The Chinese Pennies
Tsao Seal
An overview
Thanks for allowing your child to participate in our Chinese Pennies educational program. The Chinese Pennies principle creates a structure for Giving, Saving, Investing, and Spending. It's not rocket science. It's just the common sense most of our grandparents had.
The Chinese Pennies program is very simple, straightforward, and, as with anything educational, will be most effective with parental guidance and encouragement.
What is the point of giving away pennies?
It is my hope that all the participating children will learn all of the following lessons which will be with them and guide them the rest of their lives.
There are, of course, many other lessons which may be learned as a result of Chinese Pennies. However, the main ones are listed below. I encourage you and your child to share your experiences with us. Your feedback will encourage others to participate, or perhaps create a Chinese Pennies program in their own communities.
1. Giving. It is well known that people who never learn to give selflessly are missing a part of life which is one of the most pleasurable experiences a human being can experience.If a child is taught to give beginning at a young age, this habit of generosity usually stays with him/her for life.
2. Saving. One of the most important things a child can learn is how to save money. Americans today have a dreadfully-low average savings rate, dramatically lower than that of previous generations. One reason for this is because many children were never taught how to save. Even something as simple as how much to save.
3. Investing. With personal savings rates being at historic lows, investment for one's heirs has suffered as well, if not moreso. Too many people live for the "now" rather than planning for their future generations. By investing ten percent of one's income for the benefit of one's descendants, the future can literally be changed.
4. Thrift. While thriftiness is not generally a popular concept, and is often ridiculed by popular culture, one's friends, and sometimes even family members, it is one of the most important foundations of building financial security and wealth. Learning to live on 70% or less of one's income will ensure that spending will always be wise and debt never incurred.
How it works
All local children from birth through their 14th year are eligible and encouraged to participate in the Chinese Pennies program.

Each child must sign up in person at Imaginary Colours, 1316 19th St. Belleville, Kansas. We keep a list of participants names so that we can have pennies available for each child every day. Each stack of pennies will have a child's name on it. It is each child's responsibility to pick up his or her pennies personally every day. If the pennies are not picked up one day, they are lost for that day only. There will be another stack the next business day, but never more than ten pennies per child on any given day.

Another person, even a parent or friend, may not pick up the pennies for another person. Only the child whose name is on them may pick them up. This holds true even in the case of illness or other unfortunate circumstance.

By design, this is an honor-system program. We will not be checking identification or really even watching the stacks of pennies to be certain a child takes only one stack. It is the responsibility of the parents to guide their children and make sure they aren't taking more than one stack.

For example, if someone should take two stacks of pennies, that means one child will be shorted. We are not responsible if this happens. It is our hope that this never happens, but if it does, we hope that the theif realizes that he or she denied another child his/her share for the day, and will come clean to his parents, to me, and to the victim. It is also my hope that the theif's parents take appropriate punitive action.

Being that this program was created with simple rules but which incorporate a high level of personal responsibility and integrity, we reserve the right to suspend or expell any child who, in my opinion, proves him/herself to be undeserving.

Examples of how to be removed from the program include, but are not limited to, theft, disrespectfulness, criminal activity, lying, drinking alcohol, taking drugs, and other behaviors generally considered to be socially unacceptable.

If we are unable to prepare the pennies for some reason (out of town, etc.) we may or may not make up the difference.

Although we hope this program continues infinitely, we do not guarantee that this program will be in operation for any specified length of time, and we may end it at any time for any reason.
Terms and Conditions
As a parent or guardian of a participating child or children, you agree to follow our rules and guidelines, and encourage proper understanding and use by your participating child or children.

You also agree that the intent of this program is to educate the children, and should not be construed as Welfare or a giveaway of any kind whatsoever. As such, the pennies belong to the children, and not to their parents. It is the parents job to help their children learn the lessons offered by the Chinese Pennies program.

Though registration is required, there is no registration fee, and the only obligations are based on the honor system.

You or your child are responsible for any taxes. You agree that we are not tax experts and don't know how this may affect your taxes, if at all.

You agree that we may end this program at any time for any reason. We are not required and do not promise to give away any specific minimum sum of money. We do not promise to continue this program for any specific length of time.

You understand and agree that the point of the Chinese Pennies program is to give pennies to the children local to Belleville, Kansas, USA for the purpose of teaching valuable life lessons. We cannot and do not guarantee that your child will learn anything. Nor do we guarantee your child will receive his or her pennies each day.  If they are lost, stolen or forgotten, we will not replace them..

You agree that there is an age limitation to participation. Your child may participate from day of birth until the day before his or her 15th birthday.

We agree not to exclude any child because of race, religion, political affiliation, etc.

However, we reserve the right to suspend or expel any person if he or she: abuses the intent of the program; steals any pennies, merchandise or anything else; lies to me or my employees; becomes involved in any criminal activity; joins a gang; drinks alcohol, takes illicit drugs, or behaves in any way generally considered to be socially unacceptable.

You agree that the Chinese Pennies program is simply a benevolent gift to the community, and shall not be abused. It is not a perfect program and has no warranty, express or implied. Therefore, you also agree not to sue us for any reason related to the Chinese Pennies program or its intentions.

You understand that the Chinese Pennies program is not a tax-exempt charity at this time, but it may become one in the future. At its inception, however, it is simply an effort by a businessman to give something of lasting value to the children and citizens of Belleville and Republic County, Kansas.

These terms and conditions may change from time to time without notice. You should check them occasionally for updates.

As a parent or guardian of a participating child or children, you agree that you have read, understand, and agree to these conditions and will abide by the rules and help your child abide by them as well.

How you can improve the program
For the Chinese Pennies program to have its maximum effect, your involvement as a parent is of the utmost importance.

First of all, remember that your kids are inexperienced in handling money, but are bombarded daily with hundreds of advertisements and opportunities to spend their money. Without good guidance, a child will grow up with no self-control. No sense of saving, investing, or making wise purchases, including the very important ability to deny him/herself material pleasures when they can't truly be afforded.

As the parent of a participant, talk with your child about their ten pennies. Besides the obvious lessons of Giving, Saving, Investing, and Thrift, talk about what your child did with his or her pennies. Find out and document what he/she spent them on. Did your six-year-old son save up his daily seven cents until he had the money to buy an ice cream cone at Dairy Queen? Did your nine-year-old daughter save her pennies to give to a missionary in Africa?

After a few years, it would be interesting to see how your child's goals have changed. Maybe that ice cream cone goal has become a car. Or the African mission donation has changed to the local food bank.

Be sure to share with others what your children do with their pennies and what they (and you) are learning in the process. Send us email updates and we will add them to the website so that others may be encouraged by what is happening here in Belleville, Kansas.

So please help your children learn these valuable lessons. And if you are one who has never been taught good money management skills and struggles with money, remember that  you are not alone. This will be the perfect opportunity to learn the skills you are lacking while teaching your child how to avoid the struggles you now face. There is lots of information on the internet and the library. Be sure to talk to people who are known to be good money managers for their advice and check our Links page for other recommendations.

Make the time each day to teach your child while you yourself learn. This can be a very fulfilling time for you, your spouse, and your child which you will all remember for a lifetime.
Our privacy policy
We will not share your personal information with anyone. In the registration process, we only require your child's name and birthdate. This is so we know how many stacks of pennies to prepare on any given day, and so we know when he or she has reached his or her 15th birthday (thus ending the program for that child).


Copyright 2008 G. Tom Tsao,

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