This article was sponsored by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual), Springfield, MA 01111-0001. www.MassMutual.com. All opinions are those of the author.
I don’t even know where to start with this blog post you guys. Most of you know by now that earlier this week I had the amazing opportunity to attend an event in collaboration with MassMutual for their #FutureSmart challenge. The brilliant minds at MassMutual came up with the Future Smart challenge. It was designed to educate and empower middle and high school students. The program is filled with the tools that they need to make the best decisions about their financial future. Hill Harper did an impeccable job at hyping up the crowd and keeping the students engaged throughout the entire presentation.
The event was filled with an immense amount of information and tools that I think everyone, not just middle and high school students, can benefit from. Their passion for this program filled the room. You could genuinely tell that they both are so determined to help young students take control of their future. So many things that Hill Harper and Nick Anderson spoke on resonated with me personally. It’s crazy that how at 26 years old, I felt like he was talking to me. Of course I know a lot more about finances than I did when I was a kid but I realized in the moments sitting in that arena, how much I wished someone would’ve taught me how to make smart decisions with my money.
One thing that Nick Anderson spoke about at the event was his upbringing and how he grew up in a pretty rough neighborhood. As he started talking, I began to think about my husband. I’m going to be honest with you guys for a moment here. My husband was in his 20s the first time he learned how to write a check. I taught him. Growing up no one taught him how to make smart decisions about his money. There was no such thing as a savings account and he grew up thinking that when he wanted something he had to have it now. No one taught him how to budget and how to pay his self first. Paycheck to paycheck was the only thing he knew.
My upbringing was a little bit different. I come from a two-parent household and both of my parents had jobs. My mom was always a saver and budgeted. I was taught how to write checks at an early age and how important it is to save.
When we became parents, it was rough for us. Money was never a huge issue but we struggled to find a healthy balance between saving and spending. I was still in college working towards my Bachelor’s degree while my husband worked a full-time job to support us. Although I knew how to budget and save, we never took it seriously. One day our lives changed and we had no option but to get serious.
I became pregnant with Tristan and left my job to blog full-time after they no longer had the budget to pay me. Then Tristan was born and our lives changed. We were drowning in medical bills and the only thing that we could do was to pull from our retirement.
That was a mistake.
A mistake that we’ll never make again.
After losing Tristan, we have more of an understanding know of how important it is to save and have an emergency fund.
I say all this to say that I wish I had someone was invested in me enough to teach me the right things about finances. I wish the #FutureSmart program was around when I was younger. If it was we could’ve avoided so many financial hiccups.
Parents, believe me when I say that the most critical mistake that you could make when your children are young is not teaching them about money. Financial literacy is important. Money is the currency that rules this country and your kids need to know how to make wise financial decisions. They need to know that education is important and it is possible no matter what your background. Talk to them about why saving is important and not just to save. Teach them to pay themselves first. Most importantly, teach them that it’s okay to take risks sometimes and to invest in themselves.
If you’re not sure where to start, start with the MassMutual Future Smart challenge. It’s a great program chock full of so many valuable lessons that can guide you and your kids on the path to creating a successful blueprint for their lives.
What exactly is the MassMutual FutureSmart challenge?
FutureSmartSM was created to bring critical financial education to middle and high school students in partnership with select NBA teams and Junior Achievement. Their goal for the program is to impact the financial education of 2 million students by 2020. The nationwide events are interactive seminars in which students learn the importance of savings, career choices, staying in school and going to college, and how each has a profound impact on their future financial success. Learn more about the program and how you can get involved by visiting here.
I can’t wait to see this program continue to grow and flourish. What’s one thing that you wish your parents taught you about finances?