Hope springs eternal in April, and that's probably a primary reason that April is Financial Literacy Month. What could be more hopeful than feeling good about your finances? That's certainly true as the date of April 15 approaches, and it most definitely factors into making your summer vacation plans. As both an educator and a parent, I am a huge proponent of children and adolescents learning about finance and feeling comfortable with the idea. As a kid I received my first credit card at age twelve - probably because my parents wanted the free microwave given away with new accounts. But rather than become a recipe for financial disaster, I learned many financial lessons quickly, and I've carried them through life. Primary lesson from my father ... and Saturday Night Live? Don't buy stuff you can't afford.
There is so much that young people could benefit from learning before they become mired down in debt and financial indecision. What's a mortgage? Can I afford a cell phone? How can I grow my money? What exactly does it mean to "play the market?" All these questions can overwhelm people, but they can also be fantastic teaching moments that young people can benefit from before they make the real world decisions. And those teachable moments are the essence of financial literacy classes and programs. The PwC Foundations Earn Your Future Digital Lab is a comprehensive curriculum for grades 3-12 with countless resources and activities for students to engage with finance. That means engage with money - and who doesn't love that? The elementary level will not be available until the fall, but the materials for middle and high school students are available now.
So, as Friday's tax day comes and goes, consider the value of financial literacy.