The Financial Life Skills Blog for Families by Nancy Phillips

Teen Success: Proven Light Technology Optimizes Mental Performance

Posted by Nancy Phillips on Thu, Nov 20, 2014


Nancy Phillips, Youth Financial AuthorToday I'm really excited to share with you information about a light technology that can help increase the performance and well-being of the teens in your life (and perhaps your own!)

I met Terry Cook, the CEO of The Litebook Company, on a flight recently. We talked the entire time, and I was fascinated to learn about this technology. I hope you find it as valuable as I have, we use the Litebook Edge each morning in my house. It's small and portable, the size of an iPhone, and is especially helpful during this dark time of year.

Nancy: What effect does the use of this special light technology have on a teen?

Terry: When children go through adolescence many suffer from Delayed Phase Sleep Disorder DPSD.  This means simply that their melatonin that helps them sleep does not come out until well after mid-night and it does not shut down until mid-morning. When they have to get up early for sports, school, dance, etc. their melatonin is still coming out so they are often very tired. Sunlight shuts down melatonin naturally but with the absence of light they remain tired. Using a Litebook Edge which delivers a specific wave length of light for a period of 15 to 30 minutes. This will shut down their melatonin and make them more alert, and help them to focus and concentrate on activities at hand.

Nancy: How does it work on the brain and body to make you feel better and more alert?

Terry: There is a long technical, physiological answer to the question, but very simply light in the blue range is recognized as sunlight or equivalent by the melanopsin receptors in the retina, and light in this range naturally suppresses melatonin and allows the brain to become more focused and alert.Litebook Edge

Nancy: Can it help with studying? How about sports?

Terry: Absolutely. Early morning practises can prove very difficult for many athletes to focus and improve and the results are often shown in their performances. Similarly studying late at night when melatonin is secreting can also make it most difficult to concentrate and absorb information being reviewed. Thirty minutes of light therapy  in the early morning before practise can help an athlete shut down their melatonin and increase their serotonin level causing them to be more alert and focused. Similarly, light in the early evening can have the same results.     

Nancy: Who has used this technology successfully for performance? Who is using it to help with their studies? Could it help for entrance exam preparation?

Terry: Many individuals and teams have and are presently using the Litebook light therapy products to help with performance issues, and to adjust their body clocks to manage jet lag and sleep issues. The USA Olympic men’s hockey team used Litebook at the Sochi winter Olympics, members of Canada’s junior international hockey teams, members of the University of Michigan swim team and Cornell University women’s Hockey team, professional hockey players with the Ottawa Senators and Philadelphia Flyers, and numerous others. Many students use Litebook products to help them stay alert, improve their concentration and achieve better results in school, and when preparing for university entrance exams.     

Nancy: So this light technology would be really useful for students in countries all over the world, and especially those like China and Korea where there is such a major focus on academic performance. 

Terry: Yes, the light will literally help them focus and study more effectively."

Nancy: How about uses for the rest of the family?

Terry: The great thing about a Litebook Edge is that even though it is considered to be a ‘personal use device’ it is completely non-invasive and can easily be used by every member of the family. It can successfully help to manage numerous circadian rhythm disruptions and many mild forms of depression, adjust disruptive sleep patterns, whether in teens, adults or seniors, or help adjust the body clock between shift changes for shift workers. It can help international travellers manage and eliminate jet lag and make the long dark days of winter just a little more bearable for everyone.      

Nancy: That sounds fantastic, and I know you've also mentioned many users have found morning "crankiness" to subside in family members - which is pretty important to the entire family.      

Is there a guarantee on its effectiveness?

Terry: Just as each of us has a totally unique body clock, so too does light therapy have a different effect on every individual. If used according to the manufacturers instructions, most everyone will feel some benefit from the Litebook Edge, some more than others. But if within 60 days of purchase an individual wants to return the light, for whatever reason, Litebook will refund their money completely. (This may vary internationally depending on local laws)  

Nancy: Wonderful, where can people get it? 

Terry: The Litebook Edge is available at numerous retail and on line resellers, however if you purchase directly from and enter the code ZW001, you will receive a 20% discount off the posted retail price.

This one and a half minute video gives you a short review of why this light technology can have such important benefits to our overall mental well-being and personal success.

Nancy: Thank you so much Terry for all the research and work you are doing to bring out such a useful resource, and for giving Zela Wela readers a generous discount. I'm so glad I found out about the Edge!

Nancy Phillips, Financial author and speaker


Tags: exam preparation success, jet lag therapy, mood disorder, SAD, teen fatigue, teen success, China, light therapy, student success, study skills, mental alertness

Teen Success: New Steps to Success Personal Finance Guide

Posted by Nancy Phillips on Sun, Nov 16, 2014

Nancy Phillips, Teen Financial AuthorMany of you have asked me when I would write a resource for teenagers. Well, I'm thrilled to let you know the Steps to Success Teen Guide, 25 Financial and Life Success Lessons to Help You Achieve Your Dreams is now available!

If you have a teen in your life, you will want them to experience this personal and concise lesson based actvitity guide. The first step of the guide helps them identify and clarify their personal values. This will help them make their financial decisions based on what's truly important to them, instead of following what they hear from the media or their peers.

The 40-page resource allows the teen to create their own personalized guide through short lessons and related activities - they walk away with a plan for their future, and steps on to make it happen.

Packed with helpful tips and suggestions on everything from setting goals to managing money, the “Steps to Success Teen Guide” also outlines key concepts teens need to be aware of to persevere towards their goals, including:



*How Needs and Wants Affect Your Life

*The Difference Between Debit and Credit

*The Give, Invest, Save and Spend (GISS) Method of Managing Money and Building Wealth

* Creating a Spending Plan (aka Budget) to Achieve Your Goals

*The Different Types of Debt

*The Benefits of Entrepreneurial Thinking

*The Impact of Gratitude on Success and Happiness

Steps to Success Teen Guide by Nancy Phillips

The guide is available until December 1st for the launch price of $16.95, then it will return to it's regular price of $22.95.

Financial life skills are one of the most important skills a teen will need to live a happy and successful life in today's world. They will make over ten financial decisions a day by the time the finish high school, and they deserve to have guidance to help them make good decisions.

 Thank you all for your support and encouragement to research and create this guide. My hope is that it helps teens all over the world better prepare to live successful, happy and independent lives.

Nancy Phillips, Youth Financial Author

Tags: Steve Jobs, gratitude, teens and money, kids and money, teen success, teen finance, teen finance activity book, teens and finance, teen finance book, new teen finance book, entrepreneurial teen finance book, young entrepreneurs, teen entrepreneurs, Brian Tracy, Sir Richard Branson, Hellen Keller, the importance of gratitude, the difference between debit and credit, credit card information for teens Interview: The Real Impact of Youth and Financial Responsibility

Posted by Nancy Phillips on Tue, Nov 04, 2014

Nancy Phillips, Founder of DollarSmartKids Enterprises Inc. Recently I had the wonderful opportunity to talk to the group at They do fantastic work helping people manage their money effectively. If you haven't looked at their online service before, it is definitely worth your time, over ten million people think so.

We talked about youth and money (of course!) and some of the key questions we discussed were:

*How important is early financial literacy for children and teens? 

*How does a lack of financial responsibility in children now affect our future economy?

*How do you feel our society today is skimping on this responsibility?

*What are a few basic things parents should be doing with their kids now to instill this concept?

Check out the full article hereAs always, comments are very welcome. 

Nancy Phillips, Founder of DollarSmartKids Enterprises Inc.








Tags: financial responsibility, financial literacy, kids and money, needs and wants, children's financial education, money books for kids, Zela Wela Kids,, Steps to Success Teen Guide

Teen Success: Motivation Manifesto with Brendon Burchard

Posted by Nancy Phillips on Tue, Oct 14, 2014

Nancy Phillips, Zela Wela Kids author Teens, if you haven't heard of Brendon Burchard, this is your introduction. If you have huge dreams (which I hope you all do), this brilliant guy can help you learn the skills and mindset you need to make them come true.

I first began learning from Brendon when I spent two days at his Expert Academy in San Jose two years ago, and I can tell you he is a world class speaker and educator. I have seen some amazing speakers during my career, and Brendon is exceptional. He really connects with young people, University students is where it all began for him.

Brendon is just launching his new book, along with a $297 online personal development course. The book is called The Motivation Manifesto: 9 Declarations to Claim Your Personal Power.

He's a mentor of mine, so Brendon bought a bunch of hardcover copies to give away to my community.

Get yours free here: The Motivation Manifesto

Brendon Burchard

This book is a thoughtful call to arms to create the life we deserve. It's about overcoming self-limitations and social pressures in order to achieve what Brendon calls "Personal Freedom - the full expression of our true selves, the unabashed and courageous pursuit of our dreams.

Here's a review from Paulo Coelho, author of The Alchemist and the most followed living writer in the world:

"The Motivation Manifesto is a poetic and powerful call to reclaim our lives and find our own personal freedom. It’s a triumphant work that transcends the title, lifting the reader from mere motivation into a soaringly purposeful and meaningful life. I love this book.”

Brendon is also the host of the most watched personal development show on YouTube, and he's followed by over 1.9 million fans on Facebook. 

Get your free copy now, you have to take action to move forward on your journey.

Cheers to your success,

Nancy Phillips, Zela Wela Way author

Tags: teen success, Brendon Burchard, Motivation Manifesto

Kids and Money: One Dad’s Experience with the GISS Method

Posted by Nancy Phillips on Sun, Oct 12, 2014


Nancy Phillips, financial authorToday I'm speaking with David Vogelsang, you may know him from his popular blog, Spreading Financial Confidence. He has been using the GISS Method of money management with his children Connor and Caroline for over two years now. Here are his thoughts on the impact of their experience as a family.

How and why did you get started using the GISS method with your children? What was your experience getting started? 

D: I initially started paying my son an allowance in an amount that equaled his age starting at age 4 in an attempt to teach him good money lessons.  The deal was that he could spend half of the money but he had to save the other half. I paid him once a week and pay day was on Tuesdays.  This worked well for a while, until one week, I didn’t have enough money in my wallet to pay him on payday. I still remember him insisting that I visit an ATM machine immediately. It was that moment that I realized that I wasn’t teaching him good financial habits; instead, I was teaching him entitlement and the expectation of receiving payment for nothing. That is when my quest for finding a better way started.

Zela Wela Kids

I did a lot of research and read many books on how to help kids start a business and how to document any money that they made, how to invest that money as well as how to shelter a portion of it from taxes. While doing my research, I came across the Zela Wela Kids blog and found the GISS method to be brilliant.  Not only does it teach good money habits to kids, but also very important life skills that are necessary as they grow older:

  • Giving teaches an abundance mentality, a sense of community and the habit of compassion and generosity

  • Investing teaches the habit of putting a percentage of your money away now, so that it may compound and grow over time, so that you are less likely to run out of money in the future

  • Saving teaches the habits of goal-setting, patience and delayed gratification

  • Spending teaches the habit of budgeting and allows them to enjoy the fruits of their labor with greater appreciation, since they are using their own money

And, of course, the earlier we teach our kids these important lessons, the more likely it will become second nature to them.

What did the children enjoy most about dividing their money into give, invest, save and spend?

D: The act of building the GISS bank together was a wonderful experience for both me and the kids.  It was a great way for us to bond and have fun, while also discussing very serious and important topics. Allowing the kids to participate and decorate their own banks gave them that extra sense of pride and ownership.

The same way that building the bank was fun, I wanted to make each of the four categories to be fun as well: 

  • For the Giving portion, I encourage my kids to give to charities that they would enjoy giving to. Also, to reinforce the habit we hand-deliver the money so they not only get to see the recipient’s appreciation, but to experience the “feel-good” you get from giving.

  • For the Investing portion, I showed my kids, using different rates of return, how investing even small amounts of money over a long period of time can grow into substantial, life-changing amounts.  As an added incentive, while the amounts are small, I agreed to match all of the money they earn, so they can invest the full amount and really watch their money compound and grow over time.

  • For the Saving portion, I like to sit with each of my kids and help them list their goals as well as what they would like to save up for. You can imagine how proud I was very when my son met his goal of saving up for a laptop computer and when my daughter was able to save up enough to buy her own iPad mini.

  • For the Spending portion, I let my kids , for the most part, do as they wish and I like to interview them to see if they think they made a wise decision with the money they spent. I figure, if they are going to make money mistakes, I would prefer them to be now, when the amounts are low. (Included is a picture of my son after purchasing the Xbox 360 console with his spending money. My daughter purchased an extra controller with her spending money, so that she would be able to play too.)

Also, I like to make payday a really big deal and the kids look forward to getting out the calculator to divide up their money and check to see how close they are getting to their goals.

Zela Wela Kids What has been the impact on the children as individuals and your family as a whole?

D: The GISS method has inspired the way we run our family economy. Now, instead of giving the kids an allowance, they help around the house or do odd jobs around the neighborhood to earn their money – like little entrepreneurs.  They are very generous with their money and easily part with it for causes that interest them. Also, I can see their self-confidence and appreciation grow as they meet their savings goals, make purchases with their own money and watch their money grow. I am certain that continuing these habits will, not only make my children wealthy, but also positively contributing members of society.

Tags: GISS Method, financial literacy, kids and money, teen success, spreading financial confidence, kids finance books, kids financial education books, preventing entitlement

Teens and Investing: A Basic Guide to Understanding Asset Classes

Posted by Nancy Phillips on Sun, Sep 07, 2014


Nancy Phillips, financial authorThis guest post is brought to you by the team at DealMarket. As you learn about investing, be prepared to ask questions, both of the people explaining the investment to you, and also to other experienced investors who have learned through experience what works and what doesn't. Also be sure to understand all the fees you will be paying, as they may negate the return on the investment if you aren't fully aware. Enjoy the article!

Whether you’re just starting to learn about investing or you are thinking about a career in the finance industry, there is much to consider in terms of where to focus.  A good place to start is to understand the different asset classes available, as some investment careers might focus on a very specific sector while others might take a more general approach.

Understanding Asset Classes

Investopedia defines an asset class as “A group of securities that exhibit similar characteristics, behave similarly in the marketplace, and are subject to the same laws and regulations.”

When starting out in the investment sector, it is better to stick to the narrow definition of asset classes.  This is because many investors and investment firms might consider other things as asset classes.  Commodities and real estate are the two types of investments typically considered to be asset classes in addition, but others may be added depending on the outlook of the investor and the firm.

For now, let us focus on the three primary asset classes.


Equities are also known as stocks.  In terms of asset classes, equities typically means the owning shares in businesses that are publicly held and traded.  Such businesses would be those trading on the NASDAQ in New York, or the FTSE in London, for example.

This asset class can also refer to private equity, or private stocks.  The difference is simple; this refers to holding shares in privately held companies, i.e. any that aren’t traded on a public stock exchange.

Equities, both public and privately held, have proven over time to be the best performing asset class.  While equities can be volatile in the short term, history has shown that investors that hold their nerve and stick with these investments in the long term usually get their rewards.  The nature of equities means that an investor or firm may see a return lower than the capital invested in the first place.

Owing to the nature of equities, this is a good sector of the industry for analytically skilled individuals, and those that can interpret often complex data to make decisive decisions.

Fixed Income

Fixed income assets, which are also commonly known as bond investments, offer more stability than equities markets.  While they are less risky, lower risk in the finance world always means lower rates of return.  The value of bond investments are closely tied to interest and inflation rates, so in periods when these are low investors will typically need to make several investments in order to generate an attractive return.

The easiest way to view and understand fixed income assets is to think of it like a fixed term bank account, where savers commit a sum of money for a fixed term at a certain rate of interest.

Working with fixed income assets is ideal for anyone looking for a finance career without taking huge amounts of risk with people’s money, but it is also rewarding investigating and discovering the best fixed income deals on the market and providing additional value to clients this way.

Money Market

Money market investments, or cash equivalents as they are typically known, are short-term investments.  These offer less risk than equities and fixed income, but their short-term nature means growth opportunities are usually severely limited.

Where Should You Focus?

The majority of investors and investment firms will look to have a diverse portfolio of asset classes at their disposal.  This is often a strategy aimed at minimising risk.  For example, losses on equities can often be balanced by money market and fixed income gains.  However, most finance professionals will look at this technique as a means of maximising gains, and it is recommended that anyone looking to enter the finance sector do the same.

Those looking to enter the financial industry will have options in terms of working in businesses that focus on specific asset classes, but for a better rounded appreciation of the sector, it is worth building knowledge of them all, as well as the other areas where firms may invest, such as in commodities and real estate.

Tags: teens and money, investment classes, asset classes,, teens and investing

Why Kids Today Can’t Afford to Miss Learning About Money in School

Posted by Nancy Phillips on Wed, Aug 27, 2014

Nancy Phillips, financial author

As originally written for the Discover Pathway to Financial Success blog, August 2014:

Did you learn about money in school? Likely not. How would your life have been different if you had learned the basics of personal finance before you were out on your own? Clearly today’s world is much different than it was when we were kids, or even five or ten years ago. People didn’t used to spend money they didn’t have.  

Children need to learn financial life skills along with reading and writing. Why? Because they will make about six to ten financial decisions per day as young adults, and their future well being is based on those daily decisions. These skills, or the lack thereof, will literally shape that child’s future. 

Every person, regardless of their background, will have to make important financial decisions. They deserve to have a foundation of unbiased knowledge on which to base those decisions. Money and how it’s managed, affects everything in a person’s life from health to relationships to career choices. Many young people choose jobs just to pay the monthly bills, rather than work towards something they are truly talented at and passionate about. Debt and lack of sufficient money is one of the main reasons young adults drop out of post-secondary education. The long-term impact of this loss of talent, inspiration and success throughout our society is tragic, not to mention the long-lasting effect on the individual.

 How can teaching kids about money change that? First of all they would learn to speak the language so it’s not a taboo, uncomfortable topic anymore. Young people would be more comfortable asking questions and learning new lessons as their situations in life change. Whether it be a high school student working part-time and wondering about taxes or buying a car, to a first time home buyer getting informed about mortgages.

 Although the earliest and deepest money lessons and beliefs come from parents, or whoever is raising the child during the formative years, it is critical parents aren’t left alone to shoulder this vital part of their child’s education. Many parents today aren’t confident in their own financial skills, and even if they are, they just don’t know where to start.

 The Urgency for Schools to Teach Children Money Skills Now

 Technology and the speed at which we are encouraged to lead our lives makes it easier and faster to spend, and thus much easier to go into debt and more debt. Less thought, emotion and awareness is involved in transactions in our modern world, and displays of “conspicuous consumption” are common and glorified in the media. Debt can cause unimaginable consequences in a young adults life when they don’t know what to do, and believe they have no good choices.

 Our children require help in the form of education, so they can effectively determine the difference between needs and wants, and how to make decisions based on their own best interest. These decisions are highly emotional and difficult to make, especially when peer pressure is factored in. With awareness and understanding, our children can become competent at creating their own lives and direction based on their values, and not be constantly led by the high tech noise and powerful marketing of the day.

 Why It’s Critical to Start the Learning Early 

A person’s money “wiring” in their brain occurs in early childhood. So whether a parent realizes it or not, the way they talk about money, how they plan and budget (or don’t plan and budget), and the way they shop – everything is being taken in by their children subconsciously.Zela Wela Kids from WillowStone Academy

 Learning financial information and skills is similar in many ways to learning a sport. A child needs to learn basic steps, practice them and progress to the next building block. As they build their knowledge and experiences, they acquire competence, perspective and confidence.

 A great advantage teachers really have on their side when teaching young elementary school children these lessons is the fact that the students have no fear of the topic, and it’s easy to make the lessons fun. Whereas many adults and teens dread the thought of learning personal financial information, young children want to learn about money, and don’t have the “I’m not smart enough to be good at this” feeling that many older students carry with them.

 The earlier financial education starts, the easier it will be for the students to learn, practice and develop good habits before the risks get high.

Small lessons during everyday life can have a significant long-term impact.

 Financial success is based on all the thousands of decisions made on a daily basis over time. Since this is something each of us must be involved in during daily life as we grow into adulthood, doesn’t it make sense to teach all children the basics? I believe it’s our obligation. Why would we let another generation grow up without these essential life skills?

 About the Author: Nancy Phillips, BS, EMBA, Author and Speaker; is the Founder & President, DollarSmartKids Enterprises, Inc.; Creator of the Zela Wela Kids. Nancy is the mother of two elementary school-aged children.

Photo: Willowstone Academy students hold the GISS Banks they made in class to learn that money can be used for different purposes: giving, investing, saving and spending.

Tags: kids and money, kids financial education, kids financial literacy, school, learning financial literacy, debt, taboo topic

5 Money Saving Ideas for Keeping Kids Entertained

Posted by Nancy Phillips on Tue, Aug 05, 2014

Nancy Phillips, DollarSmartKids Enterprises FounderThis is a guest post by Sarah Brooks from She is a Houston based freelance writer and blogger. Thank you for your ideas Sarah!

Parents continually face economic issues, managing household budgets and responding to the financial needs of the whole family.  And while children play a huge role in financial planning and management, they are generally oblivious to money matters - at least until a certain age. 

Things kids are most familiar with, on the other hand, are recreation, entertainment and easygoing good times. And since most parents coincidentally need more leisure in their lives, saving money on entertainment is a great way for parents and kids to rally together in ways that benefit them both.  Kids learn about economical fun, while parents keep family entertainment costs in line - a win/win for financial literacy and domestic budgeting. 

Summer recreation options fall across a wide range of choices that can challenge family budgets when left unchecked.  Splurging on a major outing now and again is reasonable when resources allow for it, but keeping the whole family entertained, day after day, can be an expensive proposition if budget leisure activities are not incorporated into the recreational mix. 

These activities furnish leisure distractions and life skills all at once, so put your own spin on these budget-friendly ideas.

Let the Games Begin

Nothing brings a family closer together than shared interests and activities, so games furnish a great resource for low-budget family fun.  For starters, games are indoor/outdoor activities that can be tailored to accommodate weather and other considerations.  Most games can be played any time of day, without a great deal of special equipment, so they furnish flexible bonding opportunities for families with busy schedules.

Games take many forms and are often free to participate in, or carry low one-time start-upZela Wela Kids backyard circus costs for equipment or other needed items.  Board and video games are popular indoor pastimes, while sports and other budget-friendly recreation incorporate exercise and get families outdoors together. When some investment is required, for bicycles, tennis rackets or other recreational gear, kids can be brought-in to the process of acquiring them - passing-on valuable lessons about saving and making "capital" purchases.

On the other hand, perennial favorites like dodgeball, flashlight tag and other child-friendly games are easily accommodated without added expense, furnishing impromptu distractions for youngsters of all ages.

Backyard Tourists

Vacation expenses add-up quickly for families traveling away from home, but budget tourism is probably available in your own neighborhood.  Frequently, we overlook obvious entertainment options near our homes, favoring travel to satisfy our desire for a change of pace. To trim entertainment expenses and keep the whole family occupied, try local attractions on for size, especially those with kid-appeal.  Historical and architectural treasures are a part of many regional tourist opportunities, so adults and older children benefit from local exploration. And in many cases, lessons about government and finance are easily incorporated into your local travels.

camp at homeRoughing it without ever leaving home is another low-budget entertainment option for family members of various ages. Setting up camp in the backyard, for instance, makes kids feel special, as they learn bonafide camping skills. Activities like pitching a tent and making s'mores over grill coals are enough to simulate the real experience, without the added expense of an actual getaway. 

Seasonal Events

Leisure events cater to busy families, especially during summer months when school is not in session.  As a result, local businesses and organizations furnish low-cost entertainment alternatives for children of various ages - most often held during the day, when they are most needed by moms and dads.  Art fairs, church festivals and other local events are generally kid-friendly during daylight hours, and depending upon the age of your kids, enjoying free music shows together at night might also be appropriate.

Movie Night

Tying financial literacy to kids' entertainment puts a new spin on family fun, while laying-down valuable life lessons for a family's younger members.  Trips to the cinema are expensive, so home movie night is a great way to save money while simultaneously illustrating the value of a home-spun good time.  Start by explaining to kids that some special movie nights are at the theater, but most take place at home.  At the theater, allow kids to participate at the ticket and concessions booths, and then show them the free version at home.  The contrast really helps kids understand that you don't need to compromise a good time to save money and that there are low-cost alternatives for getting the things you want.

Gathering at home for movie night also lends itself to sharing some fun in the kitchen.  Depending on kids' ages, kitchen time might be spent on informative, yet fun cooking lessons, or simply enjoyed as playtime for younger kids. Either way, the bonding time results in family meals to compliment movie night.

Parks and Natural Resources

Sharing public resources with kids helps them understand the nature of community, as well as furnishing healthy low-cost recreational opportunities.  Playing ball at the park, utilizing public pools, and hiking designated nature trails are just a few of the ways kids begin to comprehend public ownership and shared civic resources.

Though kids may not be savvy money managers, they are nonetheless able to grasp important lessons about finances.  And since leisure activities are right in their wheelhouse, keeping kids entertained with low-budget good times is a great way to help them understand the value of a dollar.

Questions and comments can be sent to brooks.sarah23 @

Tags: saving money, free fun with kids, stay cations, backyard free fun, free summer fun

Kids and Money: 5 Great Things to Say to Your Children about Money

Posted by Nancy Phillips on Sun, Jun 08, 2014

Nancy Phillips, author Zela Wela KidsThere are effective, helpful things to say about money to your children, and there are some very damaging ones.

Today we’re going to focus on some great ones. Here are some easy comments to use during everyday life that will help your children develop responsibility and good decision-making skills with their money:

1.      “What do you think are some good ways you could earn the money for that?”

By putting your child in the decision making position, it gives them the opportunity to create new ideas, problem solve and learn from the outcomes of their decisions. All of these skills are very valuable real-life skills they need to successfully develop as they mature.

2.     “Which one do you want to save for first? Why?” Zela Wela Kids Wish List

Life is full of choices and by giving your child the opportunity to prioritize, it teaches them the practice of thinking through their decisions. Saving for an item develops self-control, a key trait for financial success in adulthood. They can use the Zela Wela Kids Wish List to print out their “wants.” This gives them a place to see what they are considering, and adjust their priorities as their desires change over time.

3.     “It’s allowance time, get your GISS bank!”

GISS bankOf all the important lessons to teach your children, this is the most important: money can and should be used for different purposes. You can’t build long-term wealth and a healthy fulfilling life just through spending your money. An allowance, and ultimately earnings that are consistently divided into giving, investing, saving and spending categories, will give your child the experiential learning necessary for them to get in the habit of managing their money effectively.

4.     “Do you have your spending money with you?”

Letting your children manage their own spending money for small treats and items will allow them to get experience handling money, making change and learning the value of things, a key lesson in today’s world of hyper consumption.

5.      “How do you feel about your xyz now that it’s been a few days since you bought it?”

Ask open-ended questions about your child’s buying experiences. It is important not to make judgmental comments that will shut the conversation down. The key is for them to reflect on their decision so they are aware of how they feel about it for the next time they need to make a similar decision. Learning from experience, good or bad, is the goal so they can carry the lesson forward to help them in the future.

Tags: children's financial literacy, spending, kids and money, GISS Method of Money Management, delayed gratification, self-control, saving, saving and self-control, GISS Bank

Teen Success: What’s Your Learning Genius?

Posted by Nancy Phillips on Sun, May 25, 2014


Nancy Phillips, author, Zela Wela KidsHow do You learn? How are You smart? Has anyone ever told you the answers to these questions? For most of us, the answer is no.

You are going to discover the answer in the next few minutes and the information has the potential to change your life, and how you look at yourself and your personal strengths. This isn’t something you’ll typically hear about in school, and yet is invaluable as you begin to define yourself and the life you want to create. It will help you find your inner genius, and yes, we all have one or more.

Just because a person gets good grades in school doesn’t mean they will automatically do well in life, and poor grades certainly don’t guarantee failure, especially in today’s rapidly changing world.

People have different ways they process sensory information - that is, how your mental computer acts on the incoming stimulation. The school system tends to focus on the verbal and mathematic processing. If these aren’t your strength don’t worry, just because you feel you may not have a high academic IQ doesn’t mean you aren’t smart. Your first step is to understand how you are smart and how you learn most effectively and enjoyably.

Dr. Howard Gardner, a psychologist and professor of neuroscience from Harvard University, developed the Theory of Multiple Intelligences in 1983.

These are the major intelligences he defined:

 1 Bodily-kinesthetic: physical learning, the ability to control physical motions with skill (athletes, actors, builders, pilots)

 2 Interpersonal: understand what other people need to work well (counselor, business coach, salesperson)

 3 Verbal-linguistic: competency with language, spoken or written (teacher, journalist, lawyer)

 4 Logical-mathematical: scientific thinking, ability to recognize patterns and perform complex calculations (engineer, accountant, doctor)

 5 Intrapersonal: understanding yourself, who you are and what you can do (entrepreneur, author, researcher)

 6 Visual-spatial: ability to create the spatial world in your mind (architect, sculptor, designer)

 7 Musical: auditory skill, ability to think in music, hear patterns, create them (musician, conductor, composer)

 8 Naturalistic: sensitivity and understanding of the natural world (farmer, environmentalist, geologist, zoologist)

 9 Existential:  ability to contemplate phenomena or questions beyond sensory data (quantum physicists, philosophers, psychologists)

This makes perfect sense—people are good at different things and learn in different ways right?


Female Architect Drummer Teacher Motocross

Steve Jobs

Let’s think about some really successful people who have great strengths outside of verbal and mathematical, like musicians, athletes, artists and entrepreneurs. Some of their dominant processing intelligences would be musical, physical, spatial, intrapersonal and interpersonal. Intrapersonal is how well you know and direct yourself. Self-control would be one way of looking at it. Interpersonal is how well you communicate with other people and this is an essential tool for success in life.

When people talk about a ‘genius”, they are referring to someone who has been able to find and use the incredible talents they have inside them. By finding out what your dominant intelligences are, you will be much more able to bring that genius out in yourself. It can be very disappointing if you get an average grade after studying really hard for an exam, but it is critical you look for the learning opportunity within any outcome. When things like that happen, the results can help direct you by showing you what you may need to learn more about and practice, as well as what you do and don’t want to do when deciding your life direction. Various experiences, good and not so good, will help direct you to a career you love and away from one that doesn’t suit you. It will help you develop financial and life success because people tend to be far more financially successful and happy when they are passionate about what they do!

Choose your top 3 intelligences, look for opportunities to learn and process information this way. See how things change in your life when you focus on your strengths!

*Bodily-kinesthetic * Interpersonal * Verbal-linguistic *Logical-mathematical *Intrapersonal *Visual-spatial * Musical *Naturalistic

I hope you find this helpful!

Tags: teen success, financial life skills, parenting teens, Howard Gardner, theory of multiple intelligences