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Financial Skills – How to Budget & Balance Accounts

I was surprised when I asked parents to tell me the life skills they wish their kids knew, and there was a resounding request for a few topics:

How to open a bank account
How to budget & balance accounts
How to write checks and pay bills
And how to start saving for retirement

It seems some of the things we take for granted are, as a result, missing from what we teach kids.

In the last article, we focused on opening a bank account. This article is the second article in the four-part series and will look at how to teach kids to budget and balance their accounts.

Budgeting

It’s not shock that budgeting can be boring and tedious. I’ve personally never been excited to sit down and create my budgets, but it’s something that creates wealth and pays off down the road.

So how do you get kids excited about it? How can you add a little glamour to something so dull and boring? Easy – make it a game with payoffs.

Firstly, it’s important to know how to create a budget, then to adhere to the budget.

Creating a Budget

You may have your own way to create a budget, and that’s fine. In my experience, the easiest way to make a budget is as follows:

On a piece of paper, draw a line down the middle:

Spending BudgetCalculate your average monthly gross income and put that at the top of the page, then multiply it by.80 (for example, if you earned $1,000, you would end up with $800)
Fixed ExpensesWrite down all of your FIXED expense categories (i.e. phone bill, insurance, mortgage etc… ) and put them in one column on the left side of the page
Variable ExpensesNext write in the variable expense categories (i.e. food, gas, leisure, etc… ) and put them in another column on the right side of the page
Fill in all of your expenses
Net Budget after Fixed Expenses – Subtract fixed expenses from your spending budget If it’s a positive number, you don’t need to change anything If it’s zero or a negative number, you should look for expenses that you can cut or lower
Budget variable expenses – Using your Net Budget after fixed expenses, determine what you can spend on variable expenses without overspending each month
Set a budget for each variable expense so you know what you can spend on each category in a given month

Making it Fun

OK, now that you have a budget outline, it’s time to get the kids excited.

I know what you’re thinking: “My kids will never be excited for this.”

They will if you give them some prizes or payoffs. Here’s how:

First, tell them what a budget is and show them the paper. Next, tell them that you’re going to do a contest (if you have more than one kid, this works even better).

Contest 1: Anticipating Spending

The first contest is to see how close they can budget their money to reach a break-even or $0 over the course of a month. In other words, the goal is to predict your spending as close to the penny as possible.

If you have more than one kid person that gets the closest to break-even without going negative wins a prize. With just one kid, tell them that they get $5 or $10 if they reach break-even, and every penny they are off, you deduct 10ȼ

Contest 2 – Saving After Spending

The second contest is to see how well they can budget their money over the next 30 days. If they can save money, tell them you will give them whatever they save. That means if they save $5, you’ll give them another $5 (just like companies matching a person’s 401K contribution).

If you have more than one kid, tell them whoever is able to save the most will win and get a special prize. You will obviously choose the prize since you know your kids best.

Bank Balance Sheet

A balance sheet of a bank shows all financial operations conducted by a bank for a certain period of time. It reveals the borrowed funds by them, their own funds, their sources, their placements in credit and other transactions.

It is recorded in the two ways. In the left part (asset) all assets are reflected and in the right (passive) – liabilities and capital of the bank are positioned. An asset is anything that can be old whereas a liability is an obligation of the financial institution that must be eventually paid back. The owner’s equity in a bank is often referred to as bank capital, which is the remaining amount when all assets have been sold and all liabilities have been paid. The relationship of all balance sheet components can be simply described by the following equation.

Bank Assets = Bank Liabilities + Bank Capital

Assets earn revenue and include:

-Cash in hand;

-Funds on correspondent accounts;

-Funds in reserve funds of the bank;

-Granted loans to legal entities and individuals; (client loan portfolio)

-Interbank loans granted;

-Government bonds;

-Commercial securities;

Depending on the nature of the sources of funds, all liabilities differ in terms of their duration and cost. The main sources of funds as a rule, are deposits of individuals and legal entities, and in addition, funds of central (national) banks and loans obtained from other commercial banks.

Liabilities:

-Funds of banks and other credit institutions;

-Clients accounts, including household deposits;

– The promissory notes issued by the bank;

By using liabilities the owners of banks can leverage their capital to earn much more value than would otherwise be possible using only the bank’s capital.

Also, Central banks regulate bank liabilities by setting mandatory reserve requirements from attracted deposits or by imposing administrative restrictions or incentives.

Assets and liabilities are further distinguished as being either current or long-term. Current assets are assets expected to be sold or otherwise converted to cash within 1 year; otherwise, the assets are long-term. Current liabilities are expected to be paid within 1 year; otherwise, the liabilities are long-term. Current assets and current liabilities are important in assessing liquidity of bank. The deduction of Current assets from Current liabilities gives us a working capital. It is a measure of liquidity. An excess in Working capital a bank is able to meet its short- term liabilities

Common Surety Bonds You Ought To Know

A surety bond can be defined as contract between three parties guaranteeing that a job will be completed in accordance to the contract terms. The three are the project owner who is the obligee, contractor who is the principal and the surety who ensures the task at hand is completed as per the agreement terms. Surety bonds are more financial related and even though they are very common in the construction industry, they come in different types touching on different areas of agreement. Below are some of the most common that can make a difference for businesses.

1. Contract – They are the ones contractor need especially when bidding on large projects. They go to show that the organization has the capacity and financial ability necessary to manage and complete the projects at hand. It is not always that the bonds are required for contractors but they may be required to present them when bidding on government projects, big projects or when requested by customers to do so. Bonded contractors have better chances of nailing large projects. They include bid bond, performance bind and payment bond which together cover the entire project as appropriate.

2. Business – They differ from place to place and ensure businesses are responsible in fulfilling duties promised or offered to clients and also to the government through payment of bills and taxes. Different business categories need the bonds to show that their operations are trustworthy and financially responsible.

3. Court – In the legal industry, surety bonds also come into place. The most common are those that individuals with court cases require to ensure defendants show up in court or to ensure payment as directed. In some other legal instances, legal clients may need bonds to perform different functions line becoming estate executors. The most common are appeal bonds, estate bonds, injunction binds and guardian bonds.

4. Permit and license – They basically go to show that business owners and workers will abide by local regulations set for the field they are involved in. For instance plumbers need to abide by plumbing codes and regulations within their localities and a license bond works as assurance that they will perform their duties as expected.

5. Commercial – These include different kinds of bonds that are not under construction and court surety bonds. The most common include business service bonds, lease deposit bonds and commercial contract bonds among others.

They do come with lots of benefits depending on the field they are designed for. Bonded companies often gain a good reputation and are more likely to be trusted with projects compared to companies that are not bonded. If you are a contractor you must of course choose a surety bond provider that you can trust so the terms you abide by are easy for you to keep up with. The above are the most common but there are so many other types of surety bonds coming up with every passing day.