By: Chuck Kuster
Financial education is more about parenting than it is about high finance.
At the Money Smart Investor Conference in Des Moines, I sat down next to a woman in her early 30’s. About 160 people show up annually for the free event sponsored by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
This woman stood out because she was among a smattering of younger people in the crowd. Since sunny Saturday mornings find young moms busy with kids’ activities, I was curious about her motivation to come to an investor conference.
“My daughter came home from school and asked what stocks we own.” Her daughter’s class was studying the stock market, she explained.
The mom admitted she owned no stocks. “I realized we needed to get up to speed on investing fast. I’m hoping to pick up some ideas here.” She added that her parents never spoke of money or investing at all.
“That’s why I’m here. I don’t want my daughter to be left out,” she said.
I suspect many young parents share this mother’s predicament. Their intuition tells them they should be teaching their kids money skills and values but don’t feel equipped to do so. Many lack the knowledge and confidence.
Hats off to this mother for taking the first step.
Financial Education Is More about Parenting Than High Finance
Parents, you can do this. Any parent who manages a household has the ability to teach a child about saving, spending and sharing. You can learn along with the kids. Your role is more about parenting than it is teaching high finance.
Start with real-world lessons that are age-appropriate. For example, a trip to the grocery store offers great learning opportunities for kids in elementary school. Get older kids in comparison shopping. For teens, sharing your monthly household budget is often an eye-opener. Continually challenge kids whether something is a “want or a need and why .
The point is you can have an impact by simply talking about money. That alone demonstrates that money requires management. It’s something we need to work at.
Over time, you will be amazed what information you kids can absorb. It will likely impact their attitude toward spending, saving, sharing and investing, too.
You can do this.
Many schools are implementing financial education into their curriculums. Ask what your child is learning on the topic and seek opportunities to apply that education at home.