What’s the Best Way to Teach Financial Skills to Children?
Our experts say start early, talk often—and look for teachable moments.
Por Veronica Daghner
Publicado originalmente en The Wall Street Journal el 28 de Febrero de 2016
Some parents would rather speak to their children about practically anything other than money. But such reluctance carries a high price. While there are many legitimate ways to discuss finances with youngsters, financial experts say, two things are for sure: Start early and talk often.
The Wall Street Journal invited three people to join in an email discussion of the issue. They are Annamaria Lusardi, the Denit Trust chair of economics and accountancy at the George Washington University School of Business; Ted Beck, president and chief executive of the National Endowment for Financial Education; and Nathan Dungan, founder and president of Share Save Spend LLC, which helps educate families about money. Following are edited excerpts of the discussion.
Finding teachable moments
WSJ: Why is it important to teach children financial skills?
MR. BECK: At some point young adults will have to make financial decisions on their own, and they need to be prepared. Gaining financial skills as a child provides better opportunities and it makes you less likely to be taken advantage of.
MR. DUNGAN: One of the most important reasons to equip youth with critical financial skills is that it has the potential to significantly enhance their quality of life. Not only will teaching them about money equip them to achieve typical financial goals such as saving for college, but it will also help them address qualitative issues such as the impact money will have on their relationships.
WSJ: What are the most important financial skills to teach children?
MR. DUNGAN: I encourage families to run lots of age-appropriate experiments while their children are living at home. That may be a simple allowance of $6 a week for a child in elementary school all the way up to a few hundred dollars (or more) a month for a child in college. The key is to provide a variety of opportunities for them to make choices with money over a prolonged period, as it will help build their confidence and capabilities—critical elements for enhancing their financial well-being. And don’t forget to allow for lots of “oops” moments. It’s far better for them to make money mistakes in a controlled environment where you can coach into the situation than it is for them to be rudderless as they leave home for college.
MS. LUSARDI: I would simply say talk to children about money. We talk to them about many topics, but not as much about money.
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