Many of us learn the ins and outs of personal finance such as car loans, the importance of credit scores and retirement planning as we encounter them in life.
While money isn’t the most exciting subject to talk about when seated around the dinner table, as parents it is important to teach kids, teens and young adults about personal finances.
But where do you start when educating kids about money and personal finances?
That’s where author, former commercial banker and current parent of a teen Joshua Fulenwider comes in to help.
Fulenwider’s new book, “What We Should Teach Our Children About Money: A Guide for Everyone Covering the Basics of Personal Finance,” helps parents educate their children on the importance of understanding personal finances.
The Windsor resident originally began writing the book for his daughter, who is now 14-years-old.
“I don’t want my daughter to struggle like I did. I’ve always involved her in conversations about money and personal finance and everything like that and I’d been looking around for a book that I thought was introductory enough for her to understand, but something an adult could pick up and help teach her,” he said. “And I wasn’t finding what I was looking for. I could find straight ‘how-to’ books that were very dry.”
Knowing that money isn’t the most entertaining subject in the world, Fulenwider set out to create a book that was useful to parents and kids by using stories and scenarios from his own life.
The book simplifies a variety of money issues such as finding a first job, opening a bank account, renting your first place, buying a home and planning for retirement.
“My parents, we didn’t talk too much about money,” Fulenwider explained. “They gave me guidance, very basic stuff, but they both worked in government jobs so they had very set guidelines for retirement and secure health insurance. When I became an adult and had to shop for health insurance, I had to learn a lot very quickly.”
With money being one of the top things couples argue about, Fulenwider has included a chapter on money and relationships.
According to Moneyhabitiudes.com, of couples who regularly talk about money with each other 42% described their relationship as “extremely happy,” compared with 27% of couples who talk about money less regularly or not at all.
“My wife and I have always shared finances 100%, everything we’ve earned since we’ve been married has been joint. This chapter was interesting because I had to pick the brain of my wife’s sister because they keep it completely separate,” Fulenwider said. “It’s one of those things that you shouldn’t tell somebody how to handle money with their significant other. But, before you get a significant other, you should have an idea of what you want to do with your money.
“Most of us just fall into it,” he added.
While it’s not a “first date” kind of conversation, Fulenwider encourages couples to talk about money “early and often” and learn about each other’s debt and finances.
The book also includes information and tips on how to spot scams and avoid identity theft — valuable knowledge in this day and age of technology.
“While I was having my book edited, somebody got a hold of one of my credit card numbers,” Fulenwider said. “So while we were reviewing things, I am dealing with closing out a credit card and this big mess so I was like ‘ok, we are going to add a chapter on this’.”
Like many authors, Fulenwider self-published the book with the help of fellow Windsor author Ronald Worley and a local writers group.
“Getting that final copy was surreal,” he said, laughing. “I was very happy and relieved to have it done, but also it was one of those things, towards the end, that it was never going to get finished.”
The book is available on Amazon for $14.99 in paperback and $9.99 for a Kindle e-reader version.
Fulenwider, who lived in Greeley for 17 years before moving to Windsor this past year, is working on starting an IV therapy center in Fort Collins. He posts updates on his book and business ventures on his website at www.joshuafulenwider.com.
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