A couple of popular topics around the personal finance blogosphere mention the importance of teaching your kids about money and how all schools need to have financial literacy as a mandatory part of their curriculum.
Growing up I never had an allowance, nor was I told to get earn some money, get a job or learn how to budget, save, invest for the future. To me, money seemed to be something my parents often had enough of and if they didn’t have enough of it for whatever reason, I certainly was kept in the dark.
My mom didn’t get into investing until she was in her 50s. After 6 months upon graduating university, I finally landed my first job. My mom urged me to read books on investing and learn how to invest. That was the last thing on my mind. My bank account was still in the red from my Europe trip and all I could think about was how to get it into the black. Little did I realize that investing was one of the many ways I could get it back into the black.
This was time a when personal finance blogs were very few and far between. The recession hadn’t hit and frugality/DIY was not a hot topic.
And when it did hit, boy did it ever HIT. Like a sucker punch combined with a hard blow to the stomach.
As much as the recession was considered a very difficult time (myself included) and put a lot of people out of jobs, it was also a wake-up call and dare I even say, a blessing in disguise. It made people re-think their priorities and their spending habits. It forced people to budget, tweak their budget and then tweak it some more.
It also helped trigger the explosion of personal finance blogs, investing blogs and more financial resources. There are now even free online games, apps, calculators for kids and teens to help them get off on the right financial foot. Visa created a financial knowledge quiz game with a Brazil World Cup theme called Financial Soccer. There are apps to calculate the cost of prom (that would have come in handy for my prom) and also apps to find out how much Tooth Fairy money is being left underneath the pillow.
If you as a parent are unsure how to talk to your kids about money, the internet is full of resources to help you. It’s a great way for parents and kids to learn together. While the idea of learning about finances through Monopoly or Scrabble may be a bit dated, the idea of playing online finance games together is a great way to get your kids engaged and interested about personal finance.
Two courses I wish I had taken in school were economics and accounting. I wish I was more interested in finances back then. As a kid I thought it was boring and not necessary for the future.
CLEARLY I WAS WRONG.
I’m not in the teaching profession, so I can’t tell you if financial literacy is an essential part of the curriculum nowadays, nor do I know whether or not it is an option to have it in place. Perhaps we need to make get rid of certain subjects or make certain subjects optional to make room for financial literacy.
Budgeting, saving, spending wisely and investing are all great skills that can be put to good use at an early age and perhaps help prevent them from obtaining mass amounts of consumer debt. It can also help them devise a plan to pay off their student debt quicker. I would hope that educators would realize how much value this subject has. As we all know, knowledge is power.
As G.I. Joe would say, “Now you know. And knowing is half the battle.” I would guess that the other half is applying that knowledge.
As a parent, are there any particular financial resources you use to teach your kids about finances? As a teacher, is personal finance taught as part of the curriculum?