April offers the opportunity for young adults to learn about money management, savings, investing and the use of credit, according to LSU AgCenter family resource management professor Dr. Ann Berry. It is Youth Financial Literacy Month.
Berry says today’s teens spend $175 billion each year, averaging $103 per week. Some 21 percent of 12 to 19 year-olds have access to either their own credit cards or to a parent’s credit card. More than one-third of teens have their own ATM cards.
Only 26 percent, however, report that their parents actively taught them how to manage money. Among parents with children 5 or older, only 26 percent feel well prepared to teach their kids about basic personal finances.
During April, Louisiana participates in the national Jump$tart Coalition to help educate youth in financial literacy through various activities. Financial Literacy Day at the Capitol is April 28.
"Whether you are a parent, a teacher, a business owner or work in the financial industry, you can be a part of this educational effort and make a difference in lives of our youth," Berry says.
As a parent, you could do the following:
• Hold a family meeting with your children to discuss the family budget.
• Start your children saving toward a short-term goal. (April 26 is "Teach Children to Save Day" sponsored by the America Bankers Association.)
• Pick an evening or two for you and your children to go on a virtual tour of kids’ financial Web sites (www.jumpstart.org click Web Sites under the Resources button. If you do not have a computer with Internet access, use those provided at your local library.
• Get yourself up to speed by obtaining personal finance teaching materials (www.jumstartclearinghouse.org).
• Contact your child’s principal and/or PTA to express support for incorporating personal finance into existing classes.
As a teacher, use some of these ideas in your classes this month:
• Sponsor a schoolwide essay or poster contest with a financial education theme such as "The Keys to Wealth" or "The Consequences of Debt." (April 18-23 is National Credit Education Week sponsored by ACA International.)
• Include classroom exercises in personal finance (locate curriculum at www.jumpstartclearinghouse.org).
• Arrange for a guest speaker, such as a representative from a local bank, the Federal Reserve or Consumer Credit Counseling (locate speakers’ network at www.jumstart.org and click Resources).
• Plan a field trip to a financial institution.
As a business person, you can help our youth in the following ways:
• Urge your mayor to issue a proclamation listing April as Youth Financial Literacy Month. Use this month to promote any existing personal finance materials/initiatives you already have.
• Offer to be a guest speaker in a school.
• Promote this month in your company’s newsletter.
• Encourage employees to get involved through their local schools or appropriate educational organizations, such as Junior Achievement.
• Sponsor a teacher training session.
Berry says these are just a few ideas to promote financial education for youth. For additional ideas for your involvement or if you need information in financial management, contact your local LSU AgCenter Extension office.
For information on related family and consumer topics in family, housing and nutrition, visit the FCS Web site at www.lsuagcenter.com/Inst/
Extension/Departments/fcs/. For local information and educational programs, contact an extension agent in your parish LSU AgCenter office.