Author of ‘I’m Not Your ATM’ offers an engaging way to teach teens how to avoid money traps like debt
April 27, 2022
PEORIA, Ill. — One Samaritan Ministries International (Samaritan) member and her family are making the most of Financial Literacy Month by teaching parents how to discuss finances with their teenagers.
“Financial Literacy Month can prompt conversations in the home about personal saving, spending, budgets, giving, and use of credit,” says Anthony Hopp, vice president and chief purpose officer of Samaritan.
“Everything we have comes from God, so every person will ultimately give account to Him for our use of the resources He has put under our control, including our finances. Becoming financially literate so we can better use the money with which God blesses us is vital. Samaritan Ministries is a prime example of Christians utilizing our assets by saving money on health care so we can better use it for our families, our fellow believers, and others.”
The author of “I Am Not Your ATM: A Practical Plan for Teaching Your Teen to Manage Money,” Rachel Murphy and her husband, Keith, set out to spare teens and young couples from falling into “money traps” that can hinder personal relationships and limit their choices.
“Like Samaritan Ministries, Rachel Murphy’s common-sense approach to money management helps families, churches and the greater community,” said Hopp. “We encourage people to explore their best options and to stay out of debt. Saving money on health care allows Samaritan members to put it to better uses, such as serving the Kingdom.”
Credit card debt is often the source of young couples’ problems. In fact, Rachel and Keith had amassed $50,000 in debt in the early years of their marriage. They climbed out by following some basic rules about handling money, which they later passed on through a Facebook page, a podcast, and now Rachel’s book.
After their first of five children was born in 1997, Rachel read Mary Hunt’s book “Debt-Proof Your Kids” and took the advice to heart. Ten years later, she reread it, expanded the concepts for her own children and eventually incorporated the principles in her own book. Instead of simply telling kids about money, she includes them as active participants.
Rachel’s money plan for parents is:
- Decide what your goal is and write it out.
- Pick a spending category to start your teens on the plan, such as monthly snack money.
- Calculate what you’re already spending on the categories you’ve chosen to hand over to your teen.
- Determine the family guidelines.
- Introduce the plan to your kids.
- Help your kids set up a way to track their spending, whether through an app or on paper.
- Celebrate the fact that your teen is becoming financially responsible.
“Basically, you’re redirecting the money you are already spending on your teens and using it to teach them how to handle money,” Rachel says.
Keith and Rachel joined Samaritan Ministries 17 years ago because they loved the idea of Christians directly helping other Christians. Their children have also gotten to see how medical bills can be paid in community during that time.
“It’s so awesome to know exactly who your Share is helping,” says Rachel, whose family sends money each month to someone with a medical need. Their family has also been on the receiving end.
With five children, “We’ve had multiple Needs, and everything has always been met and met well,” Rachel says. “I can’t think of any problem we’ve ever had. We tell everyone about Samaritan.”
Despite numerous chances over the years to leave Samaritan for health insurance offered through different employers, Rachel and Keith have opted to stay with Samaritan.
“I love being in community with other believers and sharing their burdens and their celebrations,” Rachel says. “That’s something you will never get with insurance.”
Hopp commented, “It’s a great time to explore ways to educate not only teens but ourselves about the best ways to save money, such as Samaritan Ministries’ health care sharing.”
More about the Murphys can be found in the Member Spotlight in the April 2022 Samaritan Ministries newsletter.
Unlike health insurance where policy holders just pay premiums, Samaritan Ministries health care sharing is a direct, caring, personal experience.
Samaritan Ministries currently has a membership of 286,332 individuals from 85,067 households.
Samaritan has no limited enrollment period. Government exchange-based health insurance requires signups to occur only during open enrollment periods unless one qualifies for a special enrollment period due to a “life event,” such as losing coverage, getting married, moving, or having a baby.
Samaritan Ministries health care sharingoffers additional advantages:
- No network restrictions. When medical care is needed, Samaritan members choose the health care provider, hospital and pharmacy that work best for them.
- The direct-sharing approach allows members to not only help fellow believers with their medical financial needs but to pray for and connect with them on a regular basis.
- Monthly shares are hundreds of dollars less per month than traditional insurance.
Samaritan gives people of Biblical faith an effective, Bible-driven health care community in which approximately $30 million in medical needs is shared person to person every month. Over the past 27 years, Samaritan Ministries members have shared more than $3 billion in needs while also praying for and encouraging fellow members through personal notes, cards and letters.