Financial Literacy – Day 11 of 75 of Honoring My Mommy

(apologies for the funky formatting)

From Wikipedia (don’t tell my students I quoted Wikipedia!): “Financial literacy is the ability to understand how money works in the world: how someone manages to earn or make it, how that person manages it, how he/she invests it (turn it into more) and how that person donates it to help others. More specifically, it refers to the set of skills and knowledge that allows an individual to make informed and effective decisions with all of their financial resources.”

moneyBefore this was an actual term, my mom was financially literate. As a woman of color she set a clear example of what it meant and why it was so important to be financially literate. My mom made money, she invested money, she saved money, she loaned out money, she gave money away and she very wisely spent money. I grew up under the impression that we were wealthy. And our friends thought so also. If I had an Economist or financial planning person actually look at our assets, income, expenditures, etc. while growing up I think that person might more accurately say that we were middle class (maybe upper middle class). But the point is my mom, a woman who did not conform to the standard norm of women of her generation, was financially literate.

It is important for women, people of color, and young folks to be financially literate. We need to engage in those practices AND pass it down to our children, nieces and nephews, grandchildren, etc. Here is what I have retained from my mom’s financial life (I’m sure she died truly believing I’d learned nothing about money)!

My Financial Literate List in no particular order:

  1. Read about money.
    1. You must be an informed participant in your financial literacy.
    2. At first I was bored and confused, but over time the money language became familiar to me and I began to understand it more and more.
    3. Reading about it helps to make what can be confusing more clear. I also talk to people who know more about money than I do.
  2. Find an institution that suits your needs, lifestyle and personality.
    1. My friends on Facebook know how disgruntled I got with my BIG bank and I reached out and asked for suggestions. There are lots of options out there – credit unions, virtual banks, etc. You may use a combination of institutions or just one.
  3. Having a realistic budget and living within that budget is important.
    1. That savings plan should include money for holidays (Christmas), birthdays, anniversaries, vacations, and expenses related to children (if applicable – field trips, etc.)
    2. I have found that having a couple of different savings accounts has helped me do this well.
    1. 401Ks and pensions
    2. Real Estate, even though the market fluctuates, it’s always good to own a piece (or more than 1 piece) of property
    1. My mom gave to the usual suspects (charities and church), but she also gave to friends; not always loans, but gifts. I think it was karma for her – what she put out she got back.
  4. Plan for emergencies.
    1. The conventional wisdom says save at least 3 months of salary; and
    2. Think about: (a) if you’re a home owner, stuff breaks; (b) if you own a car, it needs TLC; (c) if you’re a parent, kids always have unexpected expenses, even when you plan
  5. Have friends with similar saving and spending habits.
    1. My mommy friends and my friends who grew up with “less than enough resources” are my best guides for my saving and spending habits. Through where we choose to go to lunch (or whether we brown bag it) to how often we go to exchanging kid’s clothes, etc. my like-minded pals keep me in line
    2. I also have 2 friends with extremely cheaper life styles than I, they give me perspective and make me think twice before I make a purchase.
  6. Spend, wisely.coin purse
    1. In your efforts to budget, save, invest, etc. don’t deprive yourself or else you might find yourself on a spending binge.
    2. The cliché is that the apple does not fall far from the tree. My mom was a spender. She LOVED fashion and she spent well on clothes. I’m not a fashionista but I love books, magazines, yarn, and Starbucks. So I budget for those expenditures and then treat the process of purchasing one of those things like a treat-day (I leave the boy child at home with daddy and buy a latte, go get my nails done, etc.)
  7. Be consistent.

I think my momma might be slightly proud that I could actually articulate 10 things about financial literacy. Do you have any tips for financial literacy? Please share!

Honoring my mommy: Day 10 of 75

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1.  Every 67 seconds someone is diagnosed wirh with Alzheimer’s.
2.  Alzheimer’s is the 6th leading cause of death in the U.S.
3.  Women make up two thirds of people living with Alzheimer’s.
4.  African Americans and Hispanics are at higher risk than Caucasians for developing Alzheimer’s.

Read more quick facts here: http://m.alz.org/facts-and-figures.asp

With the support and strength of family & friends today I walked 3 miles to End Alzheimer’s. It was such a beautiful event. Flower pinwheels in different colors for you to decorate & plant: orange for those supporting an end to Alzheimer’s, yellow for caregivers, purple if you’d lost someone to Alzheimer’s, and blue for those living with the disease. There was exercising, music, crafts, ringing bells, cheering young people, families, dogs, and tears. It was cathartic. I’m prepared for next year!

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Honoring my mommy: Day 10 of 75

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1.  Every 67 seconds someone is diagnosed wirh with Alzheimer’s.
2.  Alzheimer’s is the 6th leading cause of death in the U.S.
3.  Women make up two thirds of people living with Alzheimer’s.
4.  African Americans and Hispanics are at higher risk than Caucasians for developing Alzheimer’s.

Read more quick facts here: http://m.alz.org/facts-and-figures.asp

With the support and strength of family & friends today I walked 3 miles to End Alzheimer’s. It was such a beautiful event. Flower pinwheels in different colors for you to decorate & plant: orange for those supporting an end to Alzheimer’s, yellow for caregivers, purple if you’d lost someone to Alzheimer’s, and blue for those living with the disease. There was exercising, music, crafts, ringing bells, cheering young people, families, dogs, and tears. It was cathartic. I’m prepared for next year!

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Honoring my Mommy: Day 9 of 75

PedometerToday I walked. When I was in my 20s I was an avid exerciser. I went to the gym 3-5 times a week and exercised at home. Then I got busy…and lazy. My mom smoked until I was 8 years old. She never ate breakfast. She usually skipped lunch. The only reason she occasionally ate dinner was if we implored her or she was out with friends. Her friend from elementary school says that my mom was never much of an eater. Her only exercise was when she was shopping (walking the malls and stores). I remember her favorite foods: potato chips, snickers bars, butter pecan ice cream and Pepsi.  She was just like her dad, my grandfather. Habitual snackers and not full meal eaters.

She was a slender size 6 most of her life. But she was not healthy. In addition to battling Alzheimer’s she is a breast cancer survivor and the cancer came back aggressively in 3 organs as her mental state was declining. She died from complications related to untreated cancer and dementia.  I know a few things about cancer and prevention through eating and exercise.  I don’t know much about Alzheimer’s. I know she and grandma both suffered from it and I want to fight it. I also want to set a good example for my active son by eating well (which we do) and exercising (which he and hubby do, but I do not). Today was a very small step in that direction. Here’s to the beginning of getting physically active and being more healthy! Tomorrow another mile in the fight to End Alzheimer’s!

Honoring My Momma: Day 8 of 75

My mom loved bright colors, primarily orange and yellow. When I was a little girl she used to do dried and silk flower arrangements. I’m sad we never took pictures of those arrangements and this was waaaaaay before the internet, Pintrest, Facebook, etc. so there’s no record of her beautiful work.

I wanted to honor her this year by planting some flowers that will remain a constant reminder of her beauty.  I’ll be going on Saturday to a friend’s house to gather some plants & flowers for our front yard. J bought these orange and yellow mum planters for the front steps and the others pictures are just bright flowers (1 vase in our house).

Flowers and bright colors can help brighten a mood or lighten up a mood. If you know someone who suffers from depression or seasonal affective disorder (as the days get shorter) but her or him some bright flowers. Enjoy.

Orange Mums

Orange Mums

20140914_091125sunflowersorange flowers

If you missed the first post, this is what I am doing: “I figured out that the semester has 75 days, give or take a few days.’ My mom would have been 75 this year. Beginning on Sept. 2nd I’ll be honoring my mom by posting M-F Sept. 2nd thru Dec. 12th some photo, poem, story, etc. that in some way honors my  mom.”  It has not really been M-F but it will be 75 days by the end of the year (I’m an imperfect busy mom & wife)!

Honoring my momma: Day 7 of 75

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I have lost track of what day I’m on and I’ll get back on track this week! I’m leading a team on Sunday which I spontaneously called “Sunflowers for Rae.” My mom loved flowers and bright colors so the name seemed appropriate. I raised $400 which I think is awesome considering I am NOT  a fundraiser type of person. I’ll soon be partnering with the NH/MA offices to do outreach and education to communities of color on Alzheimer’s.