We always wondered why one of our classmates in grade school wasn’t buying comic books, soft drinks and candy bars like the rest of us.
We thought maybe he didn’t like to read, had a health condition we weren’t aware of, or didn’t have money (which at that time, was less than a dollar for several of each of those items mentioned above).
But the truth was that his parents taught him about making the best use of his finances. He was banking on the future. And let me tell you, he’s successful today because of that lesson.
That time of my life came to mind last week when the following news release came to me in an email. It has some very valuable information in it, so I encourage you to read it carefully, think about it, and see how you can use the suggestions for your children.
The release noted that having “the talk” with your child is more important than ever. “Teaching financial responsibility is the new ‘birds and bees,’” it said.
“There are certain life lessons that every child eventually learns with or without the guidance of their parents, but financial literacy is one talk that parents shouldn’t avoid or delay. Many of today’s youth aren’t equipped to deal with the complexities of life, including money management. For parents, having ‘the talk’ about financial responsibility with their child is a critical step in preparing kids and teens for their future.”
The release noted that studies show parents play an important role in teaching children how to handle money responsibly. In fact, a 2011 survey of high school seniors found that 87 percent said their parents were their primary resource for information about money management and personal finance issues. Interestingly, however, only 22 percent said they talked to their parents about money management frequently.
“Much like the birds and bees talk, children desperately need guidance from their parents in order to learn appropriate money management skills,” said Becky Franklin, EVP/sales manager at Arvest Bank in Oklahoma City. “Arming our kids with this type of information now will guide them well into adulthood, so start these conversations early.”
When is the best time for these youngsters to learn about money management? A Junior Achievement/Allstate Foundation survey found that 81 percent of teens say kindergarten through 12th grade, Franklin’s release said.
That same survey, she said, found that nearly 50 percent of the teens didn’t really know how to use a credit card effectively. But get this. Twenty-four percent still think they should get their first credit card when they are high school age or younger.
“This illustrates the disconnect between their desire for more education and the amount of actual financial knowledge of many teens,” Franklin’s release said.
She said a basic financial responsibility discussion should consist of these areas of focus for parents to frame their conversations:
· You need money to buy things. It seems simple, but reinforce that it is important to earn income and live within those means. This may include waiting to buy until the money is available and often involves making difficult choices about how to spend money.
· Savings is important and takes practice. The sooner they start saving, the greater progress they’ll make towards building good habits. Encourage that they put money into savings frequently and help them with setting realistic savings goals.
· Credit should only be used when necessary. Ensure they know a credit card is like a loan, interest will cost them more in the long run, and they should only use credit cards when necessary. Discuss wants versus needs in using credit for purchases.
· Protect your financial identity. It can be costly and dangerous to divulge personal and financial information online, in-person and over the phone. Providing this information too easily can expose them to identity theft and financial loss, so it should be done with care.
· Life is expensive. For older teens, make sure they know how necessities like taxes, insurance, utilities and interest on credit cards and loans are unavoidable costs they should be prepared for. These are often overlooked and less obvious than just the rent, food or car payment.
“Helping your teen gain actual experience in money management while still living in the home can be very valuable,” Franklin said. “Many banks have savings, credit and prepaid card products available specifically designed for parents and teens to use together to start building lifelong money management skills.”
She said that in order to teach children the appropriate financial lessons at the correct age, Arvest recommends that parents and educators start by using the following resources to get more information to prepare for “the talk” with your child:
1. arvestmoneyskills.com — The site contains financial education tips and lesson plans for Pre-K through college and for those with special needs.
2. whatsmyscore.org — This financial management website is geared toward teens and young adults and provides relevant information on transitioning from high school to college, including how to rent an apartment and how to buy a car.
3. mymoney.gov — A guide for any life-changing circumstance, this site provides financial information based on where you are in life – from the birth of a child to retirement. You’ll also find a list of resources and useful tools.
Bank on it. And to learn more about personal finances, check out the resources in KNOWIT.NEWSOK.COM/MONEY-OKLAHOMA
By Chuck Mai, AAA
The stop-start system, that shuts off the engine when your car is stopped in traffic, is now making its way to the U.S. from overseas where such systems are already in common use. Other names for this technology include idle elimination, idle-stop-go, and micro-hybrid. Lux Research predicts that more than eight million vehicles in North America will be equipped with engine stop-start systems by 2017. What does this mean for American motorists?
Early versions of stop-start technology, which shuts down the vehicle’s engine when you’re stopped in traffic such as at a red light, date back to the 1980s. Today, more than 40 percent of the new cars sold in Europe and Japan use this gas-saving technology. Engine stop-start isn’t brand new, but the latest systems benefit from significant advances made in the last few years. This technology is only going to gain momentum as vehicle manufactures work to meet the more stringent Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards set for 2016.
What’s the big deal about stop-start? The system can improve fuel economy by up to 12 percent and contribute to a reduction in vehicle exhaust emissions.
How does it work? With an automatic transmission, engine shutdown occurs when the vehicle is stopped for several seconds with the brake pedal applied. With a manual transmission, shutdown takes place with the transmission in neutral and the clutch released. As soon as the brake pedal is released, or the clutch pedal is depressed, the engine restarts automatically.
How much does it cost? On some models, the stop-start system is standard equipment and its cost is included in the vehicle price. Where stop-start is offered as option it generally costs around $300.
How much can it save? If gasoline costs $3.40 per gallon, the owner of a car that normally gets 20 mpg and is driven 12,000 miles per year would save an estimated $152 per year in fuel costs if the vehicle were equipped with an engine stop-start system. In this case, the system would pay for itself in less than two years and offer ongoing savings thereafter.
Are there any downsides to stop-start? A major challenge in developing stop-start systems has been engineering the systems to meet consumer expectations. The engine stop-start transitions must be smooth and seamless, and drivers new to the technology will need to learn that engine shutdown at idle is a normal thing and not a sign of a problem. In some vehicles, heating and air conditioning performance could suffer if the engine remains shut down for an extended time. Finally, the larger and more powerful batteries that are required for stop-start systems will be more expensive to replace when the time comes.
What American market vehicles offer stop-start today? All hybrid cars have stop-start capability, although they use a different technology than the systems on conventional powertrains. The first non-hybrid stop-start systems in the U.S. market are on 2012 highline vehicles from BMW, Mercedes and Porsche. For the 2013 model year, Jaguar will join that select group, but stop-start systems will also become available on popularly priced models from Ford, Kia, and possibly others. Even trucks will start to see some systems with Dodge adding stop-start to its V6-powered Ram 1500 pickup for a one mile per gallon fuel economy improvement.
By Chuck Mai, AAA
Well, I haven’t actually seen the fuel – because compressed natural gas is a colorless vapor – but I have seen what it can do. And one of those things is reduce our dependence on foreign oil. Another thing is save motorists money. Right now (mid-July, 2012), CNG is averaging $1.44 per gallon gasoline equivalent across Oklahoma compared with a statewide average of $3.30 today for regular self-serve gasoline. Less than half the price.
Today, Love’s Travel Stops and Country Stores opened another CNG re-fueling depot – its first in Oklahoma City – at the Love’s at I-35 and NE 122nd St. The fueling station was opened in partnership with Chesapeake Energy Corporation, a major producer of CNG.
Love’s has jumped on the CNG bandwagon big time. The firm announced in December that they would be opening ten CNG fueling stations this year across Oklahoma: two in OKC and one each in Pauls Valley, Norman, Okemah, Lawton, Guymon, Guthrie, Chickasha and Altus.
As OKC Mayor Mick Cornett said at today’s grand opening, “Oklahoma City is a leader in many ways, including in the development of CNG infrastructure. CNG is truly the fuel of the future and I am proud that two Oklahoma City-based companies are helping drive the CNG market toward continued success and adoption.”
Still on the fence about CNG? I don’t blame you. But you know what? The decision to go with a CNG-powered vehicle is getting easier and easier all the time. There are now dozens of public CNG fueling stations in Oklahoma and converting vehicles from gasoline to CNG is getting cheaper as the technology becomes more refined. Can’t leave gasoline behind? Consider a hybrid that runs on gasoline and CNG. Chevy has their GMC Natural Gas Bi-Fuel pickup that’ll be new for 2013, Ram is also going to offer a natural gas HD pickup, and there’s the 2012 and 2013 Honda Civic Natural Gas, among others.
Even more motivation comes from Mike Duoba, an engineer at the auto research center at Argonne National Laboratory near Chicago, Ill.: “Our conclusion is that natural gas as a transportation fuel has both adequate abundance and cost advantages that make a strong case to focus interest in the technology as a real game changer in US energy security. In terms of consumer ownership and use costs, the case to make a switch from current fuels to CNG is much more compelling than for other alternative fuels like ethanol and electricity.”
I don’t own stock in any company that is in the CNG business but I gotta tell you, CNG is clean, it’s abundant, and it seems so right for today and certainly right for Oklahoma.
I call it “being curious.” Some call it “being snoopy.” But I’ve always been interested in what’s on everyone’s mind. After all, that’s what people in my business are supposed to do: find out what people want to know about and give them as much information as you possibly can.
Sometimes, it’s easy. You can start with weather. Especially in Oklahoma, the weather plays a big part in most everything, from business to pleasure, from life to death. Weather is a factor.
You always can talk politics. This is an election year and, no matter how hard you try, you can’t escape hearing or seeing someone voice an opinion on who is and who is not doing the right thing, who will or who will not win in the November general election, who ought to stay, who ought to go.
One of the most significant freedoms we have it the right to state our opinion, and the right to agree or disagree, whether you do or don’t want to hear it.
Now that the Thunder’s season has ended, there’s a break. Right? To a degree. There are still the Thunder players participating in the Olympics, which, by the way, is another topic that will be even bigger soon.
We’re just a few weeks away from the start of the new football season. The predictions and expectations already are there.
Money always is an important topic, from how to make it to how to spend it, or how to save it. Add to that the cost of anything, which always seems to being heading upward. Who has money, who needs money and how to help those who don’t have enough to adequately survive also get attention.
Vehicles have been popular topics since the first ones were invented. You can expect that to continue until we don’t use them anymore.
Health matters — yours or those of someone else, how to avoid them and how to treat them — are important and often discussed.
Items relating to the military, particularly in a state like Oklahoma where it has such a presence, affect many people.
You also will read, see, or hear about such topics as children, pets, religion, travel, recreation and cultural events.
Plenty, huh? And there are many more.
Each of the topics mentioned above is in at least one of our “know it” topics. It may be a story, it could be a photo, or it might be in a topic’s resource material. Then again, it might be in more than one, sometimes several.
That’s why they are there: To give you information. And you can contribute as well by sending news releases, notes of praise, or other tidbits to the online communities.
Visit HTTP://KNOWIT.NEWSOK.COM/ and look them over.
I’ve noticed over the past several years that traffic in Midwest City has drastically increased. At least it feels like its a drastic increase every time I go out to do something and find myself rubbing my ears in frustration.
I don’t even think it’s the amount of traffic, but the manner of traffic. Let me explain. If everyone is paying attention to what they are doing, watching out for each other, you know, courteous driving, then everything is fine.
When I have a problem is when we get Johnnie Hot Rod zooming in and out of traffic, or Sally Makeup, or Dave SlowDriver, or Oh My, Victor, We’re In The Big City Now not knowing how to use a center turn lane properly.
Ok, I know, I’m venting. But when the traffic volume increases, it seems as if these people really stick out in a crowd. I think I have a solution.
Let’s give those people special orange lights that go on the roof of the car, so that we can all at least see them coming or going and have an ample chance at avoiding them altogether!
Anyhow, I know that other large metro towns are probably feeling the same pain, Norman comes to mind, I just hope the city fathers are allowing for the increase of traffic that added good eating and shopping bring to a community.
Orange lights on sale now, send checks made out to Ken Tate. Installation extra.
Memorial Day always has been one of my favorite holidays.
It’s the first holiday of summer, even though the change of seasons doesn’t occur for nearly a month. That means it’s time to enjoy those warm-weather activities.
Of course, in Oklahoma, warm weather sometimes arrives early, which can sure play havoc with those of us who have allergies.
Memorial Day is a confirmation in many communities that school is — or nearly is — out. Like most people, when I was a student, I looked forward to those weeks when I got a break from the books and assignments.
I also enjoyed my summer job, earning a little money while spending time with people I knew well. I was lucky in having that opportunity.
Much of time in the summers was spent playing baseball. The older I got, the more fun it became. Again, it was spending time with people I knew well, traveling to ballparks and working together.
I always enjoyed watching the Indianapolis 500, from the prerace pageantry to the dueling on the track to the final lap. When I got to take a lap around the Brickyard while on vacation one year, I thought about all those drivers I had seen competing on that very same track.
That also made watching the race on TV more enjoyable because I was able to recall certain areas of the race course.
Taking a trip, even a short venture to the lake, to relax and check out the scenery or play in the water also has been something I have tried to do.
And I always remember those who no longer are with us, including those who gave their lives in service to our country so that we might have those opportunities such as I mentioned above. “Thank you” never could adequately cover that debt.
We should all remember them … always.
See more about those in our armed forces in KNOWIT.NEWSOK.COM/MILITARY-OKLAHOMA, as well as in The Oklahoman.
“Have I got news for you.”
Ever heard that phrase? Most of us either have said that, heard it, or done both during our lives. There’s always something we think is important enough to share with others and they with us.
A few years ago, when we established our “know it” communities we offered readers a chance to share news releases, alerts, recognitions and other information (including photos) by sending their items by email to any or all of the five sites:
Many groups and individuals have participated. You can see what they are sending by going to the reader-submitted area (upper right) of each community:
(Note: You can see all of them by going to: http://knowit.newsok.com/)
The instructions also advise that editors at The Oklahoman will consider items submitted for publication in the newspaper. That has happened.
But now, that has been enhanced by using a page, labeled News From You, each Saturday in the Local/State section of the newspaper.
We even include posted blog material.
So how can you get your information to us for consideration?
You can send to the communities, as mentioned above, by following the directions for emailing.
Or, you can send email to Metro reporters Vallery Brown (email@example.com), Matt Patterson (firstname.lastname@example.org), Jane Glenn Cannon in Norman (email@example.com), or Diana Baldwin in Edmond (firstname.lastname@example.org).
It’s your news to share and be shared.
BY CHUCK MAI, AAA
Oklahoma’s pump prices are alarmingly close to the state’s all-time high average price for a gallon of self-serve regular gasoline, which is $3.955 set on July 16, 2008.
However, there are things motorists can do to stretch their fuel dollars. Some are easy, some won’t cost you a cent and all of them will make a difference. You’ll save money, you’ll use less fuel and you’ll help drive down gasoline prices.
Here are AAA Oklahoma’s 12 best tips for improving your fuel economy.
1) Gas. Only use premium if your owner’s manual says you should. You may think you’re doing your car a favor by buying premium, but you’re not. For most cars, the recommended gasoline is regular octane. Using a higher octane gas offers no benefit. Also, don’t “top off” when filling your tank. Most of that fuel either remains in the hose or evaporates. One more tip: shop around for the best price. Check with friends, neighbors, co-workers and Web sites (such as in the Fuel News & Tools section of www.AAA.com) for the lowest prices. Most gasoline sold in Oklahoma is of the same quality, whether you buy at a name brand or a “Mom and Pop” station.
2) Tires. Far and away, underinflated tires rank as the most common reason for getting poor fuel economy. Surveys show that one out of every four cars on the road today has at least one extremely low tire (below specs by eight pounds per square inch or more). One in every three pickups, vans and SUVs has the same problem. Gas mileage drops as much as two percent for every single pound of pressure your tires fall below the recommended level. Investing five minutes every two weeks with an air hose and a tire gauge (they’re inexpensive and available at auto parts stores everywhere) will save you a bundle. Inflate tires to the pressure recommended in your owner’s manual or on the sticker on the door jamb or inside the glove compartment. The pressure molded into the sidewall of the tire is a maximum – don’t go by that.
3) Air Filter. Another easy and cheap way to improve your fuel efficiency is to check your air filter. You can do it yourself easily – look in your owner’s manual for information. If it’s dirty, buy a new one and put it in; it’s very easy to do. Replacing a dirty air filter can increase your gas mileage by up to ten percent.
4) Engine. Old, dirty spark plugs can reduce fuel economy by 30 percent. Other bad components under the hood can cause your engine to waste even more fuel.
5) Reduce Your Miles. If you have to drive very far to do your shopping, make sure you purchase everything you might need for several days. Consolidate errands. Cold engines use more fuel than warm engines. Also, patronage shops closer to home and shop online.
6) Drive Efficiently. Stay within posted sped limits; avoid rush hour driving; stop aggressive driving; and avoid unnecessary idling. Quick jackrabbit starts and sudden stops waste fuel and are very hard on your vehicle’s components. On the highway, keep an eye on your speed. Gas mileage decreases rapidly at speeds above 60 miles per hour.
7) Credit Card Deals. Pay at the pump using a gas rebate credit card. However, some gas stations now charge more if you use a credit card. Check first.
8) Lighten Your Load. Take unnecessary weight out of trunks, pickup beds and back seats. Every extra 100 pounds can cost you a mile a gallon.
9) Gas Cap. By some estimates, loose, missing or damaged gas caps allow 147 millions of gasoline to vaporize annually across the country.
10) Gas-Saving Gadgets. Be skeptical of claims for devices that will improve your mileage. AAA has yet to find any device or gadget that makes much of a difference. Some will even harm your car’s performance.
11) Your Next Car. Hybrids and alternative fuel vehicles are getting better and better, with more power and greater fuel economy. Consider a CNG-powered vehicle. Compressed natural gas is selling for about half the price of regular gasoline these days.
12) Use mass transit or carpool.
Have you noticed how so many things are on the rise these days? We definitely seem to be in an increase mode.
Start with the weather. Here it is mid-March and we’re experiencing temperatures you would expect in late spring or early summer. Pushing — or passing — 80 degrees. We’ve seen little of the normal winter weather conditions, such as snow or bitter-cold temperatures.
I’m not complaining, you understand. Last year’s January-February snow created some significant problems and I’m happy we didn’t have the same this year. Could this be a start to an extremely hot summer?
So with warmer weather, many people feel like doing a little traveling. But current economic conditions may cause them to do a little thinking before setting out. The increase continues at the gas pump and it doesn’t appear to be slowing.
Many times recently I’ve had to make a trip to a pharmacy, a grocery store, or another such location, only to find on my return that the price board at the filling station has new, higher numbers than were there when I first passed by it. And if you dream that you saw a big jump at the pump, it might be more true than you think. Jumps of a dime or more overnight have not been unusual.
With higher gas prices come higher costs for many other items, such as many of our food products. The experts remind us that the costs of many items are “connected” through transportation expenses. That’s one reason alternative fuels are a hot topic.
If you’re a cable TV subscriber, you may have seen an increase in your bill recently. Someone has to pay for all those major technological breakthroughs and excellent service. Right? Paying more to hear experts say you’re paying more.
As an aside here, you might ask that if you pay less, do you hear less of such expertise? The answer is “yes,” but only because you will lose your service when it’s disconnected.
I mentioned the pharmacy. There actually have been some moves to reduce costs for some prescriptions. In some instances, there have been major moves resulting in substantial reductions in cost. Generic medicines have spurred some strong competition.
Obviously, these and many other price increases hitting at the same time put a strain on our personal finances. We realize prices do go up over time, but how much and how soon they do has a great effect on our lives.
Meanwhile, we’ll have to do some comparative shopping. And you can check out the experts in KNOWIT.NEWSOK.COM/MONEY-OKLAHOMA for information on how to reduce the effects of price increases. They just might save you a few bucks.
Word out of Washington today is that new rules designed to help drivers avoid unintentionally backing over children have been delayed — again. This time, automakers complained that requiring rearview video camera systems on new cars and trucks would be too expensive.
The debate continues. If you recall, it was more than a year ago that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration proposed requiring improved driver rear visibility in new vehicles. In most cases, that meant rear-mounted video cameras with in-vehicle display screens.
Phasing in the regulations was to be completed for all cars and light trucks by the time the 2014s arrived.
Published accounts said the rear visibility rules were required by a law passed in 2008 by Congress after a growing number of accidents in which children were injured and/or killed by being backed over. Specifically noted were blind spots for large sport utility vehicles and pickups.
Federal transportation officials said about 300 people are killed and 18,000 injured each year in back-over accidents. A large number of these occur in driveways and parking lots. About half of the deaths and injuries are children under the age of 5, but elderly victims account for a large number as well.
Back in December, lobbyists took to the White House the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers’ idea of using expanded mirrors rather than cameras to improve visibility on vehicles. The automakers said the mirrors could work and save costs.
Now, federal transportation execs say they need more time for research and analysis before instituting the regulations.
While both sides agree that the situation must be addressed, and knowing that the law is on the books, they continue to debate the cost and absolute regulation. Twice before the implementation of the law has been delayed. And still, back-over deaths occur.
See more on this topic in KNOWIT.NEWSOK.COM/PARENTING-OKLAHOMA or KNOWIT.NEWSOK.COM/TRAVEL-TIPS.
You also can read more at …
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration: http://www.nhtsa.gov
Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers: http://www.autoalliance.org/