I Want a Hamburger… No a Cheeseburger.

Note: This is the first in a month-long series we hope will inspire parents to discuss financial literacy with their children. It’s never too early to start saving!

We can’t go to McDonald’s without spending $40.

It’s my own fault, I realize.  Kids are expensive, and four can be…. well, really expensive.

And so there we were recently, sitting in the right-hand lane of the double drive thru at the McDonalds off exit 364 on I-40.  (Side note: along with the upside-down umbrella, the double drive thru is one of my favorite inventions.  Thank you, double drive thru inventor.)  I was rattling off another of my favorite sound bites as the kids were letting Rosemary know what they wanted, and when the nice person on the other end said “That will be $43.17 at the second window,” we had an “A-HA!” moment.

“Dad, that’s a lot of money,” said 9 year-old Maye.

It frustrates me that we don’t do more in this country to prepare our children for the financial world they’ll be thrust into.  It isn’t about trying to get rich.  It’s about understanding concepts, making good decisions (and understanding how bad ones can affect you), valuing a dollar earned, recognizing that time is your most valuable asset and that “rainy days” happen.  Not rocket science, but incredibly important.

We’ve tried to start with the basics in my house.  Money is earned through hard work.  We spend those hard-earned dollars on things we need (while trying to have some fun as well… like eating McDonalds), and we don’t spend more than we bring in.  We save money before we spend anything, and over time that savings will grow.

And that is it for now.  There is obviously more to learn, but if we teach just those basic concepts future generations will be much more prepared for adulthood and the decisions that come with handling your finances.

So thank you for noticing, Maye Maye.  I think you are getting it, and we are going to be okay.

Now make sure you are strapped into your seat.  You’ll get nothing, and like it!  (Kidding