March 29, 2011

Real Wages Are Down

So we're off to a shaky start in 2011, with real wages down .5% last month. Actual wages remained the same, but thanks to inflation, higher consumer costs resulted in a decrease in real wages.

Two reminders here: wages are not increasing as they once were, and inflation is making it harder for people to stretch their dollars. This is why it's so important that we raise kids with money smarts. It's a life skill that's becoming more necessary all the time.

March 25, 2011

College Administrators Weigh In at Speech

Last week I spoke to a group of 75 parents up in Green Bay regarding Thriving in the 21st Century. My favorite part, as always, was talking with everyone afterwards.

The event was held at a tech college; one of the administrators there told me how they tailor the certificates they offer to the skills that local employers are looking for. She said she tried to get her children to look into obtaining those certificates, but they chose to go off to college instead and now she has three adult children back home with her again.

Another parent who happens to be a vice president of a nearby private college took issue with some of my comments regarding the need for college degrees in the new economy, but after a pleasant discussion we discovered that we're on the same page about many things. He even told me that he recently expelled two students for their own good, since they weren't doing well despite their best efforts. I told him I wish all college personnel had his ethics, because in researching my book I found that many college administrations pursue students without concern for whether they can do the work. It's all about the money.

BTW my book is now at the printers and should be out in early April. Look for excerpts to be posted here soon.

March 22, 2011

It's All About Jobs

The housing market has still not recovered. In fact, new home sales are at a 47-year low. Increasingly, the jobs situation is being blamed for the slow housing market. There are too many unemployed people; not only can they not buy houses, but their large numbers makes those who are employed afraid to buy houses, because they worry that they could be the next to lose their jobs.

This long stretch of unemployment is caused by more than just the poor economy. Many of the jobs have been lost to automation or off-shoring and aren't coming back. We can't tell our children to aim for a single career. They'll have to be versatile and self-reliant in order to support themselves.

March 18, 2011

Inspiration for Young Entrepreneurs

It's one thing to encourage our children to have an entrepreneurial mindset. It's another to get them fired up about it.

Here are interviews with 25 young entrepreneurs who have already experienced success. Each shares the details of the business they created. Have your teens read some of these interviews. They'll gain ideas and enthusiasm for starting their own businesses.

March 15, 2011

The Jobs Situation Continues to Change

One morning this week, I heard a radio news report announcing that the government announced there was an increase in new jobs last month. Just as I was thinking, "They'll adjust those numbers downward in a few weeks like they always do," I happened to see this online: "Announced U.S. Job Cuts Rose 20% From Year Ago, Challenger Says."

Our job situation in the U.S. is so tenuous these days, with jobs being created and disappearing at a faster pace than ever. It's not like the old days, where a person held a job for 40 years with one company and retired with a gold watch and a nice pension. Our kids will work in a much different world than their parents or grandparents did. And we need to prepare them for that reality.

March 11, 2011

A Young Man on the Right Track

Here's a great story about a young man who, in addition to his studies, has developed a popular website using modern technology. He's proactive and is pursuing a personal interest while gaining skills that will serve him well in the future. He uses social media to find the information he needs to be a good source of information for others. With the skills he's developing, he could eventually excel in several different areas. At 16, he's on his way to thriving in the 21st century.

March 8, 2011

Communication Skills Are Key

In Thriving in the 21st Century, I share a wide variety of resources for parents who want their children to be prepared for the 21st century world of work.

One excellent resource for teaching kids communications skills, which are so important, is Art of Eloquence. It offers speech and debate resources for all age groups. Check it out HERE.

March 2, 2011

Book Update

Thriving in the 21st Century: Preparing Our Children For The New Economic Reality is at the printer; we're awaiting the delivery of proof copies this week. The book will be out in April!

Newbies to this site may not know that I began investigating the changes in the economy several years ago, when my husband's manufacturing-related business began slowing down due to increasing competition in his industry from China. Once I realized how much the economy was changing, I began to study how to prepare our children for a very different world of work than the one my generation had known; my study led me to write this book.

Here's the back cover copy for Thriving in the 21st Century:

Today’s children will reach adulthood in an economic environment unlike anything the world has ever seen. The 21st century global economy is powered by an increasing rate of technological change as well as growing foreign competition; both are contributing to the high U.S. unemployment rate and stagnating American wages. How can we as parents prepare our children for success in this growing maelstrom that many are now calling “the new normal”?

In Thriving in the 21st Century, Barbara Frank demonstrates that we must move beyond the common wisdom of the 20th century that emphasized a college diploma and lifelong employment with a large company as the only way to success. Instead, we need to set our children on a new path, one that will help them not just survive, but thrive in the 21st century.

In this book, you’ll learn:

  • The Seven Strengths your child will need to prosper in the 21st century, why they’re needed and how you can develop them in your children
  • The most efficient (and increasingly popular) way to give your child those Seven Strengths
  • Why public education has failed to prepare our children for the 21st century
  • How we can help our children become the lifelong learners needed in a rapidly changing global economy
  • The surprising truth about today’s colleges and universities
  • How economic change is affecting a variety of career areas, and which of them are projected to grow dramatically in the coming years.

This book is packed with ideas and resources for raising our children to become adults who respond proactively when faced with economic challenges, and who can prosper during times of great change. We can help our children reach young adulthood ready and able to tackle the future with all its challenges. And that, of course, is the key: we must prepare our children for the future…not the past.

I'll share more information as it becomes available. Keep an eye on this site!