GetFinUp Starter Course

Money Management Education for Teenagers

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Invest In Your Teen's Future Today!

Five true stories about how expensive sneakers led to the most interesting finance course

STORY 1: A RISKY INVESTMENT THAT COST US DEARLY

Everyone is investing, so why shouldn't we?
We noticed how our friends in our social circle constantly talked about real estate investments, and some of them had already bought properties, using rental income to pay off their mortgages. It seemed intriguing to us, as it sounded logical that a property could pay for itself through rent. Despite not being financially prepared for a significant investment, this story seemed so secure to us that we were motivated to turn it into reality. We began our search, but with each potential choice, we found something unsuitable.

We found the investment of our dreams!
However, after a month, a friend informed us that a young couple, acquaintances of his, were selling their newly renovated house in the city center at a reasonable price. They planned to continue their lives in a small coastal town. This was a rare find in the city center, especially a recently renovated one. We immediately contacted the owners and arranged a property viewing. Upon arrival, we were enchanted. It was a two-story house with separate apartments on each floor. The ground floor was already rented out to a fine dining restaurant, while the other was fully renovated and ready for rent. The additional perks included a private parking space in the yard (a rarity in the city center) and a small garden for relaxation.

The house was ours!
The price was not exactly affordable, but our charm and social skills worked in our favor. The owners liked us, and in the end, they lowered the price by ten thousand euros. Still lacking the funds to pay for the house, we planned to take a large loan from the bank and borrow more money to cover the taxes. Our original plan was to use the rental income from the two apartments to pay off the loan over ten years. After two months of paperwork, we successfully secured the loan. Confident in the perfection of our plan, we didn't analyze it too deeply or consider potential pitfalls.

The fairy tale didn't last long...
After a year, the restaurant's attendance declined, and the owner couldn't sustain it financially. He terminated our lease agreement and closed the restaurant. Additionally, it took us several months to find tenants for the 120 sqm apartment willing to pay a rent sufficient to cover the monthly loan installment. This was a significant financial burden, directly impacting the loan repayment. Fortunately, after a month, we rented the space to a brewery, and four students moved into the first floor. However, our luck was short-lived, as the brewery faced the same fate as the restaurant, and the owner terminated the lease after only three months. The financial blow became even harder when the students canceled the lease at the end of the academic year. This time, we couldn't find new tenants, and the loan installments kept coming.

Back to the beginning
The financial situation became unbearable, and after just two and a half years since buying the house, something we couldn't have imagined even in our worst nightmares happened. We began contemplating selling it. The plan for a highly profitable investment dissolved. The silver lining was that the tumultuous market had not calmed down even after three years. Therefore, we quickly found a buyer and negotiated a slightly higher selling price than what we had paid. We closed the loan with the bank, repaid the borrowed money, and after three extremely difficult and financially challenging years, we were financially relieved once again. Of course, we were disappointed because we didn't achieve what we had planned.

Selling wasn't such a bad move after all.
Soon, a powerful earthquake hit Zagreb, completely changing the market situation. We contacted the new owners of the house and learned that it wasn't damaged. However, in the following days, many businesses in the center stopped operating for security reasons, and some permanently closed. This situation reminded us of the tough financial times we went through when we didn't have tenants, prompting us to consider what would have happened if we had hesitated to sell and faced an earthquake that significantly devalued the property. The thought sent shivers down our spines. At that moment, any dissatisfaction with the sale disappeared.

What did we learn from this experience?
  • We became aware of the importance of managing our finances.
  • Financial management and investment require a well-developed financial literacy.
  • Significant financial decisions require detailed financial planning.
  • When making significant financial decisions, it's ideal to consult with financial experts.

STORY 2: A PAIR OF EXPENSIVE SNEAKERS IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE COURSE YOU ARE CURRENTLY SOLVING

The Madness of the Workweek
Weekends have always made us particularly happy because we could finally redirect all our mental resources exclusively to our family. During the workweek, we are so scattered and chronically short of time for family gatherings that we were forced to perfectly plan and adjust evening gatherings so that each of us could briefly summarize how our day went. Since not every day provided material for a Hollywood script, more often than not, we communicated with hugs and tired nods, signaling that everything was okay, and then comfortably settled into the couch, "diving" into the engaging plots of the TV series on our list. It may sound chaotic, but we got used to that pace, and it wasn't a big problem for us. Okay, there were some exceptionally hectic weeks, but those were rare occurrences.

Weekends Bring Special Emotions
However, when we found ourselves at home around 8 PM on Fridays, a special feeling of relaxation would envelop us. It was an indescribable sense of ease that pushed all work-related concerns aside, signaling that it was time to fully dedicate ourselves to each other. When the kids were little, Saturdays meant spontaneous last-minute outings outside the city. There was a unique charm in sitting on the couch on Friday evening and asking ourselves, "Where should we go tomorrow?" Of course, as the children started elementary school, things changed a bit, and Saturday became the day for various activities like birthdays, choir practice, training, or sometimes unexpected events, such as a new animated movie in the cinema that would effortlessly take half of our paycheck at the popcorn and candy counter. But Sunday... Sunday was exclusively for us, as we made every effort to spend it at home with a Sunday lunch and lounging on the couch.

Bitter Wine on the Lips
As our children grew, their desires became more concrete and expensive, and we thought it was just a natural progression, something we would particularly face when the "teenage days" arrived. And they did arrive. One Sunday lunch, our (then) fourteen-year-old daughter confidently informed us that she had seen a pair of sneakers online that were "awesome" and that she would like us to buy them for her as soon as possible. When she raised her phone in the direction of our eyes, we both choked on the wine that had been complementing our perfect lunch until then. The pair of super, uber, cool sneakers that our daughter liked cost 600 EUR. When she saw that our pupils were wider than our eyes, she quickly lowered her mobile phone. However, it was clear from her face that she realized she had made a mistake but didn't understand in what way. We didn't comment much on her proposal, diplomatically resolving the situation with the words "we'll talk about it," but she showed that she inherited our genes by wisely going to her room to study (read: scroll through TikTok).

We Quickly Forgot the House in the City Center
When we were alone, we started quietly but energetically asking ourselves questions out loud. 600 euros?!?! Did she even see the price?!?! Does she know how much 600 euros is?!?! The price of the sneakers didn't bother us as much as the suspicion that our children had no idea about money and its value. We knew it was our fault for approaching this matter too lightly and leaving things to time and chance, especially when we remembered how we found ourselves in a tough situation with a house in the city center due to our own financial ignorance. We were angry at ourselves because it was evident that we hadn't learned enough from our own experience, but we firmly decided that Sundays would no longer be reserved solely for leisure but also for the financial education of our children.

The Lesson of this Story?
  • People quickly forget their mistakes and easily repeat them.
  • Our children have no idea about money and its value.
  • Schools do not focus enough on financial literacy.
  • We cannot solely blame schools because as parents, we haven't taken any action.
  • Leading by example is the best way to teach. To have our children embrace our financial advice, we must adhere to it ourselves.
  • Many financial literacy education resources for youth are available online, but none of them captured our children's interest.
  • Since our job involves developing educational courses, we decided to utilize our expertise and create our own course with our children, which you are currently reading.

STORY 3: OUR FIRST HOME FINANCIAL LITERACY EDUCATION

How to start the conversation?
We've mentioned before that our job is to develop courses tailored to lifelong learning. In light of this, our daughter's precious desire led us to explore available programs for improving financial literacy. However, before diving into the task, a serious conversation with our children awaited us. Instead of a casual nod towards the couch after Monday dinner, we cautiously began a discussion indirectly introducing the desired topic. We tactically initiated by commenting on crazy price hikes and high costs, reluctantly following a strategy of gradually opening up the topic that we jointly prepared in the car on our way home from work.

Children are not as childish as we think
However, they saw through us, and how could they not when, until now, we had never discussed finances in front of them, and in our family, we always had open conversations about everything. That is, until the moment we saw a price of 600 euros displayed in a green rectangle on the mobile screen. Our daughter asked, "Is this for the sneakers?" and to our great relief, she interrupted the strategy that we didn't like from the beginning. In our work, we always strive to communicate clearly, logically, and openly about all topics. However, our parental feelings and the desire not to hurt them, especially knowing that we are to blame for this situation, led us to choose such an approach.

The most demanding students ever
We initiated an open conversation, explaining to them how important financial literacy is for their future, i.e., raising the level of financial knowledge that they will apply in everyday life, significantly easing their future. Their reaction embarrassed us. We realized how, in part, we actually don't know our own children and still perceive them as little unprotected kids. It's incredible how maturely they reacted and agreed that they need education, but also found it interesting that we would be the ones to lead it, as they've always been curious about how mom and dad do their jobs. As happy as we were, we were also anxious because, for the first time in our lives, we faced a challenge that involves so many emotions and probably the most demanding audience we will ever encounter.

We embraced the challenge
Over the next two months, we worked on creating a program that would teach our children about responsible and wise financial behavior in an interactive and engaging way, ensuring that we would still be their super mom and super dad. Yes, we must admit that this challenge was more than personal for us. However, we constructively directed our emotions towards creating a program that would practically introduce them to financial scenarios of real life. In addition to the interesting theoretical part, we started developing the practical aspect of the program to continuously monitor their financial behavior. We officially announced the completion of our home financial literacy course at the Sunday lunch, creating a schedule for the lectures together with the participants.

Theory at first
In the first few Sunday meetings, we covered basic financial concepts that their age group should consider, and we must admit (not just because they are our children) that they grasped the theoretical material excellently. However, then came the time for practice, and that's when the first obstacles arose (as always). Our years of experience in education and life lessons taught us that the theoretical part is always the easiest, and the real challenge comes when we have to translate acquired theoretical knowledge into practical action.

Practice is essential
To teach them practical skills effectively, we developed and sent them a budget spreadsheet designed for entering expenses. Before that, we had already filled in our expenses from the previous month. Once saved on their phones, we explained the parts of the spreadsheet, making an effort to bring all segments of personal budget closer to them. Even this part wasn't difficult, and they soon understood everything. Before they started the practical part of the task, we set a monthly amount for their pocket money and gave it to them in full, with a note that the next money would be received exactly a month later, and they wouldn't get a cent before that deadline. The problem arose in the following weeks when they had to continuously update the data in the spreadsheet, i.e., fill it with expenses that occurred in the meantime and allocate the money they had.

Keeping to agreements is important
However, they didn't do that. They forgot or sometimes felt lazy, and intentionally, we didn't remind or encourage them. Almost ten days before the deadline for the new pocket money, they started asking for money. We cannot describe in words how difficult it was to tell our own children that we wouldn't give them money because we had an agreement. Staying firm in your decision when you are looked at with the two most beloved pairs of eyes in the world, with such an innocent look that feels betrayed, makes you feel like the biggest villain in the world. The anger will pass, but the lesson and knowledge will be permanently engraved in their memory.

Lesson learned:
  • Children can quickly acquire knowledge.
  • Theory is one thing, and practice is a completely different story.
  • Consistency is crucial and leads to excellent results.
  • If you want your children to learn budget management, you must show them by example how to do it.

STORY 4: IT'S TIME FOR THE FIRST EXAM OF OUR EDUCATION

The sulking was short-lived
Participants in our home financial literacy education were sulking for about three days. However, what surprised us was that after our initial refusal, they no longer asked for money or tactically tried to play with our parental emotions to achieve their goal. They simply sulked, and it couldn't be directly reproached; we concluded this more from the tone of their voices and reduced hugging. Once we shook off the initial guilt, reason kicked in, reminding us that their future depends on our consistency, making their sulking even comical to us.

Don't overcomplicate things
The sulking stopped the moment we explained to them one evening how they would feel if we agreed on something and promised them, but didn't fulfill it. It was an argument at the preschool level, but with incredible power resting in its simplicity. Sometimes, we really don't need to complicate things but present them in the simplest way possible. After that, everything went back to normal; we even concluded that the hugs were more intense than ever before, or perhaps we convinced ourselves of that. The morning after the deadline, they welcomed us in the living room with smiles on their faces and outstretched hands.

Secret evaluation
Ten days after the end of the second month of our "home schooling," we decided to secretly check how the girls were doing. We were very proud because they lasted longer than the last time. The difference in our approach this month was solely that, unlike the previous one, we occasionally questioned our participants about their budget. It was amusing that both were extremely secretive when talking about their spreadsheet. However, at the end of the second month, we reminded them that this is a joint project and convinced them to show us how they were doing. We must admit that we were quite surprised.

Results surprised Us
Namely, the two of them had completely different approaches to spending, and what surprised us the most was that the younger daughter showed a more mature approach to spending than the older one. Despite the fact that the older daughter was aware of how much money she had monthly and would record her expenses, she would spend it rapidly and wouldn't ask for money by the end of the month. The younger one, on the other hand, diligently collected receipts, recorded expenses, and managed money throughout the month (she even had some left over).

Financial care lasts a lifetime
Regardless of the monthly outcome, we were proud of both of them because they took their task seriously and consistently recorded their expenses. The older daughter looked slightly embarrassed, while the younger one quietly celebrated. We clearly emphasized to both of them how proud we were of them and pointed out that the story was far from over because financial care is a systematic process we will face every month, so it is crucial to stay focused. These words transformed the enthusiasm of the younger daughter into moderation, and the disappointment of the older one into motivation to change things in the next month.

Lesson learned:
  • Each child's character is different, so it is necessary to find an additional approach to adapt and achieve optimal results.
  • Every child has a unique approach to spending and budgeting.
  • Despite the risk-taking approach of the older daughter, we succeeded because both took the task seriously and entered their expenses.
  • The diversity in the approach to budgeting and spending showed us how important systematic financial education is.
  • The outcomes after the second month of the home project inspired us to turn it into a course that will help every parent and teenager.

STORY 5: SECOND LESSON OF EDUCATION - LEARNING TO APPRECIATE WORK

Their first job
Emotions settled, and the girls received their pocket money for the new month. After explaining to our dearest participants of our home education how budget management works and that responsible financial care is an ongoing process, we decided to move to a new level. Taking advantage of the fact that our cleaner, due to the first lockdown in the pandemic, would no longer be able to come once a week to clean the apartment, we offered our daughters the opportunity to take over her job. So far, their cleaning tasks had been strictly limited to their rooms and, occasionally, washing dishes. Now, for the first time, they had the chance to earn money through their work.

Clear rules are half the job
Before making the offer, we made an effort to clearly list on a piece of paper all the tasks that their potential role would entail, so that there would be no potential dilemmas about unfinished work in the future. After that, we created and printed a calendar on another piece of paper, scheduling when each task should be done day by day. We left enough space for our new employees to write their names next to each task. Of course, we assigned an even number of tasks to ensure fair distribution, and to avoid disputes over job choices, we used a dice. In other words, there were 10 tasks on the list, and each person would roll the dice five times. After each roll, the winner would choose a job, and immediately afterward, the person who had less luck during the roll would make their choice.

Life is not always fair
The dice is not there by chance; it serves as a guide to show the girls that in life, there is a luck factor that will favor us tremendously at one point, while at another moment, it may seem like we chronically lack it. Unfortunately, sometimes life is not fair, and the girls simply have to become aware of it, but they don't have to accept it because each roll is a new opportunity. They also need to come to terms with the fact that, for most of their lives, there will be people evaluating the quality of their work. Therefore, we prepared a seal with which, in the case of correctly performed work, we would confirm that our participants completed what was assigned to them on the specified day.

The dice is cast
The girls were thrilled with the proposal, to the point that they asked us to increase the scope of work, so we had to explain to them that there is really no need to clean the bathroom every day. The most interesting part for them was when they were rolling the dice, and we genuinely can't remember the last time we laughed so intensely in such a short time. We tried as parents to remain neutral, but in a way, we felt relieved when the older daughter had more luck, especially considering the situation with the budget from the previous month.

First pay and smiles on faces
And so, the third month of our home finance education began, and our participants took the job seriously. Since we were in lockdown, their expenses had significantly decreased because they had nowhere to spend. Budgeting did not take up much of their time. Accordingly, we announced a reduction in their pocket money, justifying it with the current market situation. However, this didn't discourage them much, and they seriously tackled the cleaning job. We must admit that perhaps only a few times did we consider putting a seal on a job, and after warning them, the girls promptly corrected it. However, in the end, they proved to be serious and diligent workers. At the end of the month, we checked their almost empty budget spreadsheet, and after verification, we paid them their pocket money, their first "paycheck" ever. We won't even try to put that joy into words on their faces.

Lesson learned:
  • Rolling the dice introduced them to the luck factor and the fact that life is not always fair.
  • By doing household chores for money, the girls learned to appreciate effort and understand the value of a job well done.
  • Correcting them in situations of partially completed work taught them that they must give their best in every job.
  • The seal symbolically showed them that in work, there will almost always be someone evaluating their performance.
  • Working for a wage made them feel a little more "grown-up."

And that's how we decided
to
FinUp the world!

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Quick Intro


A quick intro to money management for teens and parents. It's also a quick introduction to the other resources. Start here and follow with the other resources later on. Each resource discusses the most important topics.

The Equivalence of
Value & Money

Explain to your teen that their income is a representation of the value they are providing with their time. It’s not a representation of their value as a human or a measure of their potential.

Working for Money

     
Our training is designed to provide the skills in a practical approach. Our students' success is our best asset in showing the quality of our training. You ca do it too!

Budgeting

A simple understanding of budgeting can be sufficient. Most households fail to create or stick to a budget. Even the simplest of budgets can be highly useful.

Debts

You already know how damaging debt can be. If not through your personal experience, you’ve seen friends with debt issues and the damage it can cause. Get this through to your teen.

Investing

It’s not necessary to teach your child about options, derivatives, or currency trading. The simple information is the information that matters the most. Teach your child the basics.

A few tips

While determining what you’d like to teach your child about personal finances, consider your own experiences. What caused your own money-related struggles?
Meet the founders

Miro and Carmen 
and their teens

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A few years ago, we saw our daughters wanting more and more costly things— $700 shoes, fancy bags, and tickets to popular concerts.  We understood they didn't know the value of money. Talking to them about how $700 is not an easy money to come by is very difficult...
It's not so easy to tell teenagers they can't get everything they want right away. Our girls are great, but they didn't know much about money... And found it "boring."
We knew we had to teach them about money in a fun and interesting way...  So we came up with "FinUP."
Using our 15 years of experience in education, we created a new way to teach them about money.  And it worked!
Our daughters started to watch their spending — plan how to save for the things they wanted. They began to understand the value of money. We were so proud and knew we had to share it with other parents facing the same issues. If you're like us, you want to give your child the tools they need to do well in life. And teaching them about money is very important.