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Financial Literacy for the Developing Mind

Ahh, to be a parent the first week of September. It’s a little bit of mayhem but a whole lot of relief to have the kids back in school with activities. After the last couple of school years (ahem... Covid), we could all use a little more “back to normal” type of routines.

My kids’ education and overall health and happiness are of the utmost importance to me. Finding the right opportunities for them to learn, grow, and have some fun along the way is a major part of my life as a parent.

Over time, I’ve noticed how much I teach my kids about financial topics because of my job and my interest and passion for economic discussions. We just opened Roth IRAs for them to sock away hard-earned money and invest in a variety of different options. They were frustrated with the lack of interest at the bank in their savings accounts, so I figured it was time to help them get started on investing!

From the time they were little, I taught them how to do helpful things around the house and rewarded them based on what they wanted at each age. Now that they are 11 and 13, they don’t get an allowance, but they earn money for doing work. Since they got cell phones (Finally! I held out for a very long time and wore that as a badge of pride.), we are navigating the best resources for teaching them how to spend with digital and cash transactions. We haven’t gotten them debit cards yet, but I’ve been looking at the Greenlight Debit Card for kids. Let me know if you use it and how you feel about it. I'm hesitant to pay a monthly fee for it but can appreciate the features and benefits it offers.

My kids are fortunate to have someone showing them the ropes of economic principles and personal finance basics. The statistics on financial literacy are rather bleak: Worldwide, only 1/3 of adults understand basic financial concepts, and in the US, 4/7 adults are financially illiterate.

Not long after Felix got his first cell phone, he added an app called Zogo, which turns financial literacy into a rewards-driven financial trivia game. He loves it and convinced me to add the app myself so he could earn more points (the game rewards you with pineapples for answering questions correctly, and Zogo sends gift cards when you acquire a certain number of pineapples).

In closing, kids want to learn all about money, but they need to have opportunities at their level to get them engaged with the economics of their everyday life. That is why I was excited to learn about CELI, an initiative started by two high school students in Connecticut. They are offering a free monthly course that runs from September 6th-10th, covering various topics in economics and finance. If you know of any teens that might be interested in learning more, be sure to send this link their way.

I hear time and time again how people wish there had been opportunities to learn about financial topics when they were younger. This youth-led initiative is a great resource that is open to anyone that wants to join on Zoom. I will share the future Zoom classes they offer on my social media channels as well since they will be doing the class monthly.

I hope you have a smooth back to school transition (if applicable), a healthy and happy September, and most importantly, have a GREAT LABOR DAY, everyone!

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