Friday, July 03, 2009

Educating kids on personal finance

If this economy has taught us anything, it’s that poor fiscal management -- at the corporate and personal level -- eventually catches up with you and can have broad-reaching repercussions. People at virtually every socioeconomic level are impacted by the current recession.

The embattled economy can serve as a teachable moment to today’s teenagers. That generation will one day run this country. Even if kids don't end up on Wall Street, the Silicon Valley, or Capitol Hill, we adults need to teach them the basics of good financial management. After all, we Main Street folks need to know how to handle our money, too.

If we start kids off in the right direction, it could deter them from making mistakes that will cost them big-time in adulthood. That’s where Teen Financial Literacy comes into play.

This new initiative, designed for teens aged 13 to 17, offers practical lessons on personal finance. The program is operated by Nouveau Riche, which is set to host new classes this month. Participating students will hear from experts and utilize cutting-edge technology to learn basic financial terms. Teens will also discover financial management tools and how to use them.
Students will also learn two very important lessons:

- how to live within your means
- how to build and maintain good credit

As a parent, I’ve tried to teach my children as much as I can, hoping that they can avoid slipping into bad habits that have long-term consequences. While I believe parents are their kids’ first teachers, I also believe that having these lessons reinforced outside the home really drives the message home. There’s also something to say for sharing interactive learning experiences with one’s peers.

Teen financial literacy is always relevant. My father educated me on the basics. As a good mom, I’ve wanted to do the same for my children. I’m hoping that when I retire, our economy will be strong and that the country’s fiscal future will be in good hands.

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