Thursday, December 03, 2009

Another reason to homeschool - to make sure your children have financial literacy

Lisa Fairfax reports on The Financial Literacy (or Lack Thereof) of Young Americans:

In connection with a story I was reading about the SEC’s outreach efforts to promote financial literacy among elementary students, I stumbled across a pretty depressing survey on financial literacy in young Americans. Last Friday, officials from the SEC, FINRA and the Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy visited 18 elementary schools throughout the county to teach a class on financial literacy. The program is part of a joint partnership among the organizations called Project C.H.A.N.G.E: Creating Habits and Awareness for the Next Generation’s Economy. In talking about Project C.H.A.N.G.E, Chairman Schapiro noted “Teaching children about money is an investment in the future, because an investment in financial literacy can pay a lifetime of dividends.” And apparently young Americans are in dire need of such an investment.
A 2008 national Jump$tart
survey found that the financial literacy of high school students had fallen to its lowest level ever, with students scoring an average of 48.3%--that would be a failing grade. The survey notes that basic and critical financial concepts are simply not getting through to the next generation. To be sure, college students fare better on the survey and hence, the survey concludes that “American college graduates are close to being financially literate and probably will be so with more life experience.” However, because only 25% of our youth graduate from college, the survey's results mean that 75% of young American adults “are likely to lack the skills necessary to make beneficial financial decisions.”

Read the second paragraph again, 75% of young American adults “are likely to lack the skills necessary to make beneficial financial decisions.”

I think the primary responsibility for a financial education lies with the parents. One problem with government schools is the schools demand so much time, that often parents have to work hard just to spend time with their children. Public school parents may not realize the public schools are doing a poor job in teaching about money.

I'm glad we can homeschool. Our daughters have read several books about money. We often talk about money. And maybe most important, they are learning about saving, and restricting their spending!

Technorati tags: children, education, government schools, children, public school, public education, homeschooling, homeschool, home school, home education, parenting, financial education


gary said...

I'd love to hear about what books about money your daughters have read. maybe a good topic for a future post?

My own son once read "Whatever Happened to Penny Candy" and has since launched into lengthy explanations as to the causes of inflation and many unsuspecting kids and adults. said...

Great post and very true. I totally agree that the parents (not the schools) are the key to teaching the kids. But is is also hard for parents to teach what they don't know or haven't been exposed to. I hope to continue to add material to my site to encourage parents to introduce their children to the important financial issues they will need to thrive financially in adulthood. Your post and interest in the subject encourage me to keep working on my site!

Samuel said...

I think that it is the parents responsibility to make sure their children know how to be financially responsible. However, I do believe (as a parent of children in public school) that I am teaching my children these valuable lessons. I am not certified to teach them everything they need to know to make it in the world and I fear the day when they know more than I do. I know many families that homeschool their children I just do not feel qualified.

Susan Ahlfeld said...

I'm a mother of an 18 month old and a certified financial planner. After having my daughter I decided I wanted to write a book to teach her the basics of financial planning so she can start at a young age. Yes, I know 18 months is to young however my book is written for children 5-9 years old. I would love to send you a copy of my book and possibly discuss it on your blog as it pertains to this topic. When children are introduce to money early on they tend to grow up with a positive relationship with money and not abuse it such as credit card debt. To the extent of my research I haven't found a book about financial planning for children. Please visit my website for more information Thank you for your consideration, Susan Ahlfeld (

Anonymous said...

They offer this kind of thing you know. The parents don't seem to think it is important for the kid to take that class. I agree with Samuel, that is the parent's job to teach their kids, not the public school's. I think homeschooling has affected your capacity for LOGIC and COMMON SENSE!

Henry Cate said...

Anonymous, one of the points I was trying to make wasn't that public schools should teach financial literacy, but that because public schools demand so much of the children's time the parents have less opportunity to teach their children. And too often just turn over all the education to the schools.