When you think of money, what comes to mind first? For most people, it's lack. Money sparks images of bills and debt instead of wealth and abundance.
Isn't that a curious kind of thing? Money is a very physical thing that can come in the form of paper or coin – but most people in our society associate it with the opposite. When you hear the word money, your mind actually thinks about the feeling of not having money instead of thinking about the physical money.
But when you really delve into the topic, it makes a lot of sense. We naturally associate words with feelings. And for most of us, money elicits feelings of lack. It's a cycle that begins at a young age… but it doesn't have to.
That's one reason why it's important to teach your tween how to save now. If your tween starts saving now, she can face those defining moments of young adulthood from a perspective of abundance instead of lack.
The money mindset begins now
By the time your child approaches his teenage years, he has already begun to form an opinion on money. And there's some good news and bad news: Those opinions largely come from you and your relationship with money.
If you've got it all figured out, there's nothing but good news in the equation. But if you have some work to do on your own money mindset, it's not all sunshine and roses.
But there's a silver lining…
Once you've identified your own blocks, you can course correct with your child. Take a look at your own spending habits to see whether you can dissect any hidden beliefs you may have about money. If you can't, and you have trouble with saving, spending or making money, you may want to talk to someone who specializes in the money mindset.
At the very least, read a book about creating positive habits around money, so you can pass on some healthier habits to your tween. The relationship he forms with money today will stay with him for a lifetime, so this is important.
Compound interest is a young adult's best friend
Compound interest is the easiest way to explain the benefits of saving to your young adult. If you have an account where you can illustrate the benefits of compound interest over time, now is a great time to share the learnings with your child.
If not, no worries. You can still walk through an example of compound interest with the money your tween has to invest.
For example, let's say your 13-year-old child has $1,000 today. She invests that money into an interest bearing account for the next 10 years. Without adding a dime (or withdrawing a dime), at an 8 percent interest rate, that $1,000 will more than double. And it may not seem like a lot, but the longer you leave the money there, the more it will grow. After 20 years, you'll have four times as much in the account at the same interest rate.
And, naturally, the more your child invests, the greater the benefits. It's always better to invest early than to try and catch up later.
Emergency funds can save your financial future
Now's a good time to teach your child what could happen if you don't have an emergency fund.
Most of us learn by example, so let's explore one possible scenario:
Bob graduates college and gets an apartment with his friends. He has a job earning $7.25 an hour and that barely covers his living expenses. After living expenses, Bob always has about $150 left in the bank. This is his "entertainment money," and he always spends it.
But this month, Bob's certified preowned Volvo broke down. The cost of the repair was $200. Now, Bob has -$200. He was forced to take on credit card debt to get his car fixed. His bills just got a slight increase because he's making minimum payments on his credit card.
By making minimum payments, Bob will take nearly 2 years to pay off that credit card and pay an extra $52 at a 24 percent APR.
This is one strike. And there will inevitably be more to follow.
It's easy to see how things can snowball from here. When you're spending money you don't have, it will always cost you. As overdraft fees, late fees and interest charges pile up, you'll end up losing money you don't even have. It's difficult to catch up once you've fallen down this rabbit hole.
That's why an emergency fund is so crucial.
If you want your children to experience financial freedom, you have to equip them with the right tools. What techniques are you using to tach your kids about money?
Women have come a long way in redefining beauty to be more inclusive of different body types, skin colors and hair styles, but society's beauty standards still remain as high as we have always known them to be. In the workplace, professionalism is directly linked to the appearance of both men and women, but for women, the expectations and requirements needed to fit the part are far stricter. Unlike men, there exists a direct correlation between beauty and respect that women are forced to acknowledge, and in turn comply with, in order to succeed.
Before stepping foot into the workforce, women who choose to opt out of conventional beauty and grooming regiments are immediately at a disadvantage. A recent Forbes article analyzing the attractiveness bias at work cited a comprehensive academic review for its study on the benefits attractive adults receive in the labor market. A summary of the review stated, "'Physically attractive individuals are more likely to be interviewed for jobs and hired, they are more likely to advance rapidly in their careers through frequent promotions, and they earn higher wages than unattractive individuals.'" With attractiveness and success so tightly woven together, women often find themselves adhering to beauty standards they don't agree with in order to secure their careers.
Complying with modern beauty standards may be what gets your foot in the door in the corporate world, but once you're in, you are expected to maintain your appearance or risk being perceived as unprofessional. While it may not seem like a big deal, this double standard has become a hurdle for businesswomen who are forced to fit this mold in order to earn respect that men receive regardless of their grooming habits. Liz Elting, Founder and CEO of the Elizabeth Elting Foundation, is all too familiar with conforming to the beauty culture in order to command respect, and has fought throughout the course of her entrepreneurial journey to override this gender bias.
As an internationally-recognized women's advocate, Elting has made it her mission to help women succeed on their own, but she admits that little progress can be made until women reclaim their power and change the narrative surrounding beauty and success. In 2016, sociologists Jaclyn Wong and Andrew Penner conducted a study on the positive association between physical attractiveness and income. Their results concluded that "attractive individuals earn roughly 20 percent more than people of average attractiveness," not including controlling for grooming. The data also proves that grooming accounts entirely for the attractiveness premium for women as opposed to only half for men. With empirical proof that financial success in directly linked to women's' appearance, Elting's desire to have women regain control and put an end to beauty standards in the workplace is necessary now more than ever.
Although the concepts of beauty and attractiveness are subjective, the consensus as to what is deemed beautiful, for women, is heavily dependent upon how much effort she makes towards looking her best. According to Elting, men do not need to strive to maintain their appearance in order to earn respect like women do, because while we appreciate a sharp-dressed man in an Armani suit who exudes power and influence, that same man can show up to at a casual office in a t-shirt and jeans and still be perceived in the same light, whereas women will not. "Men don't have to demonstrate that they're allowed to be in public the way women do. It's a running joke; show up to work without makeup, and everyone asks if you're sick or have insomnia," says Elting. The pressure to look our best in order to be treated better has also seeped into other areas of women's lives in which we sometimes feel pressured to make ourselves up in situations where it isn't required such as running out to the supermarket.
So, how do women begin the process of overriding this bias? Based on personal experience, Elting believes that women must step up and be forceful. With sexism so rampant in workplace, respect for women is sometimes hard to come across and even harder to earn. "I was frequently assumed to be my co-founder's secretary or assistant instead of the person who owned the other half of the company. And even in business meetings where everyone knew that, I would still be asked to be the one to take notes or get coffee," she recalls. In effort to change this dynamic, Elting was left to claim her authority through self-assertion and powering over her peers when her contributions were being ignored. What she was then faced with was the alternate stereotype of the bitchy executive. She admits that teetering between the caregiver role or the bitch boss on a power trip is frustrating and offensive that these are the two options businesswomen are left with.
Despite the challenges that come with standing your ground, women need to reclaim their power for themselves and each other. "I decided early on that I wanted to focus on being respected rather than being liked. As a boss, as a CEO, and in my personal life, I stuck my feet in the ground, said what I wanted to say, and demanded what I needed – to hell with what people think," said Elting. In order for women to opt out of ridiculous beauty standards, we have to own all the negative responses that come with it and let it make us stronger– and we don't have to do it alone. For men who support our fight, much can be achieved by pushing back and policing themselves and each other when women are being disrespected. It isn't about chivalry, but respecting women's right to advocate for ourselves and take up space.
For Elting, her hope is to see makeup and grooming standards become an optional choice each individual makes rather than a rule imposed on us as a form of control. While she states she would never tell anyone to stop wearing makeup or dressing in a way that makes them feel confident, the slumping shoulders of a woman resigned to being belittled looks far worse than going without under-eye concealer. Her advice to women is, "If you want to navigate beauty culture as an entrepreneur, the best thing you can be is strong in the face of it. It's exactly the thing they don't want you to do. That means not being afraid to be a bossy, bitchy, abrasive, difficult woman – because that's what a leader is."