Columnist: Avoid holiday financial pitfalls

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Jerry Johnson

Contributing columnist

Buy now for Christmas, read now before Christmas! “Smart Money Smart Kids” by Rachel Cruze and Dave Ramsey. Wish I would have had this book 35 years ago!

This is an easy read on how to teach kids to handle money. It gives so many smart ways to get kids — and adults — to treat money with wisdom. If your kid wants a car, do not take them down to the dealership and buy a new car. Let them get a job and start learning to save money.

Here is the deal, you must pay cash, no payments. If they save $4,500, you match $4,500. If they raise $6,000, you match $6,000.

Guess what, they will treat that car much better because they have sweat in the deal. You have taught them a lesson that some adults never learn. They, and you, will learn “WORK” IS NOT a bad four-letter word. Another four-letter word they will learn is “SAVE,” which is also a very good word for them to learn.

Oh yes, a very special four-letter word: “GIVE,” because learning to help someone else is a great part of life. Giving of your time and talents are so important to be a balanced person.

Show me a lifelong giver and you will find someone that life has been good to! I believe what goes around comes back many times over.

This book will be a great buy for everyone on your shopping list before Christmas and the reason why is because when Jan. 2 comes around they will not owe three months’ salary on stuff that does not matter.

Have a blessed day, my friends, and remember give your time to the ones you love. It really is more important than your money.

• • •

Newsflash: The Joneses are broke!

When my children were growing up I taught them the importance of living on a budget. It is so easy to buy on credit and try to keep up with the Joneses.

The only problem is the Jones are living a lie! They may appear to have it all, but sadly they are swimming in debt! We have to teach our young people to live within their means.

We need the people in Washington to learn this; we would pay lots less taxes!!!

Ashley and Jay learned early on when the money was gone, it was gone. I am asking Ashley to talk about how rules with money make a kid grow up to manage money as an adult. Ashley babysat, worked retail and waited tables.

Ashley: “I believe it’s fairly simple, don’t spend what you don’t have. When I was a teenager, Guess jeans were the big item every teenager “had to have,” and so, of course, I thought I had to have them.

“Pop taught me the importance of only spending what we had and then that meant working harder to buy the ‘extras.’ I worked at Mansour’s, waited tables, taught swimming lessons and even shoveled horse manure to have what I wanted. In the long run I learned a much bigger lesson than how to buy Guess jeans! Pop was teaching me to decide what it is I wanted in life and go get it. He never told me I couldn’t have those jeans, he just taught me that money didn’t grow on trees.”

Sit down with your spouse and get real about your current financial situation and your fiscal goals. Make a budget and stick with it! Don’t go into debt for the instant gratification of the Longhorn meal or the NorthFace jacket.

By all means, don’t worry about keeping up with the Joneses because what they aren’t telling you is they are two months behind on their power bill and don’t how they are going to put gas in their car because the credit card is maxed out! Your children need you to model this behavior so that they can grow up with self-control when it comes spending habits.

“… The borrower is slave to lender.” — Proverbs 22:7

Jerry Johnson is president of First Realty of LaGrange.