Reading, writing, arithmetic … and the dangers of high-interest credit card debt?
If it doesn’t sound like something you learned about in school or from your parents, you’re not alone.
A new study by Quicken, Inc. that surveyed more than 2,000 U.S. adults found that one-third of them said no one taught them about money when they were kids.
“Unsurprisingly, among that group, only 13 percent report a high level of confidence in their finances as adults,” a press release about the survey adds.
Why money smarts matter
But financial literacy is important, and the survey proved just that.
According to the results, people who learned about money as children are 20 percent more likely to place an emphasis on teaching their kids about money.
And those who didn’t learn about money as kids? They were “twice as likely to delay talking to their own children about money until age 18-plus,” the report notes.
That means if teaching your kids about money wasn’t on your priorities list before, it’s time to put it there. How you teach it is up to you, but it’s worth noting that kids can develop emotional responses to spending or saving by age 5.
Still, it’s never too late to work on these lessons if your kids are older, too. (Tip: Check out our post offering some fun ideas for teaching budgeting to high school students.)
Getting the financial ball rolling
So what exactly should you be teaching kids? It’s an ongoing conversation, experts say, but a few basics are key.
1. How money works
Start with the basics. Where does money come? Who makes it? You can explain this and more for your kids with the help of the United States Mint.
2. The power of saving
Kids can start learning about the importance of saving their money as early as they begin getting cash gifts or receiving allowance. Let them open a bank account and watch their balance grow as they put off impulse purchases. Find more details on saving from the FDIC.
3. Budgeting basics
Teach your kids how to make a simple budget. “Maintaining a budget may sound scary or complicated, but it can be as simple as having a notebook and writing down what you buy each month,” Janet Kincaid, FDIC senior consumer affairs officer, explains at fdic.gov.
“Any system that helps you know how much you are spending each month is a good thing.”
4. What are taxes, anyway?
The sooner they start to grasp the concept, the better. Browse this student site from the IRS for tips and fun activities to help kids learn.