FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Mark Howard, Executive Editor
7/20/17 mhoward@floridatrend.com
727-892-2644

LAKELAND (July 20, 2017) – Allen & Company of Florida, Inc. was recently named one of Florida’s Best Companies To Work For.

The annual Best Companies list is featured in the August issue of Florida Trend magazine. One hundred companies are ranked in small, medium and large employer categories.

To participate, companies or government entities had to employ at least 15 workers in Florida and have been in operation at least one year. Companies that chose to participate underwent an evaluation of their workplace policies, practices, philosophy, systems and demographics. The process also included a survey to measure employee satisfaction. The combined scores determined the top companies and the final ranking.

“What’s clear from our list is that amenities like free lunch or a game room at the workplace are not the things that make a great workplace. Those amenities are just part of the way companies reflect their cultures — it’s the culture of the company and the company’s ability to hire people who understand and embody the culture that create a great workplace,” says Executive Editor Mark Howard.

“The best companies obviously provide strong pay and benefits to their employees, but they also offer fun diversions such as ice cream socials, holiday parties and field days,” says Florida Trend Publisher Andy Corty, “And these top companies encourage employees to participate in the organization’s overall success with training and open communications.”

The Best Companies To Work For In Florida program was created by Florida Trend and Best Companies Group and is endorsed by the HR Florida State Council. Best Companies Group managed the registration, survey and analysis and determined the final rankings. For a list of the 100 Best Companies To Work For In Florida, go to www.FloridaTrend.com/BestCompanies.

About Florida Trend
Florida Trend business magazine is read by 250,000 influential business executives, civic leaders and government officials each month. Its award-winning reporting covers business news, executives, key industry sectors, regional news and lifestyle. E-newsletters cover breaking news, movers and influencers, health care, education and small business. Floridatrend.com attracts over 100,000 unique viewers monthly.

About Best Companies Group
Best Companies Group works with partners worldwide to establish and manage “Best Places to Work,” “Best Companies” and “Best Employers” programs. Through its thorough workplace assessment, utilizing employer questionnaires and employee-satisfaction surveys, BCG identifies and recognizes companies that have been successful in creating and maintaining workplace excellence. For more information, visit www.BestCompaniesGroup.com.

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Last month we shared a game dealing with a SWEEPSTAKES scenario to help you understand the importance of communication when you want to make the best decision for all involved.  This concept applies to teaching kids how to work with others when it comes to money – a hard lesson usually learned as adults.  Here’s a way to share this lesson at home:

First, we want to pair or team up kids who are pretty close in age to each other, if possible (doesn’t work so well if you pair a 7 year old with a 14 year old).

BASIC RULES: The shared budget (for 2 kids) starts with a minimum of $10 every month. Each kid can spend up to half of the monthly budget in any given month. Any unspent portion of the monthly budget is doubled.

HOW IT WORKS: You can quickly see that if each kid spends their half ($5) for the month, the residual is $0, so the pot resets at $10. If each kid spends only $2 each, the residual will be $6. By our stated rules, the $6 doubles to $12 starting the next month.

WHAT WILL HAPPEN: First, the kids will realize that if one saves their $5 and the other spends their $5, the residual doubles to $10, meaning the kid who tried to save missed out on spending $5 that past month and doesn’t get ahead the next. Remember our game theory example with the sweepstakes? Here’s what this scenario looks like in the game format:

1) If Child A SPENDS and Child B SAVES, Child A gets to spend $5 this month and next month; Child B spends $0 this month and only has access to $5 next month.

2) If Child A SAVES and Child B SPENDS, Child A spends $0 this month and only has access to $5 next month, while Child B gets to spend $5 this month and next month.

3) If Child A SPENDS and Child B SPENDS, each child will only have $5 each month to spend. [Nash Equilibrium]

4) If Child A SAVES and Child B SAVES, each child will not have any money to spend this month. However, they’ll each have access to $10 next month. [global optimal solution]

WHAT THEY LEARN: If they communicate and work together, they can both choose to SAVE for 2 months straight. That would create a pot of $40 giving them each up to $20 spending cash. That’s a 25% increase over the amount they’d have to spend if they just spent their $5 each month. This scenario teaches communication and consideration of others (teamwork) AND delayed gratification through discipline. The parent can, of course, cap the doubling rule once the pot hits $40. Any of these numbers can be massaged to fit your situation. For example, if 3 kids are “sharing the budget” you can change the minimum to something like $12 or $15 (easily divisible by three).

This is only one example of teaching Relational Budgeting.  The point is to come up with some way to have your kids understand how important it is to hone the skill of communication when it comes to money as most will end up with spouses and families of their own.

With relational budgeting, our goal is to have our child or children develop the skill of working with another person relationally in order to make efficient and effective decisions with money.  The main concept is to help them understand the need to communicate and how that communication can lead to decisions that are optimal for all involved.

Why is this important? Simply put, before we partner up with someone as adults, almost all of our training and experience with money involves one person: ourselves. All decisions are easily greenlit and rationalized when there’s no one to offer resistance. The implied assumption is that it is all for our personal consumption. By the way, that is a pretty good definition of greed.

But what if we could address the issue in the child-rearing years? What if we found a way to have our kids consider and communicate with others when it comes to money?

This need for communication is actually pretty simple to illustrate…

THE SWEEPSTAKES GAME

Put two kids in separate rooms where they can’t see or hear each other.

Go to the first kid and tell them the following:

You are in a “Free Money” giveaway sweepstakes with a partner you cannot see or hear. You have the following options…choose TAKE or GIVE. Your unknown/unseen/unheard partner has the same options.

1) If you choose TAKE and your partner chooses GIVE, you get $1 million (partner gets $0).

2) If you choose GIVE and your partner chooses TAKE, you get $0 (partner gets $1 million).

3) If you choose TAKE and your partner chooses TAKE, you each get $500,000.

4) If you choose GIVE and your partner chooses GIVE, you each get $2 million.

So…what do you choose? TAKE or GIVE?

To make things a little easier, get a poster board and markers to illustrate the 4 scenarios listed above.

It should be immediately obvious that the best outcome for both participants is that they both GIVE. This is called the globally optimal solution. However, you have to remember that they can’t communicate and therefore do not know what the other will do. Each participant will naturally apply game theory. “If the other TAKES and I GIVE, I get nothing!” It is evident that both will independently come to the same conclusion to TAKE. This is called the Nash Equilibrium – the stable-state solution where a participant cannot be negatively impacted by the other’s unilateral move.

Layman’s terms? If you don’t communicate, you can’t make the best decision for all.

 

Make sure you check out next month’s post as we continue to look at Relational Budgeting.

Today we’ll take a look at understanding debt. This may sound like a bridge-too-far in having a child understand debt when so many of us get this wrong as adults. But what I believe you need to get across to them is quite simple: While debt is not always a bad thing, it requires you to borrow. And “when you borrow, you steal from tomorrow.”

I wrote it earlier and I will reiterate that debt leveraging can be a very useful strategy for both business and personal finance. The problem is that most individuals do not have the discipline to use debt leveraging wisely. I believe that the misuse of debt stems from the foundational concept through which someone first learns of the capacity and availability of debt instruments such as credit cards. Typically, the first encounter is through a marketing effort on behalf of the lender. This first lesson is usually the simple idea that “you can have it now even though you can’t afford it now.” Additionally, “you can pay a little every month rather than having to pay the full cost right now.” Hopefully, you have already recognized that this view perpetuated by marketers and lenders coupled with a lack of opportunity cost rationality blindly leads our unsuspecting young adults into the trap of I-didn’t-understand-debt-until-I-was-knee-deep-in-it.

When we can plant the downside or the cost of debt as the first reflex, we can empower our children and their future adult selves to forgo impulse and instead rationally consider the consequence of choosing debt. What we want is for our children to choose “I want” over “I owe” the vast majority of the time. Here is an example of how to plant such seeds:

My son was being rewarded for an outstanding achievement and we drove to Wal-Mart to get a toy. I told him he had a $15 limit. He made a beeline for the Legos and promptly picked up a $25 set. I told him that if we got that one he’d be in debt of $10 which happened to be his monthly allowance. We got the toy and I explained that his borrowing the $10 means he stole from his future $10 allowance. In the moment, it meant nothing to him. But by the time the newness of the toy rubbed off it was time for his allowance. I gave him his $10 dollars (placed it in his hand) and had him give it back to me to “settle his debt”. He was none too happy.

After a couple learn-it-the-hard-way situations and consistently repeating “when you borrow you steal from tomorrow” he began to understand the sting of owing money and grew an appreciation for delayed gratification. And that, my friends, is the gold ring! In a world of increasing desire for immediate gratification, delayed gratification is a tough sell.

Ultimately, our children need to realize that most of the time “I want” is better than “I owe”.

Much like opportunity cost, budgeting is another concept that comes up quite naturally during the day. The easiest example with kids is teaching them to budget their time. The easiest way is to backwards plan regarding leaving for a trip. Have them name all the little events and tasks that need to take place before you can leave: making the bed, changing clothes, eating breakfast, feeding the pets, brushing teeth, brushing hair, bringing a book or gadget, putting on shoes, etc. I will ask, “How long does it take you to put on your shoes? Correction: How long does it take you from the time I tell you to put on shoes to the time you actually do it?” Because, that’s two different values, right? We add up all the times and subtract it from the time we need to be in the car and on our way. This is essentially budgeting. Have the kids budget their time.

When it comes to including the condition of money, we have already heard of great tools out there like the Give, Save, Live piggy banks. This is a great and proven way to help a child understand budgeting. These banks emphasize in emphasize the importance of naming every dollar as soon as you get it. This teaches your kids the simple concept that “You have to know where your money is going”. Otherwise, it will leave and you won’t know where it went! And when you don’t know where it went, often you have overspent. Naming and knowing the destination of your money makes money your servant rather than the other way around.

For example, if my daughter receives $20 total from birthday cards (even if it’s given through gift cards), I’ll sit down with her and scratch on a piece of paper where each dollar may go. The 5 minute conversation ends with her saying she’d like to give $2, save $2 and spend $16. She has effectively planned or laid out a budget by naming every dollar and we did it very soon after receiving the money. These conversations go a long way to taking the mystery out of money for your children.  Next, we put this piece of paper into a folder and simply label it “BUDGET”.  You may even use Excel or Access or Quickbooks.  The lesson is quite simply the importance of writing it down.  AND you create a record that can be reviewed.  I believe it is equally important for my child to be able to tell me where there money went as it is to decide where it should go in the first place.

Planning is at the heart of creating breathing room: spending less than your income.