Boldly changing the rules for Scrabble & money

The kids were quiet for 30 minutes, so naturally, I was suspicious. When I found them playing with our old Scrabble board, I was pleased. And then puzzled.

While there were a few recognizable words like “save” and “fat,” the rest of the board looked like alphabet soup. When I told them that “ryahoo” wasn’t really worth any points, they disagreed. Apparently, there were some new rules in play.

I didn’t stick around to see who won the game, but I give them both credit for changing things up a bit. After all, the old rules didn’t really work for my elementary school children. Kind of like the old financial rules don’t really work for, well, anyone anymore.

Taking the lead from my rule-changing children, here are a few old financial “rules” and my suggested updates.

Old rule: If you qualify for a loan, you must be able to afford it.
New rule: Don’t let someone else determine if you can afford a loan. You are the one responsible for making the payments, so you should decide if the terms are affordable.

Old rule: Homeownership is the American Dream.
New rule: The American Dream should be to live comfortably within your means. If that means homeownership, great. But don’t just buy a house because you are “supposed to.”

Old rule: Some assets always appreciate.
New rule: Some assets have a history of appreciating if you can wait long enough. Before you invest in a “sure thing,” think about the amount of time you have before you’ll need the money. You should have separate short-term emergency funds available so you aren’t forced to tap long-term investments when they’re low.

Old rule: Credit cards work as an extension of income.
New rule: Credit is a tool of convenience. Credit should only used wisely and always with a plan for payoff. Credit card interest should not be considered an acceptable part of your monthly budget.

Old rule: The country needs consumers to spend.
New rule: Paying close attention to your personal economy is good for you and the country. Consumer spending fuels the economy, but it doesn’t help anyone if you overspend.

Old rule: Keeping up with the Joneses is the cool thing to do.
New rule: Ignore the Joneses; they are probably in debt up to their eyeballs.

Are you a financial rule breaker/rule maker? If share your updated rules through the comments section, we might actually have a chance at winning the game this time.

We are so exicted to one of the sponsors for the upcoming Mom 2.0 Summit in Houston. In honor of the event, this week's Blogging For Change posts will be by moms and for moms (& dads too)!


Kim McGrigg is the former Manager of Community and Media Relations for MMI.

  • The Consumer Federation of America (CFA) is an association of nonprofit consumer organizations that was established in 1968 to advance the consumer interest through research, advocacy, and education. Today, nearly 300 of these groups participate in the federation and govern it through their representatives on the organization's Board of Directors.

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