Since 2002, kids ages 10-17 have been coming to my Camp Millionaire programs in the summer in Santa Barbara and other cities around the US and even internationally.
We teach and expose them to lots of great information related to money, income, starting businesses, managing their money with a system called The Money Jars and even developing passive income streams.
One of the concepts that is an integral part of our unique Money Game seems simple enough but in reality, appears to be a challenging concept for kids (and adults): the activity of RECONCILING their accounts. In the context of The Money Game, they have to ‘reconcile’ their game envelope after each round or pay day.
In the Language of Money, to reconcile means to make sure that you and the bank agree on how much money you have in your account. When we play The Money Game, I keep reminding the students that what’s on the OUTSIDE of their game envelope (which represents their saving and investing accounts) has to match the amount of money that’s INSIDE their game envelope.
There are always students who can’t figure out what’s wrong because they aren’t able to reconcile their game envelopes at all. PERFECT! This presents a great opportunity to talk about learning through making mistakes when it doesn’t cost so much, i.e., isn’t quite so painful! I remember one time when a 12 year old boy young man really understood this idea and I could feel his whole body say, “OHHHHH, I get this!” Wow, what a satisfying moment for all of us. From that point on, he took great pains to make sure his reconciliation was perfect. It’s moments like this that keep me getting up in the morning.
Many people never reconcile their bank statements. Heck, many people don’t even GET bank statements delivered to their mailbox anymore. They are delivered to their INBOX instead.
The question is: “Are you doing what you should be doing with these electronic versions of yesterday’s bank statements or are you filing them in some obscure folder under “BANK STUFF” never to see the light of day again?”
If you are struggling with your finances at all, and only get your statements online, I invite you to change your preference back to ‘deliver by mail’ and go back to doing things the old fashioned way. There’s something empowering about actually getting the statement, opening the envelope, sitting in front of Quicken or Quickbooks and getting down and dirty with the numbers that pay for your lifestyle.
And if you have kids, make sure you get them a checking account as quickly as possible and don’t get them a debit card for a while. Teach them how to write checks, put the transactions into the register (do you do this?) and make balancing their statements each month a fun project. Maybe they can do theirs at the same time you do yours? Wow, now that’s a fun filled family frolic if I’ve ever heard of one!
I wanted to simply mention another idea concerning the word reconcile. I also use it when working with clients in regard to their outer world matching (or better yet, reflecting) their inner world. Does who you are on the inside match your core values; does what you’re thinking match what you’re doing; does what you’re feeling match what you’re saying? Stuff like that.
The thing is, and this concept is great to expose to kids as well, the closer your insides match your outsides, the happier, more peaceful and more satisfied you will be with your life and life in general.
OK, now stop long enough to notice the biggest area where you’re not balanced and then go reconcile it!
Just something to think about!