Financial Literacy for Children

Could this be one of the most important life skills we pass on today?

This is a really good question as I think about parenthood one day and as I think about the life skills and behaviours I’m trying to pass on and develop in my god children, nieces and nephews. It’s a question I keep coming back to.

Why is this keeping me up at night?

What we see today is that for the first time in living memory at least, the generation starting their adult lives today are not expected to be as financially secure as their parents have been.

It’s a nightmare scenario that could affect generations to come.

Terms like generation rent really do keep me awake at night with concern for the future.

What’s the resolution? Does it sit within mainstream education?

Well it really has to be education in some shape or form. Along with trade or business skills, financial literacy is totally missing from mainstream education today, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.

So if the school system isn’t going to educate children on its own what are the options to bring financial literacy into schools?

Financial institutions can do a lot to help but at the same time there is a level of trust still missing from the 2008 financial crash, People struggle to trust banks with their money, never mind their children’s preparation for adulthood.

Still there are a lot of materials, resources and literature out there provides by these institutions to help give kids a good grounding in financial literacy. Opening a children’s saver account with a bank or building society with those resources can be a great first step.

As members of the public we can be more vocal about the issue and push for 1 hour per week in junior and senior schools where a bank, building society or non profit organisation comes into play.

Think there is nothing in it for the bank? Think again, it gets savers early so that it has more money to invest. Those savers have less risk attached to them so become good investments later down the line. That sounds cynical but its TRUE.

It also happens to be a win – win situation.

If the system isn’t supporting this, what else can we do?

Luckily there are other resources out there, some great books written for adults like the richest man in babylon by George S Clason is a classic example of a book that presents financial literacy in such a simple way that it crosses to young teenagers and early adults very well.

There is however a gaping hole in the market for children’s literature on the subject which remains to be plugged. Which is no surprise given how difficult it is to get children and parents alike hooked on a book about finances.

Other than this its leading by example, showing the next generation how to save, how to invest, how to build a secure financial foundation for life.

In the UK for example you can invest in premium bonds for children which is a fun and safe way to build an investment for them with as little as £10/$12.

It’s a pretty daunting task for me as i see it personally and something which I need to focus on with my loved ones, but one that when I look at the world around me I’m getting more and more passionate about.

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