Frank Manners: The Importance of Financial Education

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Learning how to save money is an important skill that everyone will need at multiple points in his or her life. Similar to many key life skills, it is most beneficial if learned at an early age. Are kids able to learn how to save money? Of course they are. Through age-appropriate activities, children can grow up understanding just how important it is to be financially responsible.
Elementary aged children can begin learning how to make positive financial choices, by deciding where their allowance will go. Creating jars with labels such as “savings” and “spending” will allow them to see where their money goes and how long it takes to save. Teaching children to save towards a toy or special treat is another important skill that shows patience and hard work.

As children become older they will have a better understanding of how expenses work and what role they play in daily life. A good activity for any age is to provide guidelines and a small amount of money at the grocery store, then allow them to compare prices and find the best value they can.  This combines responsibility with financial limits, which are both important financial decision-making skills.

By the time they are teenagers, especially high school age, they should be fully aware of the importance of finding the balance between spending and saving. The basics of budgeting and spending are essential. Important examples at this age include: understanding how money collects interest in savings accounts, having a part-time job where money is put into savings accounts, and comparing college expenses.

With a little bit of work now, you can teach your children to be financially responsible for the rest of their lives.