Two Nights On Death Row

May 2013 Newsletter: Two Nights On Death Row

Dear Good Sense friends and colleagues,

I attend many conferences each year, most of them financially oriented. However last month I attended the “Malachi Dads” conference held at the largest maximum security prison in the US at Angola, Louisiana! In the 1970’s, Angola was billed as the bloodiest prison in the US. Nearly all the 6000+ inmates at Angola are incarcerated for life.

The thrust of the conference was for us “great fathers” to fly in and motivate the inmates to stay involved in their kids’ lives. But the inmates actually motivated the socks off us “free-men”. I learned more from the inmates about creative ways to stay involved in my kids’ lives than I could ever teach them!

Our sleeping arrangements were pretty unique. I stayed two nights in a death row prison cell! In my cell there was barely enough room for a cot, toilet, sink, and about a 3’x3’ area to stand up. Death row inmates often spend years awaiting the death penalty and are only allowed out of their cells for one hour a day to bathe, exercise or whatever.

As I laid in my cot, one of the things that came to mind was the realization that many people live lives of financial imprisonment of their own making, with feelings of desperation probably similar to the death row inmates! Some are wealthy but don’t want to write a check to advance Kingdom purposes so they never experience the blessing and joy of generosity. Others are in significant debt and the pressure of not being able to make next month’s payment crushes their very spirit.

Many of you lead or assist in your stewardship ministry and bring understanding and hope that both rich and poor desperately need. You are the hands and feet of Jesus to help many get Freed-Up to live lives of joy, contentment, peace, and freedom. Way to go! I hope the Good Sense Freed-Up resources will be helpful for your individual learning, small group gathering, or church-wide event.

Sid Yeomans
President, Good Sense Movement
Transforming Finances! Transforming Lives!


Personal Finance “Experiences” For Older Kids

One of the most powerful things I’ve learned over the last few years is that older children and teenagers often learn the most powerful life lessons from experiences they can directly relate to.

The problem is that personal finance isn’t often directly relatable to their life. Quite often, parents and teachers rely on lectures and discussions to get the ideas across, but experiences are the things that many older children and teenagers really connect with. You can tell them about personal finance all day long, but without some experience, it often won’t sink in.

Here are some actual experiences your older children and teenagers can engage in to learn some of the basics of personal finance. I’ve been collecting these activities myself in order to help educate my children in personal finance literacy as they grow older.

Give an allowance each week. You can start this effectively with children as young as four. We give our children an allowance of a rate of $0.50 per week per year. So, a seven year old gets $3.50 per week. Out of that allowance, they must donate at least 20% of it, they must invest at least 20% of it, and they must save at least 20% of it for a future goal, rounded up to the nearest quarter.

This teaches them both the basic structure of budgeting and the benefit of saving money over time. They’ll learn that structuring what they do with their income is a completely normal thing and segmenting their money means that they’ll always have enough for what they need.

Lend them money with interest attached. If your child really wants something, lend them the rest of the money with 20% interest attached, and make the payments come out of their allowance each week. “I’ll loan you the $20 you need for that game, son, but I’ll charge you 20% interest on that and you have to pay me $1 a week until it’s all paid off.”

If they go for it, take that $0.50 each week out of their allowance and remind them each time how much they’ve repaid you. When they reach week 20 and they’ve now repaid the full amount and you’re still taking a dollar a week for the next month to pay off an item that they’ve probably forgotten about, it’ll hit home.

Take your children to a few tax auctions. Explain to them that all of the stuff on sale there came from people who were unable to pay their bills because they spent too much money.

The lesson here is that there are real consequences to taking on debt. If you fall into too much debt, you not only lose all of the money you paid into that debt, you lose the things you bought with that money, too. Personal debt is a dangerous game to play.

Tell them that they have $X to spend this week and they have to figure out what to buy for groceries. If you want, you can actually let them carry forward with this plan from beginning to end. They have to figure out how to spend that money to cover all 21 family meals for the week. How will they stretch those dollars? What does the meal plan look like?

Don’t be afraid to let your older child attempt this, carry it all the way through, and find that it’s a lot harder than they thought it would be. In fact, it’s okay to let it end in miserable failure. Only swoop in when you have to in order to make sure there are actually functional meals on the table.

Encourage them to spend the summer launching a small business. It can be anything they want, from starting a Youtube channel to running a vegetable garden to sell the products at a farmers’ market. Help them work out the costs and give them an out-of-pocket business loan to get started.

The goal here is for them to connect their personal efforts to financial and personal rewards. The harder they work, the greater the financial reward, but the greater the pride in the work they’ve produced as well. Any entrepreneurial effort is loaded with potential lessons for an older child or a teenager.

These activities require time, effort, and patience from the parent, but they provide experiences that make the realities of personal finance far more accessible to children. If you want your child to learn these kinds of lessons, get them involved in these kinds of experiences.

SOURCE: May 13, 2013 @ 2:00 pm – Written by Trent from The Simple Dollar

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to find out how much your college really costs.


From Idea to Action

Never underestimate the power of a single learning experience.

Back in June of 2012, Nathan from Share Save Spend led a learning event for alumni at my alma mater, St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN. During the presentation, I talked about the benefits of using a Share Save Spend allowance with kids as a way to introduce them to the topic of money.

While most of the attendees had an interest in the topic, one gentleman, Billy, was especially interested. More specifically, he wanted to know how to implement the allowance with his two young sons.
I didn’t think much of our exchange until I received an email from him in late March giving me an update on how things were progressing with his boys and their allowance.
Here is a brief recap, in his words, of the experience with his two boys:
I attended your workshop last year at the St. Olaf Reunion weekend. Your message landed and I have implemented your suggestions for almost a year now. I created Share Save Spend banks for both sons (with the virtues attributed to each distinction: generosity, gratitude, patience, discipline, needs vs. wants).
Each boy receives money for each bank every week. In the course of the year, my oldest son, Leif (8 yrs) was bothered by seeing homeless people asking for money on the city street corners. He decided he wanted to give his “share money” to a homeless shelter. I promised I would find a resource for him to give.
Two months ago, I found Street Works, a local nonprofit that assists homeless youth and adults. We drove to the main office in downtown Minneapolis and my son had a chance to not only to give his “Share money”, but also, find out how it would be used to help homeless people in Minneapolis.
The Street Works coordinator said Leif was their youngest donor ever

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and they invited him to attend the outreach workers monthly meeting where they will honor his generosity and compassion for the homeless. I am very impressed with the results of this Share Save Spend concept: In practice it has yielded rich results. Thank you.

Billy’s recap is an excellent reminder of what can happen when you take a simple concept and stick with it for a period of time. Not only is Leif learning how to make wise money decisions, but he is also beginning to understand that his resources can make a difference in the world – even as an 8 year-old.

Gotta Have it Now!

Only 1% of parents that give an allowance say their child ever saves any of that money – American Institute of CPAs.

Try This

For young children, interacting with money in a tangible way is an important part of learning healthy money habits. Our Raising Financially Freed-Up Kids DVD & Workbook is an excellent resource to help your children build habits for success.

Money Talks

If you use an allowance, be sure to link it to a weekly money talk. Devoting 10-15 minutes each week to issues related to sharing, saving and spending will make a huge difference in the life of a young person.

Source: Share Save Spend


May 2013 Transforming Truths

“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.”
– Philippians 4:12

Much of the advertising and marketing we experience each day is designed to foster and prey upon people’s lack of contentment.

How do we foster contentment? What is the “secret” of being content that Paul mentioned? He reveals it in verse 13: “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” It is our life-affirming, strength-building, grace-filled relationship with the living Christ that gives us peace no matter what our circumstances.

In difficult times it is our relationship with Christ that enables us to see that his power is made perfect in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9) and we find the endurance we need (Colossians 1:11). In good times it is our relationship with Christ that enables us to see that the blessings we have received have been given that we might be a blessing to others (2 Corinthians 9:11).

When we believe the cultural lie that more money and more things will give us the contentment we seek, we step onto a never-stopping, ever-accelerating treadmill that wears us out and gets us nowhere. When we believe the Word’s truth that contentment is found in a relationship with Jesus Christ we find a peace that transcends our circumstances.

We would love to hear from you. Comment below and share how you foster contentment.


Stories of Transformation