Financial Education for Kids Thought for the Day: Start as Early as Possible

I am reviewing some of the incredibly useful youth financial literacy research as I prepare my Foundation FOCUS Summit talk next week.

Take a gander at this poignant passage from “The Effectiveness of Youth Financial Education: A Review of the Literature”  by Martha Henn McCormick, Research Coordinator, Networks Financial Institute.

“Why is it necessary to bring financial education to children and youth? In addition to the struggles their families face, which are likely to persist into their own adulthood, advertising heavily targets and influences children. Children are in stores and retail venues an average of two to three times weekly, exceeding in a standard week the time dedicated to reading, church attendance, youth group and household activities, and outdoor play. And children, especially the majority who do not go directly on to post secondary education, are quickly faced with adult financial tasks and responsibilities.” Starting early can help your child’s self-control and help mitigate internal and external distractions.

-Martha Henn McCormick

We read to our kids before they can understand our babble, and we even have them hit the soccer pitch before they hit grade school. But too many of us aren’t addressing the fact that others, not us, are teaching our kids their first financial lesson: Money is to be spent, and now!

Without equally powerful messages that there is so much more to money than spending, we run a huge risk of losing our kids to a consumer culture that is designed to consume them.

So why are so many folks waiting to start teaching their kids about money smarts when starting early also likely means that they can solidify a foundation of basic money smarts that is so important?

That’s a good question and one of the issues that I’ll be addressing at the FOCUS Summit. Starting financial education for kids early with an allowance is a great way to give kids experience with money, and research suggests that experience may be more important than education.

I’m so grateful to have access to such terrific information highlighting what I believe to be one of the most important issues of our time: to raise a generation of money-smart kids.

The process begins with each one of us recognizing the importance of this mission.