Money-Smart Kids

Where are the Money-Smart Kids?

If basic, yet essential, information on budgeting, borrowing, saving and investing isn’t learned early in life, most young people will have a huge deficit in this very important life skill when they leave home to live on their own.

Kids need to know the meaning of credit and debt before they get out into the “real” world and begin signing contracts on cellphones and credit cards without knowing the trouble they could be getting into. Too often they find themselves with an overdue bill and no money to cover it.

Parents and schools need to band together to teach our young people the basics (at least) of money management. According to comedian James Cunningham, who has set up a national financial literacy program that is sponsored by the IEF and the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization, young people need to know how to save, invest and spend their money.

Cunningham uses humor in his program “Funny Money” to give young people the following three tips regarding money management:

1) Know how much money you have and the sources of your income and write it down. Keeping track of your money allows you to see how much money you make, what you can afford and how long it will take you to pay back a loan based on this income.
2) Take control of your money; don’t let your money control you! This means that before you get a credit card and charge a bunch of purchases, make sure you have some income so you can pay that bill off in full every month.
3) Save some money with every paycheck. You will be surprised at how quickly your money grows and you will love the feeling of taking the money you have saved and buying something outright, rather than making payments on it for the next several months.

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