Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Helping our kids (and grandkids) with financial literacy

Everywhere I turn I read about the problem of financial illiteracy among Americans, especially young people.
In a recent Rotarian magazine issued monthly for members of Rotary International,  a short article outlines mentoring programs being set up by club members around the country to help kids learn about money, saving and banking.
The financial literacy problem has been growing for years, a spokeswoman for JumpStart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy said. The level of financial literacy among U.S. high school students is at an all-time low with "less than half able to correctly answer basic questions on income, money management, saving and investing, spending and credit."
This adds to my personal issue of young women budgeting, saving and planning for retirement because women generally are less inclined to pay attention to this stuff than men, according to what I've read.
The Rotarian article written by Chris Taylor said that Rotarians are turning to Web sites geared to improving financial literacy such as Jumpstart.org and the FDIC's www.fdic.gov/moneysmart. Washington's U.S. Sen. Patty Murray has called for a renewed commitment to financial literacy in schools. She proposed required curriculum that would teach kids the basics of banking, saving, credit debt and buying a house with a mortgage. Much of the housing bubble and the skyrocketing rate of bankruptcies might have been avoided if more average borrowers had understood the implications of adjustable mortgages, loan fees and bank overdraft fees.
Other organizations have also picked up the pace on financial literacy. The national CPA institute offers an  e-newsletter geared to young people called FeedthePig that encourages savings. All of this is intented to address a growing and obvious problem. We Sixty and Single women as mothers and grandmothers are in a position to help teach kids about money, saving for the long-term and managing debt. It can be done at the dinner table, in the grocery store and during story time in the evening. Take the time, help your kids learn about money.
Here are some Web site resources:
Finance in the Classroom http://financeintheclassroom.org/teacher/look.html
More Web sites: Thanks to Kelly Campbell, EducatorsLab.org.
54 Financial Literacy Lesson Plans http://www.mortgagecalculator.biz/resources/financial-literacy-lesson-plans.php
Financial Literacy Month: 30 steps to Financial Wellness http://www.financialliteracymonth.com/
A Beginner's Guide to Planning and Saving for Retirement http://www.kanetix.ca/how-to-plan-and-save-for-retirement-when-you-dont-have-a-clue
Hands on Banking: Money Skills You Need for Life: http://handsonbanking.org/en/


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