Sandra Bartell & Money Manners For Kids

by Tonya Dixon | November 21st, 2016
Sandra Bartell & the kids of Money Manners For Kids (Photos by Still Shots Photography)

Sandra Bartell & the kids of Money Manners For Kids (Photos by Still Shots Photography)

At the heart of it all, Sandra Bartell is an educator; and she’s been one for over 30 years. She realized early on in her life the immense power of information and education. While she’s no longer teaching in a classroom, her passion to educate hasn’t diminished one bit. She’s just going about it a different way. Writing books is now her forte.

“I always wanted to write a book. I would always carry a pencil and paper with me,” said Bartell. “I attended a meeting that taught me about finances and how to create wealth by investing. So I asked God what should I write about? Schools don’t really teach how to invest and save and about handling money so that’s what I decided on.”

Bartell recently published “Money Manners for Kids: How to Teach the Next Generation about Finances.” Although the title implies the book is just for kids, she says anyone from age two to 92 will find the book helpful. According to her, sometimes the best way to teach someone is to teach it in such a way that even a child could understand it.

“Money Manners” provides details, assistance and a plan to help answer the question “Will my child be ready to handle finances successfully as an adult?” The book teaches and uses strategies based on what Bartell calls the 10-10-80 plan or rule. The plan encourages paying a 10 percent tithe, saving 10 percent, and then living off of the remaining 80 percent of take-home income.

The book takes a first-things-first approach and begins by tackling who has the responsibility of teaching the next generation about finances. “It’s the parent’s job,” she says. According to Bartell, financial manners don’t begin with money. “It first begins with a work ethic, which should begin in the home. It’s important to teach children to be respectful, to say please and thank you and to take care of their things and to teach it’s better to give than receive. Parents are their children’s first teacher because children emulate their parents. Start between ages three and five. Even prior to that because they learn through observation too.”

Whether someone is an entrepreneur or punching a clock, Bartell says no matter what the return, maintaining a good work ethic is the precursor to it all. She says being on time, staying on the job and giving 100 percent will always precede the monetary return.

“Money Manners” is intended to get the ball rolling for parents. It includes a list of questions in the book that parents can ask themselves and their children. It runs the gamut of topics for beginning and continuing financial literacy and discussion. From teachable moments, saving options and insurance considerations to investing, the book touches on a bit of everything with simplicity. There is even a chapter that gives the Biblical prospective and insight on finances, including scriptures.

“The bible tells us to leave an inheritance. But that’s just one Biblical financial principle. Chapter nine [of the book] provides relevant Bible verses and references,” said Bartell. “The book talks about the land of lack, or not having enough; the land of even, having just enough; and the land of abundance, having more than enough, in which you have sufficient funds left over where you can give or save.”

“God is the owner. We are only managers. Therefore, we must be good stewards over everything we have been given,” she said. “I have been taught seven spiritual principles at my church – Love and Faith Christian Fellowship. The two I used to guide me in writing “Money Manners” are the spiritual principles of sowing and reaping, God’s plan to provide for our lives and the spiritual principle of stewardship, God’s plan to fulfill our lives.”

As a former classroom teacher, Bartell realizes that kids have questions that sometimes parents take for granted that their children know the answers. She says kids don’t always understand even simple financial transactions that occur on a daily basis. For example, she says kids often even wonder why there is a need for money or how to get money. They don’t understand the premise behind giving cash and getting change in return or how debit and credit cards work.

“When you go shopping take your children with you. Let them know how to do comparison shopping and compare products and explain why you pay and how you pay,” said Bartell. “When you do these things one thing will lead to another and children will learn.”

“Money Manners” incudes sample budgets, various goal charts and because she believes it’s important to use real-world and proper financial terminology, a glossary is also included in the book. Words like transaction, repossess, income, net/debit may not be in a child’s vocabulary, but with a little understanding and explanation it can be. Bartell says the book will help grow and expand their vocabulary in school too. “I see it as a tool for developing and educating children on money, but also on how to be a disciplined and well-rounded individual.”

“If we get children started young, by the time they reach college age or young adults they will not have to borrow, beg or steal. They will already have it,” she said. “This book is about helping. Once I learned how to minimize taxes, eliminate debt and invest I wanted to share it with as many people that would listen.”

Ironically, Bartell only had basic financial knowledge prior to her own personal education. She spoke with financial advisors, read a lot and educated herself as well. “It’s important to know what you want to do with your money especially by the time you retire. Do you want to pay off your mortgage? Do you want to travel? You have to know these things when you are young so that you can plan accordingly. Teaching children early how to use money and to be great managers of it is where you start.”

By offering practical advice and activities Bartell is helping to provide parents and children with the tools necessary for empowerment and financial stability. “I just want to help someone. My parents were instrumental in teaching my three brothers and me good moral values, paying bills on time, and being a lender and not a borrower as well as good manners,” said Bartell. “My goal for this book is to jumpstart a discussion that has been lacking in too many homes. This book will provide a resource for those parents who are concerned enough to have an on-going dialogue with their children about financial responsibility.”

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