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Financial Education

Today, living without money is impossible. Even in remote contemplative monasteries there is always at least one person who takes the responsibility of generating an income, paying bills and buying supplies. Most monasteries and centers today exist by running their own small businesses of service or charging for retreats and publications. Only a handful of monasteries still sell their jams, fruitcakes and wine or maintain on donations alone. In regular societies we face inflation, teetering global markets and shaky national economies everyday. Trugpa Rinpoche wrote, "The river of materialism has burst its banks." So, how do we educate children about today's financial situation? Completely withholding a real education about money is not an option. Awareness is the way to right livelihood and right action.

Good Money
The biggest tip for teaching children about money is to use every practical opportunity to make money real in their lives. Not with lectures to kids, but with gradual step-by-step, year-by-year hands on teaching for about 16 years. Unfortunately, families usually teach that money is either an unreachable goal and bigger than life itself, or so invisible due to over-indulgence, that only entitlement is actually cultivated. Either way is a disservice to young people and will disable them in using money in their lives. A lack of financial savvy will weaken any student's ability to function in the world independently.

In reality, money is just a neutral tool of trade, that is -- before we attach our confusing and sometimes fearful thoughts to it. There is nothing wrong with money itself, but there are countless complications in dealing with money. Many families never talk about money and ignore addressing the subject completely, while other families might make money acquisition the main measure of life. Neither of these approaches is useful to a child. Instead, by taking a matter-of-fact view of money and carefully handling money with a child throughout childhood you will give that child a better chance to handle life as it really shows up.

In America, and in the world, many more families worry about having enough money month to month, than not. Everyone must have enough money to survive and to be able to live without the constant fear of lacking what is needed. In America, it is said that most people live only three paychecks away from homelessness. The problem is huge and needs to be addressed by the whole community. Unfortunately the dwindling middle-class population, is becoming downgraded into the emerging working poor class, as jobs in America are disappearing. The most immediate need is stability for the children. Children must be given priority with food, shelter, and safety. Otherwise, if fear dominates their lives then joining gangs for protection and profit might seem like a feasible career plan. This is a problem for the whole society to solve.

For wealthy families, we recommend a balanced financial education at home like Warren Buffet's example. Buffet is America's second richest man. Buffet's example: He buys the best education possible for his family and then leaves them all completely with their own skills to live on -- without trust funds. He supports their education, but it is up to them to make a living with what they can do for themselves. He is donating his billions back to the cultures of the world for the common good.

Financial Literacy

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©Coyyright Deb Huntley 2008 - 2014 ~ All rights reserved.