A Family Affair Part II

In part I of this series I’ve decided to call “A Family Affair,” we got introduced to Ariana Miramontes, a brilliant ten-year-old girl who runs her business using the basic money management principles that many adults do not even comprehend. Her passion was ignited after watching an episode of Girl’s Scout on television and part one of the story can be found here

So Ari’s budget is the first step. She has to prepare a budget that serves as a plan before proceeding to make a marketing plan and pulling all the stops. The marketing plan includes the number of people she will need, the time needed to reach her goal (this includes the weekends), the number of selling posts she has to work on and adjusts depending on each day’s accomplishments. Amparo shared with me “the first two years were about getting accustomed to hearing no.” That’s when Ari’s people skills became a part of the process in recruiting sales support, objection handling from potential customers, and developing repeat customers

The business ethics comes in the form of her sacrifice of the weekend time in missing out on activities such as parties, outings, other family member events, rain, or shine to reach her goals. Amparo said, “I tried to bribe her once in hopes of loosening the schedule.” What did Ariana do? “She recruited her aunt to fill the gap,” according to Amparo. 

Each badge on the vests represents what she has learned, accomplished, and experienced thus far. Ari is a very balanced girl. She carefully weighs her choices. For example, during cookie sale season, Ariana knows her schedule will be completely booked, so she discusses plans and budgets with her parents about the activities she wants to do during the non-sales season. She’s been on several excursions, sleep away camp, and even a week at horse camp. Ari knows the cost, how she contributes to offset the cost and how much she” proposes” her parents to contribute. 

Ari is big on proposals and when necessary, literally dresses the part when delivering presentations. She will use PowerPoint, initial budget projects, notebooks with detailed information in the event she must reference them during her “pitch.”

Ariana also positively influences her brother Lucas Orion. He experiences firsthand and her vision of being an entrepreneur and business savvy. He is so impressed with what Ari has accomplished; he wants to follow in her footsteps in becoming a girl scout. Not sure how he’ll accomplish that goal. If left up to Ari, I’m convinced she will demonstrate her leadership skills and come up with a strategy so that he could reach his goal. 

She also understands the value of the real estate. Kevin, her dad built a treehouse from reclaimed wood and painted it with leftover paint. There were still some hard costs for hinges, nails, and other components. Since this was going to be Ariana and LucasOrion’s property, Kevin & Amparo told Ari she would have to put in the money to cover those costs. LucasOrion was about 2 years old at the time. Ariana held the title as sole proprietor until LucasOrion paid Ari for his portion. She gladly included him when he reimbursed Ari. They both are now proud joint owners of a great treehouse. 

In 2018, Ari applied her acquired skill set to start a club at school, the Bubble Gum Bombers. She came up with the idea after writing a paper for the school on the ineffectiveness of a 10 minutes recess. She told her parents she was starting a club, and they supported her fully. The Bubble Gum Bombers is a gymnastics focused club. The objective was to perform a gymnastics showcase for a modest fee, during recess. Ariana designed a website, recruited the initial team, and even started building a membership base. Amparo shares, “she had taken Rolodex and was compiling a list of potential sponsors.” One day, Amparo & Kevin get a phone call from the principal of the school. The club had been initiated without the school’s approval. When confronted by Amparo & Kevin, Ari began her defense in support of the club, pulled out her marketing plan, and explained her strategy. Ari was devastated as she had already booked her first “showcase.” Here’s the kicker, Ari is not a gymnast. Only one child in her crew has gymnast training, but that didn’t stop her from planning, creating, and implementing a recess plan she felt was better suited for her schoolmates. 

so, what’s next for Ariana Miramontes? She is going to produce a short sci-fi film. As an initial title, she has chosen “Looking Within.” sounds intriguing, doesn’t it? The script is written, has an initial budget projection, and a marketing plan. She’s even identified her cast and crew. Of course, she will be the main character. Ari is still figuring out how she will tap and act simultaneously. I’m confident by the time she’s ready to begin taping, she will have figured that out. 

Ariana’s journey, while very new, is full of hope. She has gotten a great start and super support. You might be thinking, I don’t have that kind of time to invest in a lifelong program. There are options. For example, Freddie Mac has The Credit Smart 12 module program. It is available online and free. While it is geared towards first-time homeownership, there is great general information on multiple aspects of planning. There are lesson plans and step-by-step instructions written in easy to understand terms. It includes examples so you will be able to explain them to your children. 

Your local bank and credit union are resources. Most major banks have a program geared towards children. They are written to help you explain different aspects of banking and finance. Some even have modified board games to help children develop knowledge based on banking and finance. You can show your children a different component of banking when they accompany you to the bank. For example, how to correctly use the ATM, the difference between a cashier’s check, money order, and a check from your checking account. Plus keeping accurate records of transactions. Another teachable moment is when you are paying your bills. Doesn’t matter if you pay online or write a check. Sit down with your kids and show them how to make checkbook entries and balance the account. 

Have you ever considered the planning that goes into food shopping? Beyond the list, a budget is set, maybe clip coupons and stay within the pre-set budget. Have your children keep the tally as you place the items into the shopping cart. This is also a great way to keep them from asking for things that may not be on your shopping list. 

Finally, when your child asks for a large ticket item, such as a cellphone, laptop, video game console or an amusement park adventure, come up with ways on how they can contribute to offset the cost. This way, they will learn the value of their contribution, the budget and develop an appreciation for what it takes to be financially responsible. The responsibility of raising children is enormous. There are so many things to plan, educate, train, and help them experience so they can be prepared for adulthood. Children are sponges eager to learn. And truth be told, they surprise us every day with how they deduct and come to their form of assessments. No matter if we are a parent, grandparent, aunt, or uncle, teaching our little ones about finances can be fun and a skillset that will last a lifetime.