and around his chest, but this was something that a lot of people would probably ignore because they didn’t realize it was a heart attack. He thought to go the hospital because about 10 years ago he went to the hospital and had to have a couple of stints put in.

From the American Heart Association, this page describes the signs to look for, they include:

  • Chest discomfort. Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest lasting for more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back. This discomfort can include pressure, squeezing, or pain.
  • Discomfort in the upper body. This can include discomfort or pain in either of the arms, neck, stomach, jaw, or back.
  • Shortness of breath. While this often accompanies chest discomfort or pain, it can occur prior to the chest discomfort or pain.
  • Other symptoms. These can include: nausea, breaking out in a cold-sweat, or light-headedness (dizziness).

In order to best survive a heart attack you and your family should follow this advice from the American Heart Association and the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI). Tips for surviving a heart attack include:

  • Uncertainty is normal. Television and movies have shown us people clutching the chests as the double over in pain, but because the symptoms can vary (even with people that have had heart attacks before) people tend to take a wait and see attitude, which can have very serious consequences. You should learn to recognize the warning signs.
  • Act quickly. Because most people don’t realize that the have had a heart attack, they delay in taking the necessary actions. It is this delay and not delay of medical transport or treatment by medical personnel that causes the greatest delay in getting proper treatment. According to the American Heart Association, most patients wait two hours or more after the symptoms occur to get treatment. People’s wait and see reaction comes from:
    • The uncertainty that people have is largely due to them not realizing that they had a heart attack, often they believe it is something else.
    • They’re afraid or unwilling to believe or admit to themselves that their symptoms could be serious
    • They don’t want the embarrassment that would go with finding out that they didn’t have a heart attack
    • They don’t understand how important it is to get proper treatment right away. If dealt with right away, the effects can be minimized and the damage the heart can be lessened. Women, the elderly, and minorities are more likely to delay seeking treatment.
  • Call your emergency phone number right away! In the U.S. this is 911, but you need to know the phone number in your area. Calling for Emergency Medical Service is the best way to get to the hospital because:
    • Medical personnel can begin treatment immediately on the way to the hospital
    • If the heart stops (called sudden cardiac arrest) on the way, they’re trained in how to handle this.
    • Patients arriving in ambulances often receive treatment faster than those that don’t use ambulances. If you’re having problems getting an ambulance, you should have someone drive you, only drive yourself as a last resort.
  • Contacting emergency medical personnel via your emergency phone number is like bringing the hospital to your home because:

o Emergency medical personnel are trained to determine how to handle the situation based on your vital signs and can administer care.

o In many areas the medical team is able to call the hospital that you’re going to so that the hospital is ready when you arrive.

o They carry medication and equipment to help treat your condition on the ambulance, so you have a better chance to making it to the hospital.

  • Plan Ahead. By planning now, you can save time and could help save your life! You’ll want to:
    • Get to know the warning signs and teach your family, so that action can be taken when necessary.
    • Think through what you would do under different circumstances; home, work, at night, or other places that might require some preparation.
    • Make arrangements about who would care for your kids (and other dependents), medical personnel will contact someone so that arrangements can be made for your kids (and other dependants).
    • Talk to your friends and family about the warning signs, what to do in the event that you have a heart attach, and so on, so that they’re prepared in such an event.
    • Talk to your doctor (and health care provider) about what you can do to prevent a heart attack and reduce the risk of one occurring.
    • Talk to your doctor about what to do if you do experience a heart attack and/or symptoms.
    • Prepare information that you’ll need to take to the hospital. You should complete the preparing for a heart attack survival plan. You should keep copies in handy places like your wallet or purse.
If you have questions about what your medical provider will cover in the event of a heart attack, you’ll want to look into this upfront

So while you and your family should probably make some life style changes including eating a healthier diet, and exercise, knowing the warning signs, and being prepared to act quickly can mean the difference of life and death.



Saturday, October 13, 2007

Blog Action Day 2007


Welcome to Blog Action Day 2007. The last time that I look 12,000 bloggers registered for this event, with a reach of over 11,000,000 people. This year the theme being discussed and promoted is the environment. You might have heard of Earth Day? You can read about the history of Earth Day at Wikipedia. The first Earth Day was held on April 22, 1970. U.S. Supreme Court Justice William O Douglas is credited with saying “Who Speaks for the trees?” While concern for the environment is not a new idea, it is encouraging that interest in the environment is picking up steam with more and more businesses becoming involved and finding that it can be profitable to care about the environment. I was overwhelmed when putting this post together, at one point I had more than ten pages of links!

Here are web sites tagged as “green” at del.icio.us. I’m not sure how many there are but there are over 100!

Green living toolbox from Mashable- over 80 sites related to the environment. It divided up into sites on carbon footprint caculators and carbon offset; search engines, directory and guides; games; communities; networking and dating; environmental projects, charities, blogs, and other resources. There are a lot of useful links in one location.

Articles of Interest…

How to green your electronics from Tree Hugger

Easy to be green.

Go green guides from Tree Hugger.

100 ways to save the environment

50 things to do to stop global warming.

Building a green pc.

Environmental stories on Digg

From BBC a whole was discovered in the ozone over Antarctica that is said to be twice as big as Europe.

Environmental movies at the IMDB Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth isn’t the only movie with a theme about the environment that you can watch.

Breathing Earth- multimedia presentation about CO2 production and population growth.

Adopt the Sky- a multimedia site where you can adopt parts of the sky.

Carbon Footprint Calculators, Other Calculators, and Carbon Offsets

The Carbon Diet- You can track your carbon footprint on a day to day basis and compare your usage with friends.

The Nature Conservancy- Can help you calculate your carbon usage based on home energy, driving & flying, food & diet, and recycling & waste.

zerofoot- Helps individuals, organizations, and cities reduce their environmental impact. They have a goal of getting one million people to reduce their impact by ten percent per year

Yahoo green- A carbon footprint calculator and other resources from the folks at yahoo

Ecological Foot Print Quiz- Let you determine how much “nature” your lifestyle requires

Some Green Search Engines

EcoSeek- A search engine for all things green

Greener- Environmental search engine

Green Maven- A search engine green directory powered by Google

GoodSearch A search engine donating 50% of it’s profits to a charity that you select (they have over 40,000 that you can pick from)

Online Environmental Games

ElectroCity Online game teaching about energy, sustainability and environmental management by building virtual cities and towns.

KyotoPotato A trading game designed to make energy efficiency more fun

Myabodo An interactive toy that lets you create a house to your liking. You can change things and see how it affects the climate

Communities

AlternativeE- A website for sharing news related to renewable and alternative energy that allows users to vote for stories (like Digg for alternative energy)

Green Option- An online blog, wiki, forum and news site for everything green.

The Nature Conservatory Groupspace- online community from The Nature Conservatory

NetSquared- An online community helping non-profits and non-governmental organizations use the internet to extend their reach

GoodTree- Online community about idealism and effecting positive change

Hooze- Community-built site for publishing useful info about the sustainability of companies and products I believe that the name is the way that “Who is” sounds.

Sustainlane- User reviews of natural, organic, and green products and companies.

Gusse- A global community for collaborating on ideas for sustainable cities

EarthLab Foundation- A climate crisis community for people interested in being more environmentally friendly.

Gigoit- A swapping network for finding things you need (want) or giving away what you don’t need (want)

Make Me Sustainable- A manager for reducing your carbon footprint rolled into a social community

Networking and Dating

idealist - Find people, ideas and resources worldwide and get involved.

Earth Wise Singles - A dating site for singles who are passionate about green living and sustainable lifestyles.

VeggieDate - An online vegetarian dating service.

dharmaMatch - A dating service that matches based on your beliefs, values and spirituality.

Green Drinks - Networking opportunities internationally for people who work in the environmental field.

GishiGo - A ride sharing network that connects riders and drivers.

pooln - A carpooling community with a social-networking approach.

GoLoco - Quickly arrange ride shares between friends, neighbors, and colleagues (it also helps you share trip costs online).

Environmental Projects

Tree-Nation - An online community that’s aiming to plant 8 million trees in the shape of a heart in Africa. They also have a news section and other resources.

Step It Up - A movement being organized online that will be a call for action to political leaders to address key priorities to stop global warming.

Google Earth Outreach - A Google Earth application that allows charities and non-profits to map what they’re doing on Google Earth for the world to see.

Blogs

World Changing - A group blog with tons of great articles on every topic (there’s also a World Changing book available in print).

Treehugger - Easily the most popular environmental blog out there.

earth2tech - A technology-focused green blog from GigaOM.

Gombe Chimpanzee Blog - A blog from the Jane Goodall Institute that also includes a Google Earth mashup with information about the Institute.

Other Resources

GreenPrint Application for printing that removes unwanted pages, saving trees (and money) They’re currently donating a tree for every copy sold and they’re currently involved in a Million Tree March and they will double the trees up to March 31, 2008

green tv - An all-green TV station online.

Hotel Chatter Green Hotels Map - A Google maps mashup that shows the best green hotels in the U.S. on a map.

BBB Wise Giving Alliance - Reports and evaluations on charitable organizations.

Clean & Green a handy guide for using environmental safe cleaning products.

Green Living- its green and fashionable

Sustainable Travel International A travel guide offering carbon offsets

Green Building Blocks A green building products and service directory providing information on green building techniques with ways to promote your business

Lime A green guide to life with online TV, radio, mobile, podcasts, and shopping

Green Building Studio Online tools for green builders, engineers, building products manufacturers and architects

GuideMeGreen.com- A resource of green companies and brands

Evolist- A directory of eco-friendly and socially responsible businesses that are coming soon. They have a blog and a Facebook application.

Approdedia- A sustainability wiki.

PlayGreen- A green living wiki.

I hope that you’ll find some of the links provided useful. If you would like to post your thoughts or would like to provide some of those links that I didn’t include, please be sure to leave a comment. Be sure to read some of the other blogs from the Blog Action Day.



Friday, October 12, 2007

Tips for Working on International Projects

Given the nature of business and the world today, there is a good chance that you’ve worked on or will work on some global or international projects. Here are some things to keep in mind to make your international/global projects successful; some of them are useful outside of international/global projects.

In the IT business there is more and more work being done around the globe. Aside from working for a global IT company, I have worked on several international/global projects. I’m an American living and working in Germany. I can relate to living and working in the U.S. and I can relate to living and working in Europe.

  • Good communication is the foundation for successful projects. This is especially true for international/global projects. Because with more countries and nationalities involved in your project, there is a good chance that English is not the first language. To this end you’ll want to make sure that communication is clear and as easy to understand as possible. Some projects lend themselves to a lot of jargon, it is ok to use if it is generally understood by the team, but you need to be careful in its usage as not all of your project team might be familiar with all the jargon. When communicating (verbally or in written form), jargon and abbreviations need to be identified for those people that don’t know their meaning, at least the first time that they’re used in that communication. Information that should be known be the team should be easily accessible, this can be on a shared drive, web site, or through some program (like Microsoft Shared Point or eRoom).

  • Keep your assumptions to zero or to a minimum and make them known. When you think about it, this is common sense but I have often seen people making assumptions that more often than not are not accurate. If it works in the U.S., doesn’t mean that it will work everywhere (I’ll talk more about this later). While you will probably have to make some assumptions, you’ll want to confirm the validity of them before adopting them. This means that you’ll need to find out if it really will work that way in Germany, the U.K., Asia Pacific, Latin America, and other areas that you’re work with. You’ll want to make sure that your assumptions are documented and known by those that need to know them. Depending upon how often things change in your project, your assumptions should be reviewed periodically for their validity.

  • The way you do things within your department or organization is not necessarily the way that everyone else does it. While the way things are done from department, organization, and company to company can vary a lot, this is especially true when working on international/global projects. This ties in closely with assumptions. There is a good chance that you’ll be involved in some discussions about how things will or should be done. It is better to not look at this as an argument that you need to win, because more often than not you won’t anyways.
  • Things will take longer than you think. This is a good point to remember when putting project schedules together, but in applicable in all parts of life as well. Deadlines and milestones should not be so tight that they become impossible to meet. I have found that there are a lot more bureaucratic and procedural things to deal with in Europe that require longer than many Americans allow time for. This can be the cause of many conflicts within projects. This should be remembered upfront.

  • Try to keep translation problems to a minimum. While this is part of communication, it is important to remember that you will probably be working with people who don’t speak English as their first language. Just as there are regional differences in how words are used and what the words mean in the U.S. and differences between what it might mean in the U.K. and the U.S., there is a larger chance that what you’re saying might mean something totally different to someone that speaks English as a second, third, or forth language (or maybe only had a little bit of English way back when). There are also those people that don’t fell comfortable speaking English and therefore might not communicate when they don’t understand or have questions, so it is a good idea to confirm from time to time that there is really a common shared understanding of the more important things.

  • Be concerned when people don’t ask questions, especially in teleconferences. At first thought, when nobody is asking questions you would think that everyone understands and doesn’t have any questions. Sometimes this is because the other participants don’t wish to ask questions that the other participants will find stupid. They might also be afraid of embarrassing themselves by asking improperly worded or grammatically incorrect questions, so they don’t ask their question.

  • There will be cultural differences. This should be expected and used to your project’s advantage. Sometimes projects (or some of the team members) let this divide the team, when the differences aren’t understood or known. Punctuality means different things in different cultures, ignoring the fact that some people are habitually late. Customs about eating (when, where, what and etc.), the use of alcohol, exchange of gifts (you want to be careful that what you’re doing isn’t seen as a bribe or offensive), and greetings (do you shake hands, bow, and kiss, if you kiss is it a single kiss to men and women or once on each cheek?). I saw a really great commercial a couple of years ago where it was mentioned that in some parts of the world you’re thought of as a terrible guest if you don’t eat everything on your plate (no matter how strange or repulsive it might appear to you) while with another culture if you eat everything on your plate it was considered a challenge to the host to give you something else. While the commercial was a bit over the top it made the point that customs are different and this should to be addressed where needed.

  • There will also be a difference in the working styles of people based on culture. This can mean that you have some team members that are very by the book and procedural, some that are more go with the flow, some need to be follow a recipe or a cook book and aren’t able to deviate far from it (if at all). Differences in working styles can result in a lot of conflict and resentment on teams.

  • When English is a second language (or third, forth, and etc.), the use and command of it should not be taken as a gauge of that team members intelligence. I have noticed in some telephone conferences that accents and speech patterns can come across as abrupt, when that is not the intention of the speaker at all. This can be the result of difference in the grammar, word usage, and pronunciation between the speaker’s native language and English. Some sounds are harder to make going from one language to another; I’ve noticed that many German speakers have a problem with the “th” sound, while English speakers can have problems with rolling their “r”s in Spanish and so on. Language is a skill that some people are able to master while it comes harder to others. Some of the more technical people can have a problem with English. When people make the attempt to speak and write in English, you should avoid be critical of their grammar and word usage, and speaking abilities unless they specifically ask you to do this, and you need to be careful here because you can easily discourage people when being overly critical. As a rule of thumb, try to ask questions about meaning, if it isn’t clear but be sensitive to being to critical.

  • Legal and statutory regulations vary from location to location. With many companies being run from the U.S. they can be often be very focused on the city that houses their world headquarters, this is sometimes overlooked. Because the end effect of breaking one of the local legal or statutory regulations can be quite sever, resulting in large fines, law suits, imprisonment, and/or a bad or damaged image for your company within your locale that could have a huge effect on the profitability and viability of your company, these things should not be overlooked. If your project be procuring items for various locations there are probably tax issue and laws to be considered? If there is waste produced in the production of your product, there are probably some sort of environmental regulations for the disposal of this waste. If you’re producing something that will be sold and shipped to another country there are probably import/export laws to be considered. If a plant or office will be built or leased in another country, there will be local laws that needed to be followed. Outsourcing any part of your projects could fall under all sorts of laws as there is more and more pressure being put on politicians related to this topic.

  • There are likely to be privacy (data and otherwise) issues. Europe tends to have more laws in regards to privacy than the U.S. There are some laws limiting where data can be kept about people within certain countries, this often means that this data can’t be housed in the U.S. and needs to be kept in Europe somewhere. There are also laws dealing with names and sensitive information being made available. This might mean that a certain country can’t be provided within data captured in this or that application. With a lot of the data mining that applications can do today, much of the information created can’t legally leave Europe or the country it was produced in. Considering some of the stories that have come out about identity theft and account information being stolen, this might not be such a bad thing.

  • You might need to consider workers councils and unions into your planning. While in much of the U.S. there isn’t a need to deal with workers councils and unions, they are a part of life in some parts of the world. You might need an agreement with workers councils and unions to do what your project is intended to do. You’ll probably want to start those discussions as soon as is possible, because they can be lengthy. It is also probably more beneficial to try to work with them as opposed to against them. Try to show them the benefit of project to their members.

  • There will be differences in time zones to deal with. This should be near the front of your mind as you go through your day. You should try to avoid scheduling a lot of meetings at bad times for people in later or earlier time zone from yourself. It would be a good idea to use something that shows the time of the various locals that you’re dealing with to keep this in mind. I use Qlock and have different clocks set up for cities in regions that I deal with. I was on a project where someone in the U.S. expected that I would be available at 8 p.m. local time, or whenever he needed me. Sometimes meetings at such times might be necessary but you can destroy teamwork and morale if you’re not careful. If you’re expecting that everyone will adjust their schedules to fit yours, you should probably be willing to reciprocate. It might also be possible that some of your team attends off hour calls from their home. Because a lot of the projects being done are utilizing people in different time zones it might be possible to use the “follow the sun” in getting work done. If you aren’t careful, a lot of time can be wasted. There are times that I have needed something from a colleague in the U.S. and I went home for the night hoping that it would be resolved when I come in the next day, only to find it wasn’t and now this item will drag on at least another day.

  • You will need to consider the effect of vacations and differing work weeks. In much of Europe, many countries have more vacations days than is common for much of the U.S. and the work weeks can be considerably shorter. During the summer, it is not uncommon that some project team members might be gone for several weeks at a time. This is a good reason to make sure that key team members have back ups or are working in groups to minimize the impact of them being gone and to eliminate the single points of failure. While many people in the U.S. within a 40 hour workweek (maybe working a lot more hours a week than this), some countries in Europe have 30 some hour workweeks (officially anyways). This needs to be considered when determining the duration of effort needed in your schedules.

  • Establish ground rules or rules of engagement. While you don’t really know how things will develop later on, it is good to come up with some basic rules and procedures for how things will work. These can vary depending upon the complexity of your project, but you’ll probably want to address escalation, managing of risk and issues, conflicts between team members, and so on. Your company might have some templates and policies already that only need to be slightly modified. It is good for your team to know what is expected of them and the whole team.

  • Feedback needs to be provided. I have found on many projects that a lot of times many things are always getting escalated and they might not have needed to be escalated if they were dealt with early enough by the team members. I like to solve problems with individuals when I have problems, rather than escalating to their manager or management. I believe that this should be the first route for a number or reasons, but the biggest is that I believe it is easier to resolve one to one then to bring in other people. More often than not this can clear things up. I’m not sure if this was a cultural thing or not, but I know in the past someone wasn’t happy with something that I did, so they brought it up to management in that program and because it was a large program I’m not sure how many levels of management it went through before it was discussed with me, but if the point had been raised with me directly I could have made the necessary adjustments rather quickly without involving people unnecessarily and dragging it out. I was told that it was custom for people to do these things through management. This is something that could be part of your ground rules or rules of engagement. Feedback doesn’t have to be only negative. When people are doing well, they should be made aware of this. Your team mate would probably even appreciate it if you passed on your praise to their manager.

  • Building team spirit is challenging. Many projects will have a kick-off meeting for the team to get things started. This is good because it gives the team members a chance to get to know who they’ll be working with, if they don’t already know the other team member. This is more challenging when the team is scattered around the globe. Although video conferencing is likely to be used more and more in the future, at the moment there is a dependency on telephone conferences and it is hard to build a team spirit via this medium. If expenses allow it, there should be a least one opportunity for your team members to meet. Maybe the budget won’t allow for the whole project to get together in one location at one time, but it might allow for smaller scale travel, where one team member might be able to fly of take a train to visit another. If you’re on a small project with a short duration and a small budget, it might not even make sense to get the team together in one location, but it does help to build a team cohesiveness and “can do” attitude.

  • Suggestions should be encouraged. The wider the experiences of the individual team members the more likely it is that they will have suggestions on how to do things that you might not have considered. Encouraging suggestions can be similar to brainstorming, where you want to encourage a quantity of ideas and you’ll want to judge the quality and viability of the ideas/suggestions at a different time. Handling of suggestions is something else that can be encouraged in your ground rules or rules of engagement.

  • Different is different, it doesn’t need to be better or worse. Often time people will latch onto an idea, procedure, or way of doing things and unconsciously adopt it as their own. They will think that their way of doing things is the best and not be willing to look at other ideas or ways of doing things because it might be different than what they have accepted and latched onto. There is a tendency to compare ideas and the way things are done with the preconception of “our idea” or “our procedure”, looking to find which is better or what part is better. While it is sometime possible to adopt new ideas and procedures, some parts of your company might be shackled to “their ideas” and “their procedures” and it might not be possible for them to make the suggested changes. Sometimes there are good reasons for what might at first seem totally absurd, and in fact the absurd might be truly better. There could be historical, cultural, legal, or other reasons behind why things are done the way they are. Sometimes you have to accept different is different without judgment.

  • You can make friends around the world. While the main goal of our projects is not to make friends; this can be a positive byproduct if you try to treat others fairly, with respect towards them and the differences that make us unique. If you can work with an open mind, you might find yourself making friends in parts of the world that you never imagined.

While adopting these suggestions won’t guarantee success of your international/global project, it is more likely to push things in that direction. You’re also more likely to enjoy your project(s) and people will like and want to work with you. Maybe it is now time to become involved in that international/global project that you have been considering.


October 15, 2007 is Blog Action Day. On this day all of the participating blogs will write about one topic, this year the topic is the environment. When I last looked there were almost 10,000 blogs signed up to participate with a combined reach of over 7,000,000 people. I think that this is a good example of the power of the internet and the blogging community. You can sign up your blog if you have one and be sure to check out some of the interesting post that will be published on this day.



Friday, October 5, 2007

Teaching Our Kids About Money

Zenhabits recently did a good post on teaching your kids about money that got me thinking. As a parent of two young kids and many other parents this topic has crossed my mind before. Even for those without kids there are some points to consider here. When you look at the amount of personal bankruptcies, credit card debt, and spending and saving habits of many people today you can see that many of us have a lot to learn in the area of our personal finance!

There are four basic guiding principles to teaching our kids about money according to the post:

  • Educate yourself. This principle applies to everyone, parent and non-parent alike. It is hard to teach what you don't know. Education is often the first of many steps in many things in life. While you might not be able to become an expert, you'll want to learn as much as you think that you need to know about budgeting, saving, investing, reducing your debt, and cutting your costs. When you understand these things better, it will help you to be more prepared about your own personal finances and teaching your kids.

  • Be a good example yourself. Most of us have heard the expression that actions speak louder than words. If what you tell your kids is the complete opposite of what you actually do, then they will tend to learn from what you do and not what you say. You may even sabotage your credibility with your kids by doing this.

  • Teach them one habit at a time. Have patience in teaching your kids about money, they won't learn everything overnight but over the course of their childhood and even their lifetime. Don't be in a rush to teach it all at once, but so that they learn it. This can mean working on one lesson at a time, because if you try to do it all at once, the lessons are less is likely to stick. Developing knowledge and good habits related to your children's personal finance (as with other areas of life as well) will take you a while, so remember that you're in it for the long haul.

  • Let them learn by doing. While you can tell your kids a lot, they'll learn a lot more from doing it themselves. This is learning by experience or doing. Sure your kids will make mistakes but you can discuss the mistakes that they have made and they can learn from these, adjust, and (if things work out) they'll learn better habits by doing.

The post goes on with ten valuable lessons you can teach your kids about money:

  • Give them control of money. Your children need to be in control of some amount of money as kids, so that they will be able to control their money later on. They need to learn that there is not an endless supply of money to be provided at will by mom and dad, grandparents, the government, or society. If they don't learn this as children it will be a lot harder to learn later on. You can give them an allowance weekly, monthly, or some other combination. You could also give them a certain amount of money that you planned on spending on their clothes, school supplies, and so on, that you planned on spending on this items and make them responsible for this part of it. The point is that they realize that they will have so and so much money to spend and that they can plan based on this. They will most likely spend some of it foolishly but through trail and error they should realize that they will want to better plan and choose what they spend their money on more wisely and that some of the things they want, they will need to save for.

  • Teach them to save for monetary goals. After they have a chance to realize that there is more to money then just impluse shopping, they'll want to purchase more expensive things, things that cost more than they would be able to buy with their allowance. If they want to buy a new bike or a video game system (as the parent you don't have to automatically allow them what they want, if it goes against your beliefs and the way that you're raising your kids). Now you can explain how they can save their money to reach their goals. You can show them how if they don't spend all of their allowance on small toys, candy, or other things that are immediately gone after purchase, that they can save up for their bigger goal. Now is your chance to be creative in keeping them motivated to save for their goal. You might do somethings on your computer to track their progress. You could cut out a picture of what they want to get and put it in a place that they will see often. This will help to build excitement along the way and they will be so excited when then reach their goal, knowing that they saved so and so long for it.

  • Teach them that reducing expenses makes goals come faster. This lesson goes with the one above it. Kids will learn that the if you want buy something faster, then they'll need to save more, which means spending less on other things. It is worthwhile to have a discussion about spending and saving and so that they realize they should consciouly think about what they're buying (or not buying) whenever they think about making purchases. You want to get the point across that that they have choices in what they buy or don't buy and using these choices can bring them to their goals quicker or take them longer (or not at all) if they don't reduce their expenses.

  • Teach them about how your money can make money. This is a lesson on investing that many of us should learn and use. To do this a larger financial goal is needed, perhaps a downpayment for a car or a trip, something with a longer time horizon. You can talk about savings accounts and other tools. It can be very motivating to see that you earned this much interest, just by not spending your money on something else.

  • Teach team about creating a budget. This doesn't need to be complicated but needs to show them that their pile of money gets smaller and smaller with every impulse purchase. If kept simple, they can develope the habit of keeping a budget and they might not develop the fear of creating and keeping budget that plagues many adults.

  • Teach them to pay bills. If your kids have their own cell phone, you could make sure that they're responsible for paying the bill (you might want to include the amount of the bill in their allowance as part of their budget). If they're late, there will be penalties, late charges, or maybe even their service could be cut off. You could have them pay other bills and involve them in paying the bills. If you do have them pay any bills themselves, you'll want to monitor that they're actually paying the bills and not doing something else with the money.

  • Teach them about the dangers of debt. While discussion on this topic might not be easily understood by younger children, as your kids get older you'll need to explain loans, the use of credit cards, and other debts. You can arrange to get them a credit card, that they'll have to pay for! If they now add the credit card payments to their budgets then they should learn about how interest payments take away money that could be spent or saved for other things.

  • Teach them that earning more money gets them closer to their goals. If your kids have some larger savings goal, they'll learn that by cutting their expenses that they can reach their goal sooner, but they can also learn that by earning more money, they can reach their goal faster. They can do things like babysitting and yard work for neighbors, washing people's cars, and etc. As they get older they get a part-time job. You might even allow them to do some extra projects around the house but this should be in additon to their chores or the things that they need to do around your house as a member of your family. A lot of people seem to think that allowance shouldn't be tied to chores at all.

  • Teach them about advertising and consumerism. Advertising might seem clear at first glance, but what is consumerism you ask? My understanding of what is meant by this, is the focus that is spent on all of us consuming products and services (especially new ones). Advertising and marketing are designed to entice you to buy something (product, service, idea, etc) that you might not necessarily really need or want. With advertising and marketing there is often a keeping up with the Joneses and an unhealthy competition is encourgaged or your emotions are played so that you desire this or that. This has lead to a lot of unthought out purchases and items laying around that are not being used, not to mention our land fills overflowing, and the damaging effects on the environment.

  • Teach them about impulse buying. This is closely related to item nine. We need to teach our children to think more about their purchases before buying. They need to be able to recognize the signs of impulse buying (increased heart rate, faster and heavier breathing, or other signs of excitement). They need to stay away from places and things that might encourage uncontolled spending. They also should not buy things just to impress others (cars, clothes, gadgets, and etc.) .


You should also check out these articles mentioned in the post, as there is a lot of good information provided in them:

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