Our home state of Arkansas recently passed the Personal Finance and Job Readiness Act, a bill that will make personal finance a required high school course beginning in 2021. Many other states have been introducing similar legislation, creating a widespread understanding of the importance of financial literacy for young people. These concepts produce important life skills and are a great start in providing financial literacy to younger generations. All students will benefit from financial education, whereas 19% use high school level algebra in their jobs. In a Financial Educators Council survey, 51.4% of young adults aged 18-26 interviewed thought the most beneficial course a high school could offer would be in money management. A study Bank of America conducted showed that only 16% of Americans ages 18-26 feel optimistic about their financial future.4 Teaching and implementing financial literacy throughout a child’s life is how we can avoid this roadblock for future generations.
Raising financially literate children is a great way to secure your child’s future. Concepts found in personal finance merge well with valuable life skills such as problem-solving, decision-making, and self-control. A child’s ability to understand varying aspects of financial literacy varies greatly based on their cognitive abilities, but there are steps that can be taken for children of all ages to teach financial literacy at home.
A simple and effective way you can help to build your child’s money skills is through reading. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) offers resources to help younger children (recommended ages 4-10) learn financial literacy at home, including an extensive reading list complete with downloadable reading guides that include key ideas, topics for discussion, and activity ideas to further learn concepts. You can locate the reading list and guides here. The CFPB’s Money as You Grow tool also contains resources for guiding preteens, teens, and young adults.
The Arkansas Bankers Association suggests many programs that are offered both in the State of Arkansas and nationally, such as the Arkansas Jump$tart Coalition, a non-profit team of businesses, government, and educational institutions working together to improve our youth’s personal financial literacy. The U.S. Currency Education Program also offers free educational materials on their website including an online Currency Academy program, lesson plans, and a Money Adventure mobile app. You can find an extensive list of games, programs, lessons, and other resources for teaching financial literacy at mint.com as well. Happy learning!