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Money Smart. Money Information, Money Education


Thanks for expressing an interest in maintaining, organizing, and educating yourself, and your family, about your personal finances!

What's been going on...

Sovereign Bank, Senator John F. Kerry, and Partners Launch Massachusetts Small Business Supplier Diversity Initiative

The announcement was made during a roundtable discussion in Boston with a group of Massachusetts based women and minority business leaders. Jameel Webb-Davis of Start Money Smart was asked to sit on the panel and participated in the discussion. U.S. Senator John Kerry, Chairman of the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, attended and participated in the discussion. Read the article...

StartMoneySmart has submitted the idea to get financial literacy in schools.

Introducing The Members ProjectSM, an exciting new initiative that brings American Express® Cardmembers together to do something good for our world. Join Cardmembers to dream up, and ultimately unite behind, one incredible idea. Start Money Smart submitted the idea of making it mandatory in our school's curriculum to teach personal finance. On August 7, American Express will fund the winning idea with up to $5 million. The possibilities are endless. The decision is yours. Visit membersproject.com.

American Express Members Project

What's coming up...

The Center for Women and Enterprise has asked Jameel Webb-Davis to be an instructor for this summer's Wi$e Up Finance Workshop. This combination of workshops, self-study and on-line modules will give teenagers the knowledge and tools so that they can make smart money choices. Learn more about the Wi$e Up Program.

Rediscovery, Inc. has asked Jameel Webb-Davis to be a guest instructor for a financial literacy program. Rediscovery, Inc. is a small nonprofit, community based, group home and independent living program that offers services to youth of ages 16-22 who are in the care/custody of one of the Massachusetts state systems of care. Their Financial Literacy program is a series of one to two hour workshops each of which covers a different aspect of personal finance that is pertinent to youth development. Learn more about Rediscovery, Inc. and its programs.

See what's new on the website!

  • Review other organizations with financial literacy information, tools for parents, and articles to review. Check out our new Resources link.
  • Our Blog is coming soon - all your seminar questions answered!
  • Check out the new Flash Intro! Click here!

Quick Links...

Why should your kids sign up for Start Money Smart?

Watch the video!

When: June 21st - 22nd or June 25th - 29th

Where: #2 Militia Drive, Lexington (next to Grace Chapel)

What: For Teenagers (ages 13 - 18)

  • Money Myths & More
  • All About Checking Accounts
  • All About Paychecks
  • Be Smart About Credit Cards
  • Paying Bills is NOT Common Sense

Buy tickets online!

"Don't spend what you don't have" - is it really that simple?

I was reading comments posted on a message board about whether financial literacy needed to be taught in our schools. One of the comments regarding debt was, "Just teach people that they shouldn't spend what they don't have." That person went on to say, "It's not brain surgery, is it?"

In today's society there's an underlying belief that people who get themselves into debt are either too lazy, too dumb, or too spoiled to understand how to stay out of debt. I believe many people are under the impression managing debt is really as simple as "don't spend what you don't have."

Do you know what you have? Many of my clients have no idea how much money they have. There's more to it than just looking at your annual salary. In fact, your income really tells you nothing about what you have. You have to look at your expenses. And many people don't take out the time to calculate their expenses. We should all realize, it's not what you make, it's what you owe. Two people that both make $60K a year can have very different lifestyles based on their expenses.

Buy now, make no payments for... Our whole culture is designed to encourage people to spend money you don't have. Do you think the average American is going to wait until they have the money to buy a new washer and dryer when the old one breaks down? How many people can be convinced to wash their clothes in the sink until they've saved up enough to by a new washer? "Buy now, and make no payments, pay no interest for 12 months!"

Debt doesn't ruin lives, not managing debt does. This point may be arguable, but I firmly believe it. Being in debt is not causing all the problems with debt in our society. It's the inability to manage debt that ruins many people. Now, I can believe that this statement can't be applied across the board. There are many people out there, that don't have sufficient income to pay their bills. But I'll argue that even more go shopping when the stack of bills arrive because they can't deal with the stress. Or people who can't resist a new pair of shoes or paying the tab on Guy's Night Out, even though they know they can't afford it. Just one month of ignoring bills can rack up a huge amount in late fees and interest that could have helped people get out of debt. I've learned that stress, denial, and vanity keep people from managing their debt much more than lack of money.

Start Money Smart has classes for adults, parents, and teenagers that address these and other myths regarding money. Check out our website for more information.

Next month...

Why isn't personal finance taught in schools?