Now She’s Done It!

Em-adding up her money

There’s nothing quite like returning to homeschool with a bang and a burst of energy.

As Em tackled subtracting decimals for homeschool this month, I began to read.

First in line, The One and Only Ivan, our current morning reading book. As you can see from the stack, we aren’t hurting for books to read. Heck, I’ll be lucky to get through all of these in a year or more!

I tackled reading from The History of Absolutely Everything, as well as two profiles of famous women in history and science, before moving on to Covey’s 7 Habits for Highly Effective Teens.

However, it was my addition of The Toothpaste Millionaire, and the mention of money that reminded Em of her plans for someday moving out…

“All of us are going to rent a big house and move into it as soon as we turn eighteen, so I need to start saving money.”

“I see,” I said, nodding. “Well, you might consider putting your savings into your savings account so it can earn interest.”

“What is interest?”

“It’s the money that the bank pays you for storing your money with them.” She blinked at me in confusion. “Here, let’s look at your account balance in Quicken.”

I pulled up her savings account and started explaining it. “So here you will see that we put in $100 each month into your account. We will do this until it reaches at least $6,000 worth of payments from us since we have borrowed from it in lean times.” She nodded, “And here are the interest payments that you get from Goldman Sachs.”

Note: I highly recommend everyone consider opening a savings account online with Goldman Sachs. They pay the highest interest rates that you can get on a savings account, currently 2.02% instead the laughable .2% through brick and mortar banks. Goldman Sachs, unlike CIT, automatically raises your interest rate each time the rate increases.

Her eyes widened, “Wait a minute, I earned $2.77 last month just from having my money in the bank?!”

I smiled, “Yep.”

She ran out of the room and came back with all of her money. She counted it out slowly. “So I could put this money in the account, and it would earn interest and give me even more back?” 

“Yep.” I paused and then offered her one heck of a deal. “I tell you what, I’ll make you an offer you won’t find anywhere else. For every dollar you decide to put in the bank, for as long as we are financially able to do this, I’ll match it with 50 cents.”

Her eyes widened and she reached for the notebook she had been doing her pre-Algebra in. A few minutes later, she had added:

$52.50 (amount she had in cash) + $30 (profit sharing for the month of December) + the 50% match = $123.75

“Really, Mama? You would do that?” 

“Yes, I would, because I want more than anything for you to make good choices. If you learn how to save now, to put aside a portion of your money, I’m willing to reward that. It will get you in the habit for the future. And hopefully save you from the cascade of bad choices your dad, me, and even your sister have made over the years.”

We settled on setting aside $10, $15 when you remove the 50% match, she handed over her $42 and I scheduled a deposit for the first of December for $108.75. She hugged me in excitement, I’ve rarely seen her this giddy, and from the looks of it, her account will crack $2,000 by the end of next month. 

I also planted a seed of entrepreneurship in her head. “Imagine if you were able to do a lemonade stand at the farmer’s market next summer and I was still able to do the 50% match?”

She danced a jig, threw her arms around me, and hugged me. “Thank you, Mama! Thank you!”

I hope what most parents hope for – for a healthy, well-adjusted, capable child. But those lean years, they stick with me. I never want her to feel that desperation, the stress, the sleepless nights and interminable days filled with fear over how to afford the very basics of life. 

I remember how jealous my older daughter was when Em was born. “She’s going to be spoiled.”

Spoiling a child is not something that I’m usually accused of, but I understood why she said it. She had seen what real life was like, had her face rubbed in reality and she didn’t like it, not one bit. Life can be hard, and it is often especially cruel to those who hope for more than just a simple 9 to 5 existence. She knew that Em would have more things than she had growing up, more opportunities, and above all, an intact family unit. 

But those things don’t make a spoiled child. And while I do go out of my way to make sure Em has what she needs (and sometimes what she just wants), I can definitely be sure she isn’t spoiled. 

I was so proud of her today. She jumped on my offer and made use of it and I can’t wait to see how quick her savings balance grows!


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