The Golden Rules of Financial Education
As parents, we commit to years of financial responsibility when we welcome our children into the world. It’s an obligation we take on willingly. (Well, most days.) But we also hope to prepare our sons and daughters for the day they start creating their own financial independence … and, eventually, maybe a grandchild or two.
To instill meaningful financial literacy takes a team approach indeed – in school and at home. It also takes the right approach. A Wall Street Journal article, “The Smart Way to Teach Children About Money,” offered some important insights on that, suggesting it’s both what we teach as well as when we teach it.
Remember those Golden Rules: Reading, Writing and Arithmetic? Surprise. We may hate to admit it, but our parents and grandparents might have been on to something when they emphasized the importance of learning the basics – walking before running.
The WSJ columnist comments:
“We focus on teaching finance in school when regular math is much more effective at helping children manage money. We cram their heads full of financial facts and strategies years before they’ll actually need any of it—ensuring that they won’t remember the lessons when they’re most needed. And we squirm about discussing our own family income and debt, giving children fears and false impressions they may never shake off.”
So how do you determine an effective way to roll out your lessons on financial literacy and have open, honest conversations with your kids about your family wealth? While every household should move at its own pace, Lisa and I decided to introduce our daughter Harper to this handy chart from the JumpStart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy, which was included in the WSJ article.
I told Harper we would set aside time to go over each activity with her whenever she was ready to roll. Harper not only found the chart of interest, she’s been known to haul it around in her backpack. If you check out our photo of the month, we seem to have captured her attention.