Increase your, and your children's, financial literacy
April was Financial Literacy month. I’d prefer we call it “Personal Wellness” month—a month where everyone takes the time to gain clarity about their financial situation and course correct as needed. But financial education and reflection shouldn’t be limited to one month a year.
Here in South Carolina, we rank 42nd in Personal Financial management, according to a survey done by Wallethub. We are one of 33 other states that does not require a course on Personal Finance to be taught in our schools. Think about that? We are required to teach our kids advanced mathematical concepts, Biology and PE, but nothing about how to manage their finances.
Every single person has to deal with money, it’s simply part of living.
The good news for South Carolina is that Senator Luke Rankin, who represents District 33 in Horry County, introduced a bill which would require all South Carolina high school students to take a half credit course in personal finance. If passed into law, this class would be a graduation requirement beginning with the 2020-2021 school year.
As we can all relate to, financial stress has reached an all-time high in the United States. At no time in history has a generation been so affected by financial detriments such as the end of pensions, vanishing Social Security, and astronomical college costs. It’s the perfect storm, and today’s kids are learning about money often without ever touching it and spending it online like it’s imaginary. The proposed new half credit is a good start but we can’t count on schools to teach kids sound financial habits. Studies have shown that parental involvement in teaching kids about money improves their odds of financial success.
Here are some things you and your kids can do to help increase their financial literacy and put them on a path towards financial wellness.
READ A BOOK
There are so many great books about managing money, including the concepts of saving, spending, sharing and investing. For children 13 and older, I recommend “The Richest Man in Babylon.” For younger kids, try “Follow the Money” or “Deena’s Lucky Penny.”
GIVE EVERY DOLLAR A PURPOSE
Create Saving, Spending, Sharing and Investing “buckets” for their money. Determine what portion of all existing money and new dollars, goes into these buckets.
GO TO A BANK
If your child’s save or investment bucket is large enough, take them to the bank and open and account. If not, take them to the bank and make a deposit of your own. Seeing you “save” and “invest” is the best lesson of all.
REVIEW AN INVESTMENT OR BANK STATEMENT
If your child has a 529 account, have them review and understand the statement. How much is in the account? What is the growth year to date? How much had been contributed? How is it invested? If they don’t have a 529 account, review a bank or retirement account statement with them.
For your children gearing up for college, have them create a monthly spending survey or budget.
Provide them with an app such as Mint or You Need a Budget, to track all of their money and learn to manage their cash flow. College is the best time for children to apply their personal financial skills. They will make mistakes, as we all do, but practice will serve them well into the future.
Beyond this month, take every opportunity to help your children be financially mindful, understand values-oriented spending, introduce key financial concepts as appropriate and take every opportunity to financially socialize by demonstrating and reinforcing healthy financial habits.
Charleston Investment Advisors, LLC is a part of BAM Advisor Services LLC d/b/a Loring Ward. Advisory services are provided through BAM Advisor Services LLC d/b/a Loring Ward, a registered investment advisor.Though the contents of this article should not be construed as investment advice, feel free to reach out to Stephanie Mackara directly at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your specific financial situation. To learn more visit www.CharlestonInvestmentAdvisors.com.