It’s all about money … how you get it, what you do with it. It’s your choice … mostly.
Who hasn’t watched a game show on TV, where contestants try to win money and prizes? Spin a wheel, answer a question, choose a door, select the right item, match objects and you might win the big one.
Maybe you play the lottery, where you spend money trying to make money. It’s a game of chance, similar to what some businesses “play” every day.
But listening to the radio while driving recently, I heard some hosts talking about how things are viewed today versus how they were thought of years ago. Such as, “If you had the choice of taking $100,000 when you were 20 or $10 million when you were 60, which would it be?”
For the younger set, those who haven’t reached the milestones in their lives yet, it’s all a dream or a wish. For those of us who have achieved at least one of those times, there’s some reality mixed in, especially when we’ve seen prices soar through the years on everything from necessities to accessories.
Later, when I wasn’t behind the wheel, I thought about what I would have done with a spare $100,000 when I hit 20. Like those on the radio show I had been listening to, a new car and a nice home were two items I most likely would have purchased. But I’m not sure how much investing I would have done, or how many trips I would have taken.
Now, getting $10 million at age 60 would bring a lot of interesting possibilities, such as retiring all debt for my family and me, helping others who are struggling …
Then, another question came to mind. “Would someone who suddenly found themselves with $10 million at age 60 continue to work for someone else, or would they either retire or work solely for them?”
I’d have to think about it some more, but I probably wouldn’t think long. I’m sure I could decide that one … shortly after I got my $10 million.
Learn more about handling personal finances at KNOWIT.NEWSOK.COM/MONEY-OKLAHOMA and its list of resources.
As a columnist who writes about traffic issues, I often get emails, phone calls, or letters from someone criticizing Oklahoma drivers — primarily those in Oklahoma City.
The most common complaint is that our drivers don’t have any regard for safety. They don’t obey the law, they run red lights, they drive too fast, they don’t yield, they never use turn signals and they are just plain rude.
The result of these actions? Oklahomans, again pointing at mostly Oklahoma Citians, are more likely to have an accident.
It’s interesting that many of those complaining moved here from another state, where drivers were more courteous and more careful, the complaining parties say.
There are times, I would have to agree with some of what I read or hear. I’ve seen examples of most everything they gripe about. And now, there’s even more ammunition for them.
My longtime colleague Don Mecoy wrote a story for The Oklahoman today that says, “The average Oklahoma City driver will be involved in an auto collision every 10 years, which ranks the metro behind 79 other U.S. cities in Allstate Insurance Co.’s annual ‘Best Drivers Report.’ ”
In his story, Don notes that Allstate, using claims data for the basis of its report, says Oklahoma City “ranks as one of the least safe driving cities.”
There’s a lot of good information in Don’s story — good from the point of things that can help us do better; bad if you’re keeping score on which cities need the most work.
So I encourage you to read it and take it to heart. We can all benefit if we do better. It might even cut down on the complaining.
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
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 love time off.
I know I’m not alone. I would also make a great multi millionaire. I know what I’m doing when it comes to lounging and spending money. I’m very good at it. If there was a professional league for relaxing and spending money, I would be in it. I would probably be an all star.
This leads me to the downside of this conversation. I loathe going back to work after time off. Its depressing. It starts the Sunday before going back to work on Monday after days off. I start thinking about work, what I need to get done, what has to be done by noon, and so on and so forth.
It usually causes me to not sleep very well Sunday night. My mind is reverting back to work mode. No more lazy days by the pool. No more dining out late. No more driving or flying to exotic or non exotic locations on a whim. No more sleeping in late.
I wonder if everyone feels the way I do, thats why so many people have terrible moods on Mondays. So many gloomy people.
Maybe we should move to a 4 day work week, Mondays become the last day of the weekend. Maybe that would work.
Probably not, we would just dread Tuesdays. Oh well, a boy can dream.
Happy Go Back To Work After A Long Holiday To You All!!!!!
My dad used to tell me that there was a difference between fishing and catching. He said that he did more catching than fishing. I remember “sneaking up” on the fish at times, making no noise, watching where I stepped, holding sneezes, as if the fish were watching us.
My dad loved to fish, but what he didn’t love was making sure I was fishing properly. I can’t tell you how many times I got my lure snagged in a low hanging branch, right after my dad told me to “watch out for that branch there”. He would turn three shades of red as he tried to wade out to the branch and retrieve the lure.
I went fishing recently at Lake Texoma and had a wonderful time with friends catching our limit in under two hours. I was reminded about my dads’ frustration when I looked at our guide’s face a few times when he had to undo what some of us did to our lines and our bait. The familiar grimace and the face changing colors and the biting of the tongue.
It seems comical now, but back in the day, I’m sure my dad did not find anything funny about taking care of an amateur fisherman trying to do the right things.
I guess the important thing about fishing is making sure you do some catching.
Everything is better when catching, even the mistakes.
We have a mall in Midwest City.
You can’t shop there.
You can’t go inside and walk anymore.
Why is it still there? There is a church where Dillards used to be. Sears still anchors the other end. Why is it still there?
Why doesn’t someone have some vision and do something! Lots of traffic all around it, surely something can be done!
The mall used to be the place to be for teenagers here, but now nothing goes on at the mall. No shopping. No walking. Nothing.
I’ve got it! This is where the movie theater could go! Perfect place for one! Large parking lot, lots of space. Hello, Warren Theaters, are you listening? What a great addition to this community, and what a perfect location!
Maybe someday, but for now, the sad old mall sits abandoned, waiting for new life. Waiting for someone with vision to make something out of nothing. Cold and lonely. But not forgotten.
“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.
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.
A new state law in Texas has done just that, raising the maximum speed limit on roads in most areas of the state from 70 to 75 mph. But in some rural areas, the jump is from 70 to 85 mph.
That’s right … 85. A leap of 15 mph.
If you thought the Texas Longhorn Network deal was swift, or Texas A&M’s move to exit the Big 12 Conference was a push to the future, hang on. Texas House Bill 1201, which authorized the speedy change, has the potential to cause many states to take another look at their highway systems.
Maybe they ought to keep a close eye on how much fuel is consumed at higher speeds as well. This won’t be a cheap transition. Let’s hope it is a safe one.
Texas authorities say they will be monitoring the situation. In fact, a study is planned to collect and analyze data to determine if this is a safe venture for motorists. The Texas transportation department doesn’t have all the signs changed over yet (the bill just went into effect on Labor Day and the signs weren’t completed by then), so not all areas where the higher speeds are permitted are marked.
While many most likely will be pleased with the new speeds, saying they now will be able to criss-cross the Lone Star State in less than three hours, others will be concerned about the safety factor.
It’s pretty much up to each state legislature to set speed limits, and those are reviewed annually. Though many states, such as Oklahoma on its turnpikes, have 75 mph speed limits in some areas, Texas will have the overall highest. Speed limits throughout the country vary by the type and condition of roadways and the area through which the vehicles are traveling.
In general, the wide open highways west of the major East Coast cities and away from mountainous regions have the higher max speeds.
So, we’ll see how well Texans do on their new super highways. And we’ll see if they’ll drive under the assumption that 5 to 10 mph over the speed limit is acceptible. That would push it to as much as 95 mph and increase the dangers significantly, highway safety officials say.
For more travel information, go to http://knowit.newsok.com/travel-tips