Financial literacy in our schools…why not???

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Delta Jones Walker

Every once in a while, I am honored with the presence of parents who insist that their child(ren) sit in on our financial session. While it might seem boring to the young person at first, (depending on their age) the parent(s) recognize the importance of training up a child financially. Keep in mind that I said these family sessions happen on occasion and are not the norm.

Similarly, a review of the typical high school curriculum reveals little mention of financial literacy.

As a continuation to my last column, “The Financial Advice I Would Give my Younger Self,” let’s spark a discussion around youth being introduced to the almighty dollar as soon as possible.

Other than teaching them how to count money and maybe opening a checking account in high school, financial literacy is practically overlooked as a staple in standard education. Thankfully, there is now an aggressive school of thought that advocates for financial literacy being a required course and even a career path in American high schools.

As a longtime financial advisor, part of my commitment to giving back includes speaking at events about building wealth, retirement planning and tackling debt. The key is creating more opportunities to deliver this messaging in our schools on a consistent basis especially since we know that widespread adaptation into the school curriculum is not going to happen overnight.

So, what can we do to raise awareness around the need for financial literacy in educational institutions? Here are a few initial actions that can be taken:

  1. Identify financial professionals in your community who are willing to volunteer their time to conduct monthly or quarterly financial workshops with interested students. Perhaps it starts out as a club at school and gradually becomes part of the curriculum.
  2. Research other school districts that offer financial literacy courses and lobby school leaders to bring a similar program to your child’s school.
  3. Share information with school and community leaders, parents, public officials and media about the positive impact that financial education could have on our youth. Social media would be a great platform to garner even more support and attention.

Just think! A few introductory courses in saving, wealth building and investing can place the next generation on a path to becoming more fiscally responsible. When we teach our children not only the value of a dollar but how to multiply it, the possibilities are endless!

In the meantime, financial education starts in the home. Parents, as you visit the bank, balance the family budget, pay bills or make appointments with your financial advisor, loop your children in on what you are doing and explain how money sustains the household.

In essence, make money management a regular conversation, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised how your child’s interest grows! (Pun intended!)

Connect with Delta Jones-Walker and Atled Financial on Facebook, Twitter: @Atled_Financial and LinkedIn! To schedule a complimentary consultation or a presentation to your group or organization, call 219-513-3710 or email djwalker@atledfinancial.comand mention this column. Topic ideas for this column are welcome!

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