There was an interesting post on the Houston Chronicle’s web site about the money management habits of the Amish. According to the story, Amish children all learn a trade such as farming, welding, or woodworking. Money earned through apprenticeships goes to their parents, who give the child 10 percent for spending and put the rest in a bank account. The account is then given back to the young person once he or she turns 21. Even Amish who work “traditional day jobs” usually continue practicing their trade, often selling handmade items in roadside stands. If they’re not home to manage the stand, payments are made on the honor system.
One Amish trait I especially admire is their focus on learning a craft. We would all do well to identify and cultivate the various “crafts” within our jobs. You might think of yourself as a middle manager, but within that job are numerous crafts such as project management, leading a team, and more. Becoming great at specific crafts can go a long way toward staying employable.
And what if all young people saved 90 percent of what they earned? While I believe generosity should be fostered by encouraging children to give away a portion of what they earn as well, even saving 80 percent would go a long way toward paying for college or saving for a down payment on a home when they’re older.