Kids learn to manage money

Fourteen-year-old Brett Andersen is spending his summer vacation learning how to get out of the rat race.

"If you buy real estate and just rent out for awhile, you will make a whole lot of money," he said. "You need to pay off your loans and get money in your monthly cash flow. Buying stocks helps, too."

Andersen is one of the teenagers at the Boys & Girls Club of Western Nevada playing a game called Cash Flow which teaches players how to most wisely manage their money.

"This is really exciting to watch them," said Lacy Nathan, director of all teen services at the club. "You can see their little wheels turning. Their minds are working."

Linda Graham, who teaches the game at financial workshops across the nation, is volunteering this week at the club to teach the youth how to be financially responsible-a skill she says the kids don't get in school.

"The schools teach professional literacy but they don't teach financial I.Q." she said. "The object of the game is to get out of the rat race, or stop living paycheck to paycheck."

The game begins with all game pieces in a small circle in the middle called the "rat race." The players advance as they increase their monthly income and decrease their debts.

They increase income by obtaining real estate, investing in stocks and bonds and reducing debt.

"When you learn how to play the game, it gets fun," said Jon Bass, 13. "You see what life is like after college. You see what your parents go through."

Graham said she asked the participants what the main issue that caused family fights was and the answer was money.

"In most households, that's the way it is," she said. "If these kids can learn how to handle their finances and stay out of debt, that takes a lot of the pressure off."

Players must fill out a profit and loss balance sheet to budget their finances. The player to the right serves as auditor to verify all entries.

Nathan said the game serves to break down complicated and often intimidating concepts into ideas that the teens can put into practical use.

She recommends the game be used as a teaching tool in the school system and in juvenile detention centers.

"They see how easily you can buy a house and how not to get into trouble with a credit card," she said.

Graham teaches the workshop from personal experience. Two months ago, she attended her first Personal Mastery seminar and it changed her life.

"The first time I played the game, I went, 'Wow, there's no way I'm going back to an 8-to-5 job," she said. "There's no stopping me now."

Graham now works two weeks out of the month and spends the other two volunteering so that others can have the same financial freedom.

"Life doesn't have to be so hard," she said.

For more information about Cash Flow workshops call Linda Graham at 720-2288.


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