Monday, 17 December 2012

Debt Tracking and Amortization - App Review

Back with an iPad app review of a free one called DebtPayoffL that allows someone to set up different debts (e.g. car, university), each with it's own amount owing and interest rate.  It then shows all the debts in a table with a row for each debt and a progress graph and payoff date shown.  Touching each row gives you the detail payment schedule.  There are also some Loan calculators you can use to do "what-if" amortization calculations.  Lots of good features with this one. The free version allows you to track two debts and if you upgrade to the full version you can track as many as you need.

This app would be a good tool to help teach students about debt, loans and amortization calculations.  It looks like you could use it outside the classroom as well to track real debts.  I'll do a demo video of this one soon and look at more of the features.

James Whelan,

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Funding post secondary education - Have you had the talk?

Did you check out the video in the last posting? Here's the link again in case you missed it:

I took this of my son before he started high school to test some questions we incorporated into surveys given to students prior to running a course.  I thought it would be interesting to see what his answers would be.

As part of these surveys, we ask students if they plan to take post secondary education and how they plan to pay for it. Some of the results are quite interesting. One set of the survey results had 10% of the class answering "don't know" to the "how you plan to pay" question. These were grade 11 students with only one more year of high school.  A bit worrisome.

Parents, have you talked to your kids about paying for  school?

I'd love to do a survey of kids and their parents using these same questions.  If any of you would be interested in getting us to do such a survey, please contact us.

James Whelan,

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Know your prices

When I was a kid and groceries weren't computerized with bar codes, the cashiers frequently made mistakes ringing up our purchases. I remember my parents checking off every item against the sales receipt. Things are a bit better now but still it's a good skill to teach kids to be aware of purchase prices.

Did they charge me the right price? What will be the price with tax? Did I get the right change? Did they do the foreign exchange correctly?

Here's an interesting and related item. There are many retailers in Canada that have adopted "The Scanner Price Accuracy Voluntary Code". One part of the code says "....where the scanned price of the product at checkout is higher than the price displayed in the store, the lower price will be honoured and ...if the correct price is $10 or less, the retailer will give the product to the customer free of charge or...higher than $10, the retailer will give a discount of $10 off the corrected price...". See for more details.

James Whelan,

Monday, 3 December 2012

Share financial adventures with kids

Something I recommend whether you're a parent, teacher or other adult interacting with children is to share your financial adventures or experiences. Whether your experience is good or bad (nobody will make good decisions always), it can be extremely valuable in learning about the financial world. Sometimes you think children aren't listening but you'd be surprised. Very often, especially parents feel finances, are a secret adult thing and are reluctant to share. Don't be.

Just the other day I was going to increase our family's Internet data plan... Internet being something near and dear to my kids. I shared my adventure in negotiating a new plan. Hopefully they learned a little about bargaining. Some other ideas - talk to them about how your mortgage works, how you use a credit card, look at utility bills together (e.g. Why does it vary so much month to month). Lots of possibilities to talk about.

James Whelan,