Some Things are Too Important to Say Nothing: Talking with Your Children about Money

Child Talking to Parent

Bindaas Madhavi. (2011) Listen to Your Kids.

Most parents would not allow their child to play in the street or to touch a hot stove because parents understand that these actions have consequences and the consequences are serious. If you don’t talk with your child about money and allow them to observe you exhibiting positive financial behaviors, this can also have serious consequences. One indicator of an individual’s financial capabilities is their credit score. A poor credit score can impact an individual’s ability to get a job, secure housing, purchase reliable transportation and access other forms of credit.

According to FINRA Investor Education Foundation State Financial Education Mandates, three years after Georgia, Idaho and Texas implemented a financial education mandate, credit scores of participants improved. In 2014, Florida also voted to adopt financial education into its social studies standards for students in grades K-12 and financial education is now a graduation requirement. While incorporating financial education into schools is an important step, parents still play an important role in financial socialization (establishing what is normal in terms of financial behaviors). In fact, research shows that time preference patterns and delay of gratification patterns are set by age five or before a child reaches kindergarten. Time preference patterns and delay of gratification patterns are often exhibited by adults through savings and budgeting. In a recent study by Cho, Gutter, Kim and Mauldin, the researchers found the effects of financial socialization had significant effect on the financial behaviors of low- to moderate-income adults aged 24-66, indicating that the time preference patterns children develop in youth could last a lifetime.

UF/IFAS Extension Northwest District Family & Consumer Sciences (FCS) Agents know that, as parents, you want to protect your child or children from things that have negative consequences whether it be an inattentive driver, a hot stove, or a poor credit score. One of the things parents can do immediately, to impact what their child is learning about money and how their child is being financially socialized, is to talk with their child about money. Some ideas to get your family conversations about money started are to discuss:

– Wants versus needs

– The grocery budget

– Household expenses

– How your child can earn/save money

If you are still a little nervous about starting the conversation as a result of concerns about your own financial capabilities, contact your local UF/IFAS Extension Office and ask about our Master Money Mentor Program or upcoming financial classes. If you can’t wait for a class, check out these additional resources:

Talking to Children about Money:

Are Your Children in the Middle of your Conflict or Divorce?

9 Important Communication Skills for Every Relationship


Remember a family conversation about money is one conversation that is too important to wait. Make a money date with your child or children today!



Cho, Gutter, Kim and Mauldin. (2012). The Effect of Socialization and Information Source on Financial Management Behaviors among Low-and Moderate-Income Adults. Family & Consumer Science Research Journal. 40(4): 417-430

Council for Economic Education. (2015). Survey of the States. Retrieved 16 March 2015 from

National Financial Educators Council. (2013) Financial Education Impact. Retrieved 16 March 2015 from

You Can’t Be the Real Thing:  Eat Whole Fruits

You Can’t Be the Real Thing: Eat Whole Fruits

Green Juice and sliced fruit

Bertholf. (N.D.) Juicing from

Don’t fool yourself into thinking that drinking 100% fruit juice is the same as eating the whole fruit. Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health found two key things that may have you re-thinking your breakfast drink:

  1. In many cases, fruit juice contains as much sugar as soft drinks, although the sugar in fruit juice is naturally occurring.
  2. Despite the calories in fruit juice, people who drink juice don’t feel as full as if they ate the fruit, so they end up consuming more calories.

When it comes to your children, over-consumption of fruit juice or consuming greater than 12 ounces a day was found to be associated with short stature and obesity. In 2006, 10% of all annual medical spending went to treating obesity-related diseases. When it comes to children specifically, research estimates the average total health care expenditures for a child treated for obesity is nearly three times higher than the average health care cost for all other children.

At this point, you probably are asking, “If juice is out, then what should I do?” UF/IFAS Extension has a solution for you. Try remixing your current plate. Instead of going for the orange juice, grab an orange. Substitute your fruit juice for its whole fruit counterparts. If you decide to make the swap, you will find yourself in need of a drink; try water or milk. For more resources on building a healthy plate, visit:               

Healthy Eating: Smart Snacking

Choose MyPlate: Drink Water Instead of Sugary Drinks



Dennison, B., Rockwell, H. and Baker, S. Excess fruit juice consumption by preschool-aged children is associated with short stature and obesity. Pediatrics 100(4):733, 1997

Department of Nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health.   Fact Sheet: Sugary Drink Supersizing and the Obesity Epidemic. Nutrition Source, 2012

Finkelstein EA, Trogdon JG, Cohen JW, Dietz W. Annual Medical Spending Attributable to Obesity: Payer- and Service-specific Estimates. Health Affairs, 28(5): w822-831, 2009.

Marder W and Chang S. Childhood Obesity: Costs, Treatment Patterns, Disparities in Care, and Prevalent Medical Conditions. Thomson Medstat Research Brief, 2006


Identity Theft Is No Laughing Matter

 Identity Theft Protection Cartoon Image

Photo by: White,T. (N.D.) Identity Theft Protection. Retrieved 9 February 2015 from

While the commercials about identity theft maybe funny, identity theft is no laughing matter. Identity theft occurs when someone’s personal information is used to access money. According to the national crime and victimization survey it is estimated that identity theft cost Americans approximately twenty-four billion dollars in 2012. In fact, in the time it will take the average person to read this first paragraph, research estimates there will be fourteen new identity theft cases or one victim every two seconds (Javelin Strategy & Research in 2013).

In 2013, the Federal Trade Commission ranked Florida as number one with regard to fraud complaints in the United Sates. The top reason for fraud in Florida was listed as stealing social security numbers to collect phony tax returns or to collect another government benefit. UF IFAS Extension Family & Consumer Sciences has some tips to help you be proactive when it comes to protecting your identity during tax time.


  •  Choose a reputable tax preparer or consider visiting a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Site.
  • Only carry your social security card and tax documents to and from the tax site. When you are not using these documents, put them in a safe place at home.
  • Check your credit report frequently. You can obtain one free report from each of the three credit bureaus every 12 months.


Identity theft is no laughing matter.  Use the steps above to help protect your personal information. If you believe that you have been a victim of identity theft report incidents to the Federal Trade Commission at 877-738-7338. For more information on identity theft or for help reading your credit report contact your local UF IFAS Extension Family & Consumer Sciences agent.
Additional Resources:


Federal Trade Commission (2008). Building a Better Credit Report

Federal Trade Commission (N.D.). Identity Theft. Retrieved

Gutter, Elemore, Mountain (2015). You and Your Credit: Credit Reports



Fuchs,E. (2013). Identity Theft Now Costs Far More Than All Other Property Crimes Combined. Retrieved 9 February 2015 from

Frohlich, T. (2014). Top state with the most fraud complaints. Retrieved 9 February 2015 from

Javelin Strategy & Research (2014). 2014 Identity Fraud Report. Retrieved 9 February 2015 from


Do You Know Your Numbers?

numbersWhen you go to the doctor for a physical your health care provider probably routinely records four important numbers as a base line indicator of your health. Your vital signs consist of your blood pressure, breaths per minute, pulse and temperature. There are important numbers when it comes to your financial health as well: your credit score, debt to income ratio and your savings rate.

Your Credit Score

Your credit score is used most frequently by lenders to evaluate the risk involved when loaning you money. With your consent, your credit score could also be used when considering you for employment, insurance or housing. The normal range for a credit score used by the Fair Isaac Corporation is 300-850, but the exact scoring method is determined by your lender. You can get a free copy of your credit report (the information by which your score is determined) if you are ever denied credit or by visiting

Your Income to Debt Ratio

Your debt to income ratio looks at the percentage of income that goes toward paying all recurring debt payments such as credit cards, car loans or even child support. You can calculate this ratio yourself by adding up all of your debts and dividing it by your income. The National Association of Credit Unions suggest that a debt ratio of 36% or less is ideal for most people.

Savings Rate

Your savings rate is the amount of personal income expressed as a percentage that you save. Your savings rate is another figure you can calculate yourself (Total dollars saved per month / total disposable income = savings rate). In, “How Much Should We Spend,” UF IFAS Extension publication FCS5229 the recommended savings rate for your general savings, your emergency fund and miscellaneous expenses is 2-20% of your income.

If you knew your numbers and they are above par then give yourself a pat on the back if you need more information that is no problem either. Contact your UF/IFAS Extension Family Consumer Science Agent (FCS) can meet with you or your small group and explain to you in more detail what each of these numbers are, where to find these numbers and provide you with the resources you need to know where you stand. You wouldn’t ignore your vital stats, so don’t neglect financial stats either. For more information contact your UF IFAS Extension office by visiting or contact UF IFAS Jefferson County Extension Agent, Kristin Jackson at 850-342-0187 or



National Institutes of Health. (2014). Vital signs Retrieve 27 August from

Turnner, J. (2006). How Much Should I Spend? Retrieved 27 August from

Credit Union National Association Inc.(2014). Debt to Income Ratio. Retrieved 27 August from

Halloween is Over, But Retailers Still Have Some Tricks Up Their Sleeves

holiday items and budgetIt won’t be long before you start to smell “holiday scents” and hear “holiday music” almost everywhere you go. These holiday smells and sounds are a marketing tactic. According to research conducted by Spangenberg, Gorhmann, and Sprott, when Christmas music is played in conjunction with an ambient Christmas scent being released, consumers have more favorable reactions to retailers, merchandise, and the overall shopping environment. Despite this retailing trick, consumers can avoid overspending by doing three things: make a budget, make a list, and stick to your plan.


Make a budget

Ideally, budgeting is something that is done in advance and practiced year round. If you already have a budget in place, simply begin to plan how you will spend the money you have set aside for this holiday by category. If you do not have a budget, make a decision about how much money you are willing to spend this holiday season and stick to it. Some categories you may want to include in your holiday budget: Christmas cards, postage/shipping, gift wrapping expenses, decorating, travel expenses, and items for special meals/potlucks. For a printable holiday budget template, click here or visit the University of Maryland Extension website at

Make a list

Once you have an idea of how much money you have for each budget category, get specific. Under each category, list individuals/groups to whom you want to give cards or gifts, decorative items you wish to purchase, places you will travel to, and food items you may want to prepare that are outside of your normal grocery list. Once you have identified the specifics based on your budget, decide on the total amount you can spend on each item.

Stick to your plan

Stick to your list and do not buy things you cannot afford. The idea seems simple enough, but, ultimately, this is where some will fall short. In 2013, a study conducted by Harris Interactive found that 57% of U.S. adults with children said they would be willing to take on debt in order to make their children happy for the holidays. When you buy gifts on credit or receive refund anticipation loans, title loans, or cash advances, you are taking on debt and may be buying items you cannot afford. Items purchased on credit that cannot be paid off before interest accrues end up costing more.

Tricks are for Halloween. This holiday season, don’t get fooled into unplanned purchases by the ambient smells and sounds retailers use to entice consumers. Shop smart by making a budget, making a list, and sticking to your plan.


Spangenberg, Grohmann and Sprott. (2004). It’s beginning to smell (and sound) a lot like Christmas the interactive effects of ambient scent and music in a retail setting. Journal of Business Research 58:2005 (1583-1589).

University of Maryland Extension (2013). Stop Seasonal Stress with a Holiday Spending Budget. Retrieved 31 October 2014 from

Lexington Law. (2014). With the Holiday Season Nearing, Lexington Law Examines How Important Presents Are and How Much People Spend on Them. Retrieved 31 October 2014 from