Starting young, learning about budgeting, saving and the value of a dollar are key to making sound financial decisions in the future.
Boston, MA – April 10, 2015
It’s never too early to begin learning about money, and during National Financial Literacy Month nonprofit American Consumer Credit Counseling has the five most important money lessons every kid should know.
U.S. teens spend anywhere between $200 and $300 billion annually. According to Edutopia.org, teens who receive personal finance education not only manage their money better and have less consumer debt, but they also achieve higher net worth.
“It can sometimes be difficult for parents to talk to their children about money, but it’s critically important that these conversations happen, and at a young age,” said Steve Trumble, President and CEO of American Consumer Credit Counseling. “The most important money lessons for kids are learning the value of a dollar and how to budget and save. If kids learn these core concepts, they have a much better chance of growing up to be smart, financially savvy adults.”
The five most important money lessons for kids are:
- Learn the Value of a Dollar.
Money really doesn’t grow on trees and it’s important that children begin early to learn the core concepts surrounding money and finances. Parents should introduce the concept of money to children in pre-Kindergarten. Preschoolers can learn to identify, count and sort different types of coins, while kindergarteners can learn how much different coins are worth. Learning about money can be fun and everyday activities – such as going to the grocery store – can be opportunities to introduce new concepts.
- Make Smart Money Choices. Children should learn how to distinguish between wants and needs. Necessities – items such as food, shelter and clothing – and wants – things like toys and candy – should be treated differently. As part of this process, kids should think about the items they may want or need, and how they will secure the financial resources necessary to make the purchase. As part of this process, children can be encouraged to think about whether these goals are realistic, achievable and worthwhile.
- Learn How to Budget. Another important lesson is budgeting. Children need to learn that they can’t buy everything they want when they want it. There must be a plan for how to secure the money needed for a purchase, whether it’s a new toy or a trip to the amusement park.
Introduce a budgeting worksheet that lays out sources of income and expenses so that children learn what money is being earned and spent. Money received for birthdays, chores and other activities can be incorporated into the worksheet so that kids understand the critical concept of budgeting.
- Save and Plan for the Future. Kids should keep track of their spending and know where their money is going each month. If your child has a job, explain how important it is that he or she put a portion of each paycheck directly into a savings account. This becomes even more critical as children begin thinking about college and life after high school, because their financial needs will become more pronounced. At this age, children should learn how to choose a bank and prepare for their financial future. For more detailed information, students can download the ACCC Financial Workbook.
- Credit is Not Free. While credit cards may seem like an attractive option to many kids, it’s important to understand that credit is not free or easy. Too much credit card debt can make life extremely difficult and have an impact on a variety of things kids will eventually want to do, such as rent an apartment or buy a car. Children should learn how credit cards work and the interest associated with them. For example, if you owe $5,000 on an account and only pay the minimum each month, it can take up to 44 years to pay it off. Even worse, you can pay more than $12,000 in interest.
In addition, American Consumer Credit Counseling has a variety of resources to ensure that children of all ages learn about finances, budgeting and how money impacts their daily lives.
ACCC is a 501(c)3 organization, that provides free credit counseling, bankruptcy counseling, and housing counseling to consumers nationwide in need of financial literacy education and money management. For more information, contact ACCC:
- For credit counseling, call 800-769-3571
- For bankruptcy counseling, call 866-826-6924
- For housing counseling, call 866-826-7180
- For information on financial education workshops in New England, call 800-769-3571 x1980
- Or visit us online at ConsumerCredit.com
About American Consumer Credit Counseling
American Consumer Credit Counseling (ACCC) is a nonprofit credit counseling 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to empowering consumers to achieve financial management and debt relief through education, credit counseling, and debt management solutions. In order to help consumers reach their goal of debt relief, ACCC provides a range of free consumer personal finance resources on a variety of topics including budgeting, credit and debt management, student loans, youth and money, homeownership, identity theft, senior living and retirement. Consumers can use ACCC’s worksheets, videos, calculators, and blog articles to make the best possible decisions regarding their financial future. ACCC holds an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and is a member of the Association of Independent Consumer Credit Counseling Agencies. For more information or to access free financial education resources, log on to ConsumerCredit.com or visit TalkingCentsBlog.com.