Get Schooled In Personal Finance

by Stephanie Berenbaum – October 11, 2010

A Grade A Lesson in Managing Your Money

I’ve spent the past month getting my kids in the back to school swing of things.  Our conversations have run the gamut from nutrition; “Why Can’t I have Coke for breakfast?” to life cycles; “Mommy when I get bigger are you going to get dead?” to; “Why do I have to do homework Mommy? Yes, my five year old has started getting sweet, little homework assignments!  And I have found myself speaking with him about the importance of homework and personal responsibility.

It also got me thinking – just because we adults are no longer in school, doesn’t mean that we can just check out when it comes to doing homework to further our knowledge and keep on top of our financial responsibilities .  The learning curve may be endless, but luckily, personal finance expert Galia Gichon has some terrific tips for how- if you spend a little extra time-  you can get your financial life in order this back to school season!

Bite Size Homework

Yes, homework.  At your age?  But don’t worry – Galia’s assignments are painless and easy to complete!  As Galis points out, most of us don’t know where to begin with our money.  And for all the classes we are required to take in school, we still can’t figure out why personal finance isn’t one of them!  That’s why Galia advises having a bite sized homework assignment once a week.  It’s empowering just to know you have a plan to follow.  Talk about an easy A!

For example: by filling out a detailed cash flow worksheet, you will have a set amount to spend during the week which will help you to live within your means.  Likewise, if your goal is to increase your savings, your homework is to set up an automatic savings account so you can easily schedule monthly transfers. Once that account is set up, you won’t have to worry about saving- at least not until you want to raise the amount going in!

The Buddy System

Kids use the buddy system at recess all the time.  Okay, so take a cue from your little ones and see how you can benefit from having a money buddy too! Galia advises that by taking a money class or teaming up with a money buddy, you are more likely to see your money goals actually happen.  Says Galia, “Many people who attend my regular seminars follow through on their action steps the night before class or right before they are meeting with someone, such as increasing the contribution percentage to their 401k.  That means it is getting done!”


If the thought of gym class filled you with fear- don’t worry! The kind of PE that Galia recommends is just a Personal Finance Exercise!  Many of us actually know what we want to do with our money, but we are held back and don’t know why.  Taking the time to work through money exercises can help us overcome our money obstacles.  For example, a great exercise is evaluating your money type.  Are you a hoarder, spender, worrier or avoider?  Describing the different types and recognizing part of yourself in one or some of them, can really shed light into why you are dealing with your money in a certain way.

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