Does it seem like every time you turn around, your child is asking you for money? Does your teen know how to balance a checkbook, pay bills, or read a financial statement? A 2007 Charles Schwab survey reported that only one in three teens had mastered these skills.
While a growing number of Wisconsin school districts incorporate financial literacy into their programs, most do not. Parents, aunts and uncles, grandparents, 4-H and other youth leaders can make a difference in the future success of our children by teaching them the basics of saving and spending, debt, budgeting, and financial planning. They can make the biggest difference by modeling good money management practices.
Wisconsin is a leader in financial literacy programs, with many helpful resources for parents and teachers. This year, you may want to check out some of these opportunities and tools:
- The Badger State participates in the national public awareness campaign, Money Smart Week®, which was organized by the Federal Reserve Bank in 2002. Scheduled for April 20 – 27, 2013, the campaign offers many opportunities to deepen our knowledge and financial skills. Visit www.moneysmartweek.org to learn more.
- Money Moments is a website produced by the Wisconsin Educational Communications Board. Click on the ‘Parents’ tab at the top to find videos about how to teach key money lessons to your kids; visit www.ecb.org/finance. This site also offers tips and lesson plans for teachers on such topics as becoming a critical consumer and risk management.
- Asset Builders of America, Inc. is a Wisconsin-based non-profit organization that promotes financial literacy through a variety of programs-including local Money Conferences-with various businesses, schools, and organizations. These include programs in Madison, Milwaukee, the Fox Cities, Menominee Nation, Racine/Kenosha, Rhinelander, and Wausau. Visit: www.assetbuilders.org.
- The Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions (www.wdfi.org/ymm) offers the “Your Money Matters” curriculum and other financial education tools. Visit its Kids Page (www.wdfi.org/ymm/kids) for online chapters and quizzes on such topics as the history of money, saving, and investing.
- Designed primarily for teachers, the National Institute of Financial Education and Literacy takes place each summer at Edgewood College in Madison. The 13th annual institutes focus on three general topics-”Paychecks, Financial Contracts and Entrepreneurship” (Jun. 24 – 28); “Investor Education, Economics and Insurance (Jul. 15 – 19); and “Credit and Money” (Jul. 29 – 31). Visit www.edgewood.edu/events/NIFEL.aspx for details.
- Finally, Jump$tart is a national coalition that offers an abundance of tools and activities to help young people from preschool through college learn financial literacy skills. Visit www.jumpstart.org to learn more and click on the State Activities tab for details on Wisconsin Jump$tart programs.
You don’t need to attend every conference or incorporate every tool to make a difference in a child’s future financial management success. Depending on the child’s age, determine to incorporate one or a few financial lessons into their learning this year, and you’ll be amazed by the progress they can make!