Learning About ¥ and $

I remember my first job growing up — it was mowing lawns for our neighbors. Now if you grew up in the Midwest, you know well what mowing lawns is, but if you’re like my kids (and grew up where people don’t have lawns), it’s a foreign concept.

So when we visited the States, the kids pointed out the window of the car and yelled “What’s that guy doing?” I looked and saw a guy pushing a machine over the green grass and realized that they didn’t know about mowing lawns! So I said “Mowing lawns — that was daddy’s first job!”

When I made my first $10, my dad (an accountant) sat down with me and showed me and easy way to manage money. Give your first 10% to God (a tithe), put away another percentage for saving, and use the rest! It set me on a straight path right from the beginning.

That dollars and cents talk, or the yen talk if it’s here in Japan, is what a lot of young people are missing in their lives today, and without it you really don’t have a good idea of how powerful managing your money in a proactive way can be.

In fact recently we gave the kids ¥500 (about $4) each to spend in a Japanese discount store however they wanted. It was so interesting to see how they spent it, and in some cases very heart-warming (Joshua’s last purchase sure made me proud).

While this video doesn’t teach any kind of principles on money directly, the proper principles lived out can turn your life around from being reactive towards your spending (what gets your attention gets your money) to being proactive (planning on saving, being generous, future schooling, housing and needs, etc).

Ruth and I recently took a step towards being even more proactive with our finances, breaking down how much we spend in a month. The idea is not only to maximize our salary, but make sure it’s going to the important areas and not being sucked away by reactive spending. Do you do anything like this? If you’re like us, we need these adjustments along the way to keep us on track and make sure we keep going in the right direction.

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