Power to Your Little People

Growing up in a large family, my basic financial needs were always taken care of but as for the extras — it was like a bakery:  “Take a number and get in line.”  It annoyed me and, at times, it embarrassed me when a friend had the latest and greatest gizmo and I did not.  But, it also motivated me to find a way.

I remember getting my older brother to let me clean his room for money, I took local babysitting jobs, and the moment I was old enough to put in for my working papers, I did.  Now my first job paid peanuts, because it was a “seasonal” job and didn’t have to pay minimum wage.  So for $2.75 an hour, I worked at the local pool;  but I was happy as a clam, because I was earning my own dough.

 When I left for college, my parents paid the lion’s share and I took out the standard $2,500 government loan and paid all my expenses:  books, entertainment, clothes, etc.  A funny thing happened.  Because I had earned money in the past, I wanted to earn again, and I did not want to have to ask anyone (even my parents) for money.  So, I started tutoring for $10 an hour (nice pay raise)!  And just as I was getting comfortable and into the groove the boom was lowered:  my Dad was retiring and we were moving to Florida.  He wanted me to transfer to a state school there.  Immediately I knew I had to do something to stop this. I didn’t want to leave, but what could I do?  That’s when I learned about becoming a Resident Advisor or “Den Mother.”  This job would single-handedly pay my Room and Board and pay me a stipend, and provide me with a phone.  Thankfully, I got the job — now I had to sell it to my folks.  My father’s reaction was not at all what I was expecting.  I thought he might be angry at the lengths I had gone to, to foil his plan.  Instead he said that I had thought it through well, had planned it well, and clearly it meant a lot to me to stay where I was.  I will never forget the look on his face:  it was one of satisfaction.  He had done his job well.

Tips for Raising Do-It Yourself Kids

1.  Let them have skin in the game.  If they want something big, let that be a motivator for them to earn and save their money.  You can help them out, but let them “own” a piece of it.  It builds confidence, pride, and encourages a work ethic.

2.  Don’t let them think that you will always step in.  If you practice the law of natural consequences, they will learn very quickly that their actions (or inactions) produce results (good and bad).  If they know that they will have to live with these consequences they will tend to be less impulsive and make better choices.

3.  Guide them out of the box.  Give them creative ideas on how they can achieve their goal, whether it be how to earn extra cash, or how to find something at a better price.  Show them how they can “make” their own solution.

4.  Clap hands.  When they rise up to the task, let them know how proud you are and how proud they should be.

5. Let their youth be an asset.  Enthusiasm and energy are great attributes of youngsters.  Harness it and direct it toward a goal and watch them accomplish wonderful things.  Don’t discourage them with words like, “You’re not old enough.” 

6.  Build confidence.  Let them know that if they want something badly enough they have the power to make it happen for themselves.

Authored by: Anthony Dina Isola

Dina Isola, President of Real$martica, Inc. - COO and Director of Investor Relations, ATI Investment Consulting, Inc. Following a successful career in marketing communications in the financial industry, Dina and her husband, Anthony, founded a registered investment advisory firm, ATI Investment Consulting, Inc., and ultimately the idea for the educational company Real$martica, Inc. was born. In dealing with investors and hearing their concerns, she spearheaded ATI’s investor education efforts, coordinating with local libraries and townships to offer free investor education seminars. She has volunteered her time, writing financial articles and has conducted investor education classes geared to family financial matters. She is President of Real$martica, Inc. and is COO and Director of Investor Relations for ATI Investment Consulting, Inc. and personally handles all communications for both firms. She is active in her local business community and serves on the Brookhaven Business Advisory Council and is a member of the Three Village Chamber of Commerce. She earned a BA in English and Communications from Fairfield University. She is a registered investment adviser, and is a licensedreal estate salesperson in New York State.  Prior to founding Real$martica, Inc. she was a Vice President in charge of marketing communications for a privately-held investment management company in New York City.  She has worked in the financial industry since 1987. thumb_tony_isolasAnthony T. Isola,  President, ATI Investment Consulting, Inc. Anthony has married his passions, investing and education. He is President and founder of ATI Investment Consulting, Inc. (“ATI”) a registered investment advisory firm. His vast knowledge in matters of finance brings a well-rounded perspective to all that he does. As an educator, he has a natural ability to explain complicated economic and financial concepts and make the practical application of these concepts come to life. In working with clients, he recognized how overwhelming building a financial plan can be, especially when most investors are vulnerable due to their ignorance on financial matters. He prides himself on empowering investors to understand how to look out for their interests and not fall prey to financial arrangements that will take them off goal.  In addition to managing assets for clients, he has counseled investors on social security benefits, retirement income assessments, and college planning. He teaches history at Plainview Old Bethpage Middle School and oversees students’ participation in The Stock Market Game and financial literacy for the Plainview Old-Bethpage Central School District. He has taught financial related courses to children, parents and staff members in the district, as well as to Long Island residents. He holds a New York State Permanent Certification (in Social Studies). He earned a BA degree in Economics from Boston University and a MS degree in Secondary Education from Hofstra.  Prior to teaching, he worked as a foreign currency trader in New York City for large international banks.

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