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Educación Financiera para la Generación Y

Financial Education for Generation Y

By Antonia Wang

The economic crisis of 2008 taught everyone about the consequences of poor financial education for the average consumer, among other things.  "Just as it was not possible to live in an industrialized society without print literacy-the ability to read and write-so it is not possible to live in today's world without being financially literate. To fully participate in society today, financial literacy is critical," says -Annamaria Lusardi, Professor of Economics and Accountancy at the George Washington University School of Business, and Director of the Financial Literacy Center.

Some states have made efforts to keep Generation Y from making the same financial mistakes that caused the crash. However, according to a 2011 study by the Council for Economic Education, only 13 states require that high school students take a financial literacy course, even though 46 states include personal finance in their education standards. Differences in state standards, as well as implementation requirements and challenges teachers face in teaching financial literacy make it important for parents to step in and make sure their children are getting the financial education they need.

How do you teach your kids financial education? Here are some tips that can help parents go about teaching high school-age kids finance basics.   

Talking about money

Sometimes it is difficult to talk to kids about money when parents do not feel they know enough to effectively manage their own finances. It is OK to learn along with your kids. Use it as an opportunity to bond while setting important financial goals for you and your teenager.

Keeping track of their expenses

From cell phone usage to buying the latest clothing and technology, high school kids can be big spenders. Use monthly cell phone bills as a teaching moment. Introduce the topic of budgeting and ask your teenager to cut down on cell phone time, or help pay for part of their bill from their allowance if their monthly expense is above budget.

Saving for their wants

If your teenager wants an iPad but you cannot afford it, suggest that they save their allowance money or do simple jobs around the neighborhood to earn enough money.  Babysitting, simple landscaping work and walking dogs in the neighborhood are activities that could help them earn enough to save. Opening a savings account at a local credit union and keeping track of their deposits may help develop a sense of independence.

Learning online together

Many online websites can teach you and your teenager basic money skills such as saving, using credit wisely and getting ready for college. El Poder es Tuyo (this site) and others like: hsfpp.nefe.org, as well as http://www.behive.org/ and teendollars.org offer financial education in plain language for students and parents.

Published 5-22-2012.

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