In the coming decade, it won't be enough to teach kids how to read and write. If they're not financially literate, they'll be lost.
That's the advice being offered by The National Financial Educators Council (NFEC) (www.FinancialEducatorsCouncil.org), organizers of Money XLive one of the nation's largest financial literacy event that brings together celebrities and sport stars to provide youth a practical financial education in an MTV award show style environment.
According to a survey from CollegeGrad.com, 80 percent of all college graduates in 2009 moved back in with their parents after graduation, a three percent increase from 2008 and a 13 percent increase from 2006.
It's tough out there, and it isn't getting any better, said Vince Shorb, president of the NFEC. I'm reading studies that are saying as many as 80 percent of college grads have to move back home after graduation. The trend is rising, and it's not getting any better. Living independently is getting more difficult with each new generation of graduates, and one of the key problems is that we aren't equipping these kids with a good sense of how to run their finances.
The NFEC, which helps educators, not-for-profits, schools, community organizations and parent groups assemble financial literacy programs, offered some tips on how to teach children financial literacy. They include:
Relate Money to Lifestyle. Today's youth are not focused on just money. It's what money allows them to do that motivates our children to pick up financial literacy skills. Uncover their personal dreams and find out how they want to live their day-to-day life. Then relate their aspirations to how having a financial education can help them reach their goals faster.
Help Them Recognize Opportunity. Even though many people are going through financial challenges now, it is important that we teach our children how to recognize opportunity. When the economy is in bad shape is when many financially savvy people are making investments that will increase their long-term net worth. A simple financial literacy lesson like a practical understanding of market cycles gives them the knowledge of how to take advantage of future trends can have a profound impact on their life.
Savings Plan. Getting your child, teen or young adult in a habit of setting financial goals and saving money as soon as possible is an important financial literacy habit you can help them develop. Since today's youth are comfortable with technology it is highly recommended you teach them to automate their savings and budget plans.
Build a Solid Financial Foundation. Make sure your child has their checking, savings, Roth IRA and brokerage accounts open as soon as possible (even if they do not have money to put into their brokerage or retirement accounts right now). People that have these accounts open are more likely to save their money and begin investing at a young age.
Power of Compounding Interest. Youth gives our children a huge advantage when it comes to their financial health due to compounding interest. If you are over 60 years old, if you would have invested $100 per month in the S&P 500 index starting at 18 years old, you could be a millionaire now. Don't you wish you fully understood compounding interest and how to take advantage of it when you were 18 years old?
Let's face it, Shorb said. The next generation will be without the advantages of pensions and Social Security to protect their futures. If we're going to deny them those tools, we should at least teach them how to better manage what they earn. That's why the NFEC was created, and that's the mission of the organization.
About The NFEC
The National Financial Educators Council (NFEC) is a coalition of leading financial literacy experts and organizations that represent the best practices in the financial education industry. Serving people of all ages and backgrounds, the NFEC provides practical financial education solutions that are engaging and inspire people to take positive action.
About Vince Shorb
Vince Shorb is the president of the NFEC, and a lifelong advocate of financial literacy.