Putting “Family” into Financial Education
The headline made me shake my head. The article explained a study on the effectiveness of financial education within schools. The sad finding was despite all the time, effort and money invested to teach students how to manage money, little improvement was accomplished.
Study: “After several years, those who took the course were no more financially literate than those who did not take the course.”
I don’t challenge the survey methodology or results. My contention is the children in the study got only part of the education they need. Arguably, the most important component was omitted – learning money skills and behaviors. And those are best provided at home.
Here’s the problem: A youngster can learn the mathematics of money. Our teachers are good at teaching knowledge. But money management also involves mastery of behaviors – like regular saving, spending discipline, and understanding the difference between wants and needs. Behavioral lessons need to involve parents or another adult.
Our financial education platform for families is designed to help fill the parental gap in financial education. We recognize that schools are teaching some elements of money so we try to align our materials with those core curriculum concepts. What is different is our emphasis is on the role of parents in financial education.
Our Save Yourself Platform (Click here to download: Save Yourself 3.1) is built around four concept areas:
- Money Mentor – Someone, usually a parent, takes the responsibility for providing information, encouragement and discipline.
- Save Yourself – The single most important lesson is for a child to learn how to take responsibility for saving themselves. The “Save Yourself” concept is taught early and often.
- Money Values – Family money values include topics like how much is saved, how much is shared, and how credit is used. These money values and habits are taught and modeled.
- Money Moments – A key to success is for the money mentor to recognize those moments when a child is ready and anxious to learn new skills and behaviors; the idea is to keep learning about money a priority.
If you are a parent (or money mentor) this blog provides you with on-going ideas to fill the gaps in can a child’s total financial education.