Some members of the Fort Bragg community became a little more financially savvy, Sept. 14. Beth Kobliner, an author and a respected authority on personal finance, addressed Families at a finance workshop presented by the Corvias Foundation.
The main discussion was about how to talk to children and young adults about money. Kobliner said her father’s Army service set a foundation for her future in finance.
“It shaped our Family lives thanks to the benefits from his military service,” she said.
Those benefits included a VA loan, GI Bill and Veteran’s Scholarship. Kobliner encouraged military Families to visit the Army Community Service Financial Readiness Program and the Fort Bragg Education Center for individualized guidance on military benefits.
The event began with a moderated talk between Kobliner and Jackie Thomas, Fort Bragg Garrison Public Affairs specialist. During this discussion, Kobliner explained the importance of teaching children about money, even if parents are not “money geniuses.”
“To be a money genius is to learn the basics,” she said.
Kobliner encouraged the use of cash to track spending for those who have difficulty managing their finances. Although these parents may be hesitant to talk to their children about the Family’s financial situation, Kobliner said it is important to discuss basic facts with them.
“Parents are the number one influence on kids’ money behavior,” she said. “A third of financial habits are genetics, and two-thirds are what you learn.”
According to the author, parents can start talking with children as young as three about money.
“Young children understand value and exchange,” she explained. “... financial behaviors are set by age 7.”
One way parents can help shape good behavior is by defining the difference between needs and wants at the grocery store; describing their job and why they work; and talking about big Family purchases, such as a new television.
Kobliner offered six money tricks for saving: prepare, think about tomorrow, distract from immediate wants, use the imagination, create habits and step outside the box.
A detail in one of these tips resonated with Whitney Duncomb, who attended the forum.
“I learned a lot,” she said. “I think the most important thing is putting money away with the kids, like saving, spending sharing ... and not paying for chores.”
Kobliner advised Families to create three jars to help children divide their money. The spending jar is theirs to use right away, sharing is for giving to charity or another beneficial organization and saving is for a larger purchase down the road.
Lessons like these are especially important for military Families, said one attendee.
“I think there are a lot of people here who are trying to learn how to financially plan for their own futures, for their children’s futures,” explained Janice Patten. “Especially (in) the military, they move around so much, I think it’s hard for them to make those connections that you would if you lived in a local community where you were there all the time.”