Making the Financial Heart of the Family Tick
P. L. Spangler
Regardless of the family make-up, somewhere in the house late at night someone is punching numbers into a calculator, balancing a checkbook or scratching out figures on a sheet of paper – trying to pay the bills every month. Far from fun, it is an essential job in the house that keeps the family unit operating. However, without any training or financial know-how, this task can lead to financial management errors that result in credit score reductions, collection agency calls and even bankruptcy. Making it worse, it can can become a significant source of stress for the responsible party and the largest and smallest members of the household.
If you are the person that has reluctantly taken on the job of family financial manager and wish you had a better way to do your job successfully – help does exist and online helps have made is easy. Many of the programs that are available exist to assist you, as well as to help every member of the family learn about managing money – including your children.
- MyMoney.gov is operated by the Financial Literacy and Education Commission of the U.S. government. It allows you to concentrate your financial concerns based on your stage of life, while at the same time providing you tools that assist in money management. In addition, the site provides you with a wealth of resources to refer to in addressing your specific money management needs. By calling 1-888-MyMoney, the site operators will also send you, free of charge, a personal financial tool-kit.
- TreasuryDirectKids is operated by the Bureau of Public Debt in the U.S. This site has money games, videos, some information about debt history, information on saving and personal finances. Although the site’s focus is on kids, much of the information provided is also beneficial to novice money managers if building financial stability for the future is a concern.
- Start Smart is from The California Department of Consumer Affairs and is for Teens. A guide online, the program concentrates on making money, saving, maintaining a bank account, as well as borrowing, identity theft and using your money wisely.
While some of these sites may be targeted toward children, if you have absolutely no background in financial management, you can use the sites to learn, with or without kids at home. All of the sites are free to use and allow you to take your time in learning from the comfort of your home. In addition, you can select the financial management approaches that best fit your needs and concentrate on learning them, without having to become an economics expert. At the end of the button-pushing, calculated night, there is a method to having peaceful rest.
http://www.ssa.gov: The United States Social Security Administration, for all information pertaining to your Social Security Benefits, including applications.
http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/credit/cre19.shtm: The Federal Trade Commission’s site entitled, “Knee Deep in Debt” with consumer information.
http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/moneymatters/index.html: Also from the Federal Trade Commission, a site focusing on managing money, credit cards, scams and your home.
The United States Mint: Money Management and Savings.
GCF Learn Free: Free Money Basics Tutorial.