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Personal Management Requirement 2

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  • Personal Management Requirement 2

    Do the following: a. Prepare a budget reflecting your expected income (allowance, gifts, wages), expenses, and savings. Track your actual income, expenses, and savings for 13 consecutive weeks. (You may use the forms provided in this pamphlet, devise your own, or use a computer generated version.) When complete, present the results to your merit badge counselor. b. Compare expected income with expected expenses. 1. If expenses exceed income, determine steps to balance your budget. 2. If income exceeds expenses, state how you would use the excess money (new goal, savings).

    Question -- would you consider the requirement met if a Scout provides a copy of his debit card statements for three months? Or a report from an I-Phone app which automatically receives and records debit card transactions? Or is part of the requirement to actually individually record income and expenses for 13 weeks? Or in other words, what does "track" mean?

    Yes, I know interpretation is up to the counselor, but the counselor is asking me.

  • #2
    For me it would depend on how the scout presented it.


    • #3
      As long as it was the BSA sponsored Discover Debit Card... But really, I think if he could explain the statement to me I'd probably be good with it. Getting the data on paper is just data entry. Now, he might have to explain any cash that showed up for graduation, birthdays, etc. that might have happened along the way that isn't on his card.
      Last edited by dcsimmons; 06-10-2013, 03:44 PM. Reason: additional thought.


      • #4
        He presented it by saying "here are the reports I printed from my I-Phone app which automatically track my deposits and expenses."

        But you don't feel part of the requirement is the effort and discipline of tracking manually tracking your money over 90 days? What's the difference between "my I-Phone does it automatically" and "my mommy does it for me"? I disagree, DC, that this is just data entry -- it's observation and data collection. Having to think about, remember and record your expenses at the end of the day is a much different vibe that just scanning a web report and hitting print.

        Or for Personal Fitness how about a p 12-week fitness program of getting plenty of rest, drinking 8 glasses of water a day and thinking fit thoughts?

        Is effort no longer a part of the program or is coming up with creative, easy means of completing the requirement all we're looking for?

        This approach moves Personal Management from being one of the tougher MBs which requires real effort to earn to being on a par with Citizenship in the Nation. Just read the pamphlet and spit the info back to the counselor.
        Last edited by Twocubdad; 06-10-2013, 04:41 PM.


        • #5
          Did it include his budget? Was each expense explained? Did you ask about any unusual patterns?

          For example, when son #1 went over this with his MBC, she noticed that his spending dropped off after a particular week. He couldn't quite figure it out until he realized that was the week his girlfriend dumped him! Life lesson learned.

          So it's not about the data entry, it's about if the boy gave you enough for the two of you to be insightful about managing his money.


          • #6
            Well, that's part of my point. I rather doubt many folks, teenage boys especially, have the analytical ability to look at three months of cold data and see those trends. I think you get more out of the process if you are "living with" the numbers on something close to a daily basis. Of course you can make the opposite argument too.

            But more than anything, I think it's just too easy. Another case where we've abandoned the process and experience in favor of expedient results.


            • #7
              If he slide it a crossed the table to me and said here....


              But if he sat down and said......

              Here is my allowance deposits, here is where I deposited my lawn mowing money birthday money......I doubt his total finances are on that card.....I was saving for the new video game or ipod and here is where I bought it....Here is where I paid for the cmp out.

              He probably doesn't have monthly expenses.....

              Q thats funny


              • Khaliela
                Khaliela commented
                Editing a comment
                Depending on the age of the Scout he may have monthly expenses. My oldest child is expected to pay his car insurance. Both boys are required to pay for their phones.

                Is the boy tithing or giving any money to charity? That would be another monthly expense.

                Do they have pets? 4-H is supper great for teaching kids about expenses as they are required to track all of the income and expenses from their projects. How much feed did they buy? Were their any unexpected vet bills? Did you sell any market lambs or Easter bunnies?

            • #8
              The issue here is the nature of the requirement: "a. Prepare a budget reflecting your expected income, expenses, and savings." That is forethought/forecasting/budgeting. The log then compares his budget (expectations) with reality--thus the two-part nature of the requirement in its use of the words "budget" and "actual." If he only presented a log/statements, then he didn't do any budgeting. The point is instilling financial responsibility--looking at his statement once a month and saying "gee, I'm out of money" or "golly, I've got $500" isn't budgeting.


              • #9
                Does his iphone software allow him to characterize his expenses, or is it just a list of his transactions? If he's able to characterize his transactions with his iphone to income/expenditures analogous to his budget, I consider that tracking. If it's just a list of transactions from his bank statement, then yes I'd say he has more work to do. Including tracking any cash outside of his bank account.


                • koolaidman
                  koolaidman commented
                  Editing a comment
                  To further clarify, his budget should list sources and uses of his cash.
                  sources: allowance, wages, birthday money etc
                  uses: food, dates, clothing, iTunes, phone bill

                  If he can compare his actual transactions along the same lines, I'm good with it. But honestly it is much better to have the budget and actual transaction totals side by side. That's when the light bulb turns on.

              • #10
                No..they did not do any of the Work.
                Would you allow a Scout to bring in a Report prepared by their Parent or an Accountant?
                The Requirement implies doing the work themselves.


                • #11
                  As a Personal Management MB Counselor I would reject it. (And have rejected it for Scouts who show up to our first meeting and say here's my 90 day record, sign me off.)

                  Item #1 is to PREPARE A BUDGET.

                  The whole point of the MB is to teach them financial responsibility. Simply showing how you spent the money has nothing to do with planning, budgeting, or resisting impulse purchases. The boy needs to prepare his budget BEFORE he starts spending and tracking his money that way he has a better understanding of when, where, why, and how he spent it. It also gives opportunity to talk about realistic expectations for his budget. After 30 days he can look back and say, "That didn't end the way I planned at all!" It gives him time to adjust his budget for the next month and see if he can do better. I expect boys to meet with me every two weeks and bring their expense records with them to every meeting. That way the boy is more likely to stay on track as that 90 budget can be a nuisance. The job of the MB counselor is not to sign off "complete" it's to make sure the boy learned the information in those nifty pamphlets.


                  • qwazse
                    qwazse commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Agreed. We had a boy fall short of Eagle for skimping precisely on this sort of thing. It was really hard on the MBC, who was close to him and really wanted him to make it. The rest of us (including the youth) agreed that this reflected a pattern of trying to jump hoops as opposed to reflecting on the experience. It just so happened that the badges with the daily tracking requirements are often where all the corner cutting comes to a head.