Author Topic: Money Workshop for Teen moms  (Read 1570 times)

lsl129

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Money Workshop for Teen moms
« on: December 20, 2019, 03:29:54 PM »
I have been asked to present a ~2 hr session about basic personal finance topics to a group of young (teens up to age 24) mothers. I was asked to focus on extreme basics, as thinking ahead about a long term goal like retirement or even shorter term, is not currently on their radar. I was thinking about including the following:
-How to save money on child related expenses
-Taking advantage of services available (WIC, SNAP, CHIP... I don't have a lot of info on these so will need to do some research)
-How to begin saving even a small portion of each paycheck to start building up an emergency fund
-Avoiding credit card debt
-Maybe some advice on career/college. Possible lucrative careers that don't require college? Or if they have family support, some info on how certain college degrees will pay off vs others.
Any other suggestions?

Zamboni

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Re: Money Workshop for Teen moms
« Reply #1 on: December 20, 2019, 03:40:34 PM »
First thing: Don't just talk at them. Give them lots of chances to plan what they want for themselves on some sort of activity or worksheet, and to talk to others in the audience and compare plans. You could also see, after they've talked in pairs or threes, if anyone has something mentioned in their group that they want to share with the whole class. You will probably learn something! Also have them brainstorm questions in pairs for 3-4 minutes before opening the floor to questions, perhaps after the first hour.

If you do that first thing, the two hours will go really fast.

Second thing: Make it automatic! Automatic savings even in small amounts. Kick $5 a week into a Roth IRA, or a 529, and put it in a low cost index fund, and it will be amazing in 15 years for college, or 30-40 years for retirement.

Good luck, and let us know how it goes.

Fish Sweet

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Re: Money Workshop for Teen moms
« Reply #2 on: December 20, 2019, 04:45:59 PM »
Just a thought, but for a group in that age bracket, the concept of the 'Fuck Off Fund' might strike more of a chord than an 'Emergency Fund'-- not just because of the catchy, non-stuffy phrasing, but also because especially when you're younger, ideas of what constitutes an emergency can be a little nebulous.  But dealing with a predatory situations at home or at a job, from authority figures or significant others is a situation a lot of young women unfortunately face-- and empowering them with the ability to say "fuck off, I'm outta here/ YOU get outta here" is a powerful one.  At least, that's the phrasing I used with my younger sister when I was trying to encourage her to build her own emergency stash, instead of blowing her meager savings  on makeup and trips with friends

The original FOF article, with all its talk about internships and expensive drinks and maxing out credit cards may or may not be applicable to your audience, but the IDEA of it, I think, is solid in its core.

wellactually

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Re: Money Workshop for Teen moms
« Reply #3 on: December 20, 2019, 05:11:18 PM »
Many young people are unbanked. Cashing your paycheck at Walmart costs a couple bucks, but a ton of people still do it. It might be worth a brief  amount of time to talk about different bank options and account types.

The cost of debt is a good topic.

Agree completely with getting some interaction in there. Have lots of slips of paper that people can write questions on at different points. If they are willing to respond or ask questions in front of the group, that’s great, but most people don’t want to talk about what they don’t know with money.

Budgeting and tracking apps are good topics. Dave Ramsay has a variable income budget worksheet that could be really helpful. He also has some resources about how to handle collections calls and it’s pretty solid if I remember correctly. That could be a printout you have available for anyone to take if they’re interested instead of a topic discussed.

ixtap

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Re: Money Workshop for Teen moms
« Reply #4 on: December 20, 2019, 05:29:39 PM »
I was also going to point out that many folks in this situation will be unbanked. Find out if there is some place local where they can be banked for cheaper than using check cashing services.

You also need to understand and be able to address the poverty mindset. How and why save money if my mother is just going to need it the next time she is short on rent? If I save for an emergency, when am I ever going to have a chance to go out to eat or do anything fun? And how am I supposed to buy diapers in bulk of I only have $5 and a week until I get more money? You might suggest buying bulk items when they first get paid, the first time may be hard, but it will make things easier later.  Have them work out how many diapers they need a month and what the total cost is per month on a small size vs bulk size. Just remember that thinking ahead is hard for teens in general, much less those living in poverty.

Talking about IRAs assumes earned income, check with the organizers to see if this is true of most of the group. Time might be better used on other topics.

I do like the idea of starting by getting them engaged. Ask them what they would do if they got $500 tomorrow. Or how it would feel to know that you were OK the next time an emergency cropped up. What was the last emergency they faced?

robartsd

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Re: Money Workshop for Teen moms
« Reply #5 on: December 20, 2019, 05:50:19 PM »
Sounds like your presentation should have 5 topics:
- Getting Assistance (~10 minutes presentation, ~5 minute QA, printed reference material to take home)
- Cutting Expenses (~10 minutes small groups, ~20 minute full group, worksheets to help organize note taking)
- Why FU money is important (~5 minute presentation, ~5 minute small groups, ~10 minutes full group)
- How to get and use a bank (or more likely credit union) account (~10 minute presentation - include details of 3 best accounts you can find locally for people who keep very small balances and what they should look for when choosing a bank, printed reference material to take home)
- Improving career future (~10 minute presentation - include specific examples at various levels of education, ~10 small group, ~20 full group)

elelbee

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Re: Money Workshop for Teen moms
« Reply #6 on: December 20, 2019, 05:54:25 PM »
These are great ideas so far! I work with young low income moms, and I would add a few things:

Young moms sometimes get relatively large income tax refunds. Making a plan for handling a lump sum could help - maybe set some aside for fun money and use some to meet financial goals that they have identified?

For-profit colleges target young people with sales pitches and it is easy for them to get into significant debt while trying to improve their future. Teaching a general wariness of people who want to sell you something could be helpful.
 
Many moms that I've worked with don't seem to have much experience thinking through all the repercussions of their decisions. For example, buying a car (often with income tax refund money) but not planning for maintenance. Then, in a few months, the car needs a repair but there is no money for this and the car is abandoned. Or planning to move but not taking things like security deposits into account and then being surprised by that expense.

So glad you are doing this! I may use these suggestions to create a session for the families I work with!


calimom

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Re: Money Workshop for Teen moms
« Reply #7 on: December 20, 2019, 06:18:42 PM »
Some random ideas:

* Leanne Brown's Good and Cheap is geared toward those on SNAP or very limited budgets and is downloadable for free:

https://cookbooks.leannebrown.com/good-and-cheap.pdf


* Find out about available childcare resources for low income parents in your area, like Head Start. Your county may have other options as well. Libraries offer story hours for toddlers.

* During the budgeting segment, hold up two similar outfits for a small child. One could be a onesie from Ross or Target with a price tag of $24.99 and the other could be from Goodwill for $1.00. Many people, including those without much money are convinced new is better. Of course return the new one after the workshop!

Good luck and will be following to see how this goes.

* If possible, talk about the value of social capital. Sharing resources like housing and childcare can be invaluable.


lsl129

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Re: Money Workshop for Teen moms
« Reply #8 on: December 20, 2019, 07:11:39 PM »
Thanks everyone! These are all great ideas, many of which I hadn't thought of, and it really helps structure the discussion. This is organized by a church in a suburban/middle class area, but could draw people from all over, so I am trying to find out what the typical family/work situation is and how much support they have to focus on school vs needing to work to support themselves. Love the suggestions - keep them coming!

wellactually

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Re: Money Workshop for Teen moms
« Reply #9 on: December 20, 2019, 07:24:06 PM »
Could you possibly include MLM scams as part of the “people trying to sell you Something” segment? In general, a healthy amount of skepticism about things that sound too good to be true can really prevent some heartache.

MLMs target young people, women, and moms. They tell moms that they can be both a full time stay at home parent AND make thousands of dollars every month. The upfront investment is burdensome and 99% of people never make money.

It would pair well with wariness of for profit schools and salesmen earning commission on your financing of purchases.

Luz

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Re: Money Workshop for Teen moms
« Reply #10 on: December 20, 2019, 10:39:41 PM »
I'm not sure how much time you have to prepare, but could you spend a day shadowing one of the teen moms that will attend, as she goes about her day?
« Last Edit: December 20, 2019, 10:41:57 PM by Luz »

OtherJen

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Re: Money Workshop for Teen moms
« Reply #11 on: December 21, 2019, 06:51:24 AM »
Could you possibly include MLM scams as part of the “people trying to sell you Something” segment? In general, a healthy amount of skepticism about things that sound too good to be true can really prevent some heartache.

MLMs target young people, women, and moms. They tell moms that they can be both a full time stay at home parent AND make thousands of dollars every month. The upfront investment is burdensome and 99% of people never make money.

It would pair well with wariness of for profit schools and salesmen earning commission on your financing of purchases.

YES. I get so many pitches about MLMs from moms of young kids. Moms who are young themselves would likely be even more susceptible to that bullshit, simply due to a relative lack of life experience.

frugaldrummer

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Re: Money Workshop for Teen moms
« Reply #12 on: December 21, 2019, 07:58:36 AM »
Second on the Good and Cheap idea. Food budgets are the one place most people have slack in their budgets. Young people generally are lacking in cooking skills (sadly, many have grown up on microwaved and fast food -even in the affluent area where I raised my kids their friends would rave about the simplest home cooked meals served at my house - and Im NO gourmet chef! )

Showing them how an example of how much they could save with simple home-cooked meals versus convenience foods might open their eyes. (Of course use recipes that are quick and easy, or that can be prepared in bulk and used for several meals, since single moms will not have a lot of prep time.)

Also there’s a great book called The Tightwad Gazette by Dacyzyn, a compilation of a newsletter she wrote (actually three books but a “Complete” version that includes all three editions is also available). Written by a woman with a large family and a husband with a modest income, she saved enough through frugality to buy their dream home. But more importantly for this group, she had wonderful creative ideas for children, gifts, crafts, kids clothes etc.

The Envelope System was a great help to me when I was young and on a tight budget - young people now don’t use cash but I believe there are virtual budgeting tools based on it available.

Also please warn them about payday loans!

Zamboni

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Re: Money Workshop for Teen moms
« Reply #13 on: December 21, 2019, 10:02:15 AM »
Also please warn them about payday loans!

Yes, this type of thing needs to be in there somehow.

I would probably start with a question . . . ask them to brainstorm with each other: "What are some of the worst mistakes with money you have seen other people make? Write down two or three you can think of - - including who did it if you want to out them (no names!) along with the consequences - - then compare with your neighbor and make the longest list that you can together."

You might be surprised by their answers. They will hit on much of what you might already have to warn them about. So let them tell you, then go through you prepared list . . . add things they said, and then only highlight any that they MISSED and talk about what it is and why it is bad. They might not talk about payday loans or MLM, but maybe they will. Let whoever brings up a topic tell you everything they know about it, then ask if anyone has anything to add, then fill in the missing info on each topic. They might know about the consequences of "being a little late" paying rent, paying bills late, not even opening bills, but we almost all know about our dummy uncle who blew all his pay one month fixing the ink on his girlfriend's back, then got evicted etc.


nessness

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Re: Money Workshop for Teen moms
« Reply #14 on: December 21, 2019, 09:01:59 PM »
I think you should devote quite a bit of time to making a budget - calculating monthly income, what categories to include in your budget and how to estimate them, how to handle infrequent expenses (e.g. car registration), etc. Then give them a chance to draft a budget and review with a partner (or with you, if it's a small class).

Zamboni

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Re: Money Workshop for Teen moms
« Reply #15 on: December 22, 2019, 09:54:05 AM »
Talk positively about the joy of saving up for something. I feel like that is something we have lost in the era of credit cards.

Budgets are awesome, but often unrealistic without first tracking spending for 2-3 months. We see it here on the board all of the time with people who are thinking about retiring.

Some of the spending tracking phone apps might be appealing to them, but even just writing each thing down can make you even more mindful of what you are spending. I would first ask if anyone does that, and then encourage them to try it.

If you go the budget route, make sure you start by giving them examples with numbers that are a realistic budget for a single mom . . . reasonable amounts spent on food, baby items, rent, utilities, car expenses/gas/insurance, shoes, taxes, phone, internet, etc. Otherwise, some of them will say their utilities are only $20 a month, or that they only need $100/month per food. They can count WIC or SNAP to cover some of their food budget if they have those benefits, but a food budget of $0 even if you have that benefit is unrealistic. My own family routinely spends around $1600 a month for food . . . that is more than $500 per person. It is shocking to me, but that is what we spend.