Talking to Your Kids About Money

A few years ago Denis and I spent most of a year traveling across America talking about The ABCs of Making Money for Teens and the lack of any financial literacy training in schools or homes. Parents and teachers loved talking about it; financial professionals volunteered to donate books to schools and youth groups; the press ate it up and, most importantly, the kids were really inspired when we shared our stories of other teens achieving incredible goals. Then we saw the challenge.

It was great to see inspired kids going home to share their new-found knowledge with their parents. Unfortunately, the parents, many of whom were using maxed-out credit cards to finance their lives, weren’t always receptive. Now, it’s not really the parent’s fault here. I mean, nobody ever taught them the ins and outs of money. You make it up as you go along.

So we thought about this and we came up with a new idea for a presentation and called it The ABCs of Talking to Your Kids About Money. The idea was that through this free presentation, based on the content from the teen book, we could educate parents on the fundamentals of financial literacy so that they could immediately go home and speak intelligently about money issues with their kids.

The best part, of course, was that in the process, they learned what they needed in order to become much better role models for their kids when it comes to financial issues.

So, we figured we’d better test it out and see what happened. We worked with a community foundation out West – Community Futures – and offered a free workshop for parents. When they got there, we gave them a financial literacy test, in which the average knowledge level was 22%. At the end of the workshop we tested them again and found that their scores had jumped to 89%. In One Hour! Then we asked them to fill in a survey and found that of those without any financial savings plan for retirement, 95% of the parents said they would set one up immediately.

It showed us that we were on the right track and just how powerful a little knowledge could be. So, what are the next steps? Let us know your thoughts.

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