"Teddy made 75 cents for raking Mrs. Nelson's yard. He walked home on Main Street, cutting through Mrs. Johnson's backyard. He remembered he owed Tommy Johnson 15 cents for the candy bar the other day. When Teddy got home, his Mom told him to clean his room or he wouldn't get his allowance of 50 cents that week. How much will Teddy have left after he pays Tommy back?"
Remember those math problems? Always seemed impossible to figure out when I was in Mrs. Diffenderfer's fourth grade class. Looking back, and comparing with what our grandsons study, it was easy peasy. By the time they were in fourth grade they were learning some algebra applications. It's a good thing, preparing them early for what life has to dish out. Lots of situations where math will be the most important thing they ever learned at school. No matter whether they work in an office, or a clinic, or a factory...they will use the skills learned to manage their finances. One thing for sure, if you don't have money put back, you are in trouble. That "rainy day" comes around more often than we expect. One of the hardest things about growing up is the fact that no matter how hard you save, it's never enough!
They keep raising the bar on middle class, have you noticed that? If you made $40,000 a year when I was a kid, that was a very good living. The same amount now and you barely squeak by. Investing what we have been able to save is every bit as important as putting the money aside each payday. We leave that decision to someone who does this for a living. In a few short years, we are going to embark on retirement. That scary road that has doctor bills and unforeseen potholes that will drain our savings. I'm already worried but we do have a map that we've been carrying with us a long time now. It shows some of the roads that didn't turn out so well and we've marked them and won't go down that way again. We'll try to stay on the "straight and narrow," following the paths that have worked for us. I just hope there are no tests along the way with Teddy in them!