In our final Finance Friday, an April?round-up of tips and resources for personal finance angles in honor of National Financial Literacy Month, I wanted to offer some additional ideas for writing about children and financial skills.? Many money missteps by adults might be averted if kids and teens had more exposure to personal finance lessons. (Note: Don?t miss last week?s post, which offered an initial round of resources for stories on kids and financial literacy.)
If you want to structure locally-sourced personal finance primers for kids, try seeking out a panel of experts, including perhaps a credit-union budget counselor, a Certified Financial Planner, a representative of a credit-counseling agency (find one certified by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling) and perhaps an academic from a consumer sciences program or your state?s cooperative extension service.? They likely have prepared materials on basics like how savings, checking and charge accounts work, to mortgage basics, to the fundamentals of savings and investing.? I think the key concept in any primer (for kids or adults) is compound interest ? because knowing how it works can inform young people about the ramifications of decisions that range from saving a portion of high-school earnings to buying a car to the consequences of taking out student loans.?
I once, for example, wrote a personal finance story in which a CFP analyzed the finances of a 21-year-old who had reluctantly chosen a full-ride scholarship at a regional school over the chance to attend (and pay for) a more prestigious college.? The young graduate perked up considerably when the adviser told him that this decision alone?likely would make a $600,000-plus difference to his age-60 nest egg, due to the scholarship.? Get your experts to run similar real-life or hypothetical scenarios that reflect the decisions teens and young adults will be making in the near future.?
For other basics, the Jumpstart Coalition is always a good source of links and resources; check out its National Standards in K-12 Personal Finance Education as a benchmark of what kids should be learning at various age ranges.?
And even if you don?t cover personal finance directly, you may be able to find some relationship to kids and money on your beat.? If you cover financial services, for example, you might seek out banks and credit unions that offer special youth accounts.? Wells Fargo, for example, offers a??hands-on banking? course and free savings accounts for young children, while USAA offers similar banking products.? You might compare those that are available in your area to point out fees and other caveats.
If you cover small business, consider a feature on some angle related to Junior Achievement, which last year published a Teens and Personal Finance report, or other service programs that teach young people business and money-management skills.?? Various entrepreneurs have come up with products, such as those offered via the Future Investors Club of America ? and here?s one in Kansas, the MoneySmart Financial Management Camp for middle schoolers, that is sponsored by the state and a credit-union trade group.?
?Here?s?a company that has developed the audaciously named ?Camp Millionaire? for kids and appears to license or market it through credit unions and the like.? And sites like Three Jars tout the concept of divvying allowances and the like into savings, spending and sharing (charitable funds) and offer online trackers so children can keep track of the cash parents are holding for them.? Are any entrepreneurs near you targeting the youth personal finance market with seminars, camps, books, websites?or products?