I come from a family of teachers. My parents instilled in us the value of a good education, hard work, and saving money.
I am very prudent with money as a result of their teaching, but I have much to learn about investing and making my money work for me.
How to invest was never a topic of conversation on our dinner table. Although my mom dabbled in several small business ventures, including setting up a very successful preschool, she was really a teacher and not a business woman.
Now that I am raising my own children, I want to teach them how to live within their means, and be savvy with the money that they save.
This summer, my husband implemented the TV Minutes policy. It was meant to monitor their TV viewing, but after a week it naturally developed into a very good learning tool on investing.
The policy: TV minutes should be earned prior to watching TV. They can earn it by doing extra academic work–reading, writing, math, and speaking in Tagalog. Homework does not count.
Practicing multiplication facts can earn my son 15 minutes. Writing a comic book with illustration can earn him 30 minutes or more depending on how detailed the finished book is. Minutes can be earned in increments of 15 minutes.
I learned a lot about my children through this activity. My son would work to earn his minutes if he knew that there was something good to watch on TV. Otherwise, he was contented not to add to his TV Minute bank. My daughter was different–she accumulated TV minutes without being motivated by a good show.
Investing was introduced to motivate my son to work more and consequently, learn more during the summer months.
It worked like a regular CD in banks, but with a 100 % return on investment. If they invest their TV minutes, it will double after 30 days; if they take it out before its maturity date, then they don’t earn anything.
It was sheer genius, if I have to say so myself. I have never seen them work so hard (and learn). They kept on investing the minutes they earned, and kept tabs on when the minutes will mature. If they want to watch a show, they would work extra so they won’t use the minutes that they have allotted for their investments.
After a couple of weeks of heavy investment, I (the banker) calculated how much they would earn at maturity. Between the two of them, they had almost 30 hours of TV!
So the bank (me), announced that the bank rates have gone down. Any new TV Minutes investment would now earn 50%.
They complained and stopped investing.
That was in August, it is now November and they still have TV minutes left from their savings. Not bad for an introduction to savings and investments.