If you guys have been hearing the term “financial literacy” a lot, there’s a good reason—it’s one of the most important money-related topics! And that’s why April has been named Financial Literacy Month.
I’m a huge believer in financial literacy for everyone, but this stuff is especially important if you have kids who are in middle school, high school, or college. Getting the right education about money is a game changer in their future success. Here’s what you need to know about financial literacy.
What’s Financial Literacy?
Being financially literate means understanding basic money concepts, like budgeting, saving, investing, and beyond. And it’s not just about knowing all the facts when it comes to money. Learning the right behavior is even more important than having the head knowledge.
Why Is Financial Literacy So Important?
When you’re financially literate, you know how to avoid the financial problems that way too many people face, like student loans and credit card debt. You know how to budget, understand investing and insurance, and have an emergency fund to cover life’s curveballs. And when students learn how to do all those things before they have a chance to make mistakes with money, they can head into the real world way ahead of the game. Nice.
How Can I Help My Kids Become Financially Literate?
As a parent, you’re a huge influence in your kids’ lives when it comes to money topics. These questions will help you figure out your own level of financial literacy so that you can better help your kids:
- Do you have an emergency fund of at least $1,000?
- Do you make and stick to a zero-based budget every month?
- Are you debt-free (or getting there)?
- Do you understand how compound interest works?
- Do you know what types of insurance you need?
If you answered yes to most of those questions, your financial literacy is on point! But if you didn’t, don’t stress. Following the Ramsey Baby Steps is a great way to get your finances under control.
You can help with your kids’ financial literacy by showing them how to open a savings account and set money-saving goals. Even with younger kids, include them in your family’s financial conversations and help them divide any money they get into giving, saving and spending categories.
You can also encourage your kids to take a personal finance class if their school offers it. Our Ramsey research team found that students who take a personal finance class are 23 percent less likely to use loans to pay for college. And 87 percent of them feel confident about their ability to invest for the future.
Bottom line: Parents and teachers are the first line of defense when it comes to helping young people avoid major money mistakes. But the good news is, you don’t have to have a perfect track record to teach your kids about money. For more tips on helping your kids become financially literate, check out this article!
Anthony ONeal is a financial expert, host of the popular online series “The Table” on his YouTube channel, and a best-selling author. Follow Anthony at AnthonyONeal.com and on Twitter @AnthonyONeal.