Today I’m delighted to feature Shannon Ryan of The Heavy Purse. I discovered Shannon through Twitter and have since come to appreciate her insights on raising financially smart kids. Today she shares how she found her career calling and how her passion folds into her girls’ lives. Don’t you just love when career and passions collide? It really makes the whole work-life juggle so much better.
As a parent, one of my greatest desires is to influence my daughters lives. To know the many gifts I have given them–love, compassion, independence and financial smarts–will help them live their best life. My father blessed me with a wonderful gift that changed my life. I have already shared this gift with my girls in hopes that they will someday pass it along to their children–a legacy of financial literacy.
When I was 13, my father started teaching me about money. The lessons took place over dinner and weren’t explanations of stocks and bonds or how the stock market worked. Instead, my father focused on the emotional side of money, and how our emotions left unchecked can cause us to make poor money decisions.
Money is a Gift
He taught me money was gift and should be used to create joy for myself and others. But that didn’t mean I could just run out and buy everything I wanted either. We all have a finite amount of money, but we also all have the ability to choose how we spend our money. This was so important. If I aligned my goals and beliefs with how I used my money, I would experience financial freedom. My money wouldn’t own me; I’d own it and be able to spend joyfully, which was music to my teenage ears.
My father helped ignite my passion for financial literacy, which eventually led me to become a Certified Financial Planner, and I love helping clients be more financially prepared. Over the years, I realized that my father teaching me about money was a bit of an anomaly. Money was a taboo subject in most families. At the same time, kids observed how their parents handled money, particularly picking up emotions of fear, scarcity and anger. They inherited Mom and Dad’s money hang-ups and passed those same beliefs and habits to their children.
I realized the key to stopping this vicious cycle was reaching kids when they were very young and free of any money bias. I vowed when I had kids of my own that money would never be a taboo subject in our home. Just as my father helped me develop a healthy relationship with money, I would do the same for my kids. I had seen firsthand how a lack of financial literacy affected people’s lives and financial well-being. I began to develop my Save, Spend and Share concept as an easy way to introduce kids and parents to handling money and making value-based decisions, just as my father taught me to do.
Save, Spend and Share in Action
Eventually I had two beautiful girls, Lauren and Taylor, and at a very young age, I began talking to them about money and setting goals. We kept the conversation very simple and centered around saving money for a family vacation to Turks and Caicos. To keep the girls interested and motivated to achieve the goal, we talked about the vacation frequently and all the wonderful things we would do.
When they found something they wanted at the store and asked me to buy it for them, I reminded the girls that we were saving our money for our vacation. By talking to them about all the fun things we had planned, they agreed wholeheartedly that the family vacation was more important and put the toy back with zero disappointment. I never told them “no” but just helped them to see how purchasing things we didn’t plan for could affect our ability to achieve the things we really wanted. Our family goal was something that made all of our hearts happy, so I very rarely ever received push back from the girls.
Pass It On: Financial Literacy
Today, my girls are ages 7 and 9 and are more financial literate than most adults. After seeing the difference money conversations and goal-setting made with my girls, it renewed my desire to help other parents raise Money Smart kids. The Great Recession was just more proof of a huge demand for financial literacy, so I put pen to paper and began writing my children’s book with my daughters as the inspiration. One day, my youngest daughter, Taylor, came running up to me, carrying her purple purse that overflowed with coins, shouting, “My purse is too heavy!”
And from that moment, The Heavy Purse was born and my mission to teach busy parents how to raise Money Smart kids began.
What legacy do you want to give to your kids? Have you started talking to them about money?
Bio: Shannon Ryan, CFP® is a Mom on a mission to help busy parents teach their children simple, value-based principles that guide their money decisions and support their long-term financial well-being. Visit www.TheHeavyPurse.com to learn more on how to raise Money Smart Kids. Connect with Shannon on Twitter (www.twitter.com/theheavypurse) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/theheavypurse).