Local author helps teens learn how to handle their money

Patti Handy’s book, “Money Rules 101: Master Your Money Before it Masters You,” is aimed at teens and young adults. Courtesy photo

The mechanics of money are easy, according to the author of a new book for teens and young adults.

The “money mindset” is where things get complicated, said Patti Handy, a mortgage broker with American Family Funding and author of “Money Rules 101: Master Your Money Before it Masters You.”

This guide for parents and teens takes a close look at the roots and importance of a person’s attitude toward money. “For many people, that attitude comes from a place of fear,” said Handy, a Santa Clarita resident since 1987.

That fear has several drivers, said Handy, who grew up in Sherman Oaks and Northridge and holds an accounting degree from CSUN.

“Many parents just aren’t comfortable talking about money,” she said. “Some don’t want to share detailed financial information with their children. Many got burned in the financial meltdown that started in 2008 and feel unqualified to speak with any authority on financial topics.”

The result: parents who lack confidence and avoid the topic of money, and kids who don’t have a clue on why the topic even matters.

Handy’s book walks readers through the basics of personal financial management. This includes the difference between debit and credit, how to balance a checking account, the importance of saving money early and often, and the value of avoiding peer pressure to spend beyond one’s means.

Handy’s divorce when her now 21-year-old son was 18 months old is, and how she got through it, motivates her. She had a realtor’s license at the time and had learned sound financial skills from her own parents.

“I had a sense of peace that I could function and make my way,” she said.

She hopes to help the next generation gain similar confidence in themselves and their own financial acumen. This will help them weather their own storms, and in better times allow them to give back to others with time and charitable giving.

Handy has worked with at-risk young adults in the 18-24 age range as part of a program organized by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. “They were thirsty for this knowledge. One said he was tired of waking up hungry. Another wanted to prove her parents wrong when they told her she’d never make anything of herself.”

For children of wealthier families, she offers cautionary tales of athletes and performers who manage to amass and squander vast fortunes.

Handy is holding a book-signing event at American Family Funding’s offices on Constellation Road on Thursday, May 11 from 5-7 p.m. The first fifty attendees will receive a free signed copy of the book.

She also is conducting a free workshop, “Millionaire in the Making,” on May 18 from 4-5 p.m. at the Newhall Branch of the Santa Clarita Public Library.

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