April is Financial Literacy Month
By The U of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service
- April is Financial Literacy Month
- Financial education can begin with pre-school aged children
- Contact your county extension office for teaching tools
LITTLE ROCK -- Learning to save and manage money are lessons that can begin in pre-school, said Laura Connerly, assistant professor for family and consumer economics with the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture.
Teaching children the basics is a key point during Financial Literacy Month, which kicked off April 1.
“A recent survey from America Saves found that youth aged 16-19 know it is important to save, but don’t know how,” she said. “To me the survey results show the importance of financial literacy and the need to give our children the tools to a secure future.”
One way youth learn about money management is from the adults in their lives. Connerly offers some tips for teaching children and youth about money:
- Talk about money. “Take the mystery out of personal finance,” she said. “Some young adults head off on their own nearly clueless about money management.” Preschoolers can learn about coins and bills. They can learn that we work to earn money so we can pay for food and rent. Older children can understand that we pay bills, use bank accounts, and save for emergencies and the future. “We should talk to high school students about how career choices impact their earning potential, how their actions are reflected in their credit score, and how saving can help them reach their goals,” Connerly said.
- Be a good role model. “We live in a world of conspicuous consumption,” she said. “Children and adults are bombarded by advertisements. Credit is readily available and overspending is easy. Good money management skills are necessary to avoid the pitfalls.” Connerly said adults should model responsible financial behavior “in your own life and your child will be more likely to live a financially stable life. Live within your means. Use credit wisely. Make thoughtful consumer decisions.”
- Start the saving habit early. Saving money should be part of everyone’s financial plan. Saving helps prepare for emergencies, achieve future goals, and build wealth. “Very young children like to see their money,” Connerly said. “Let them save in a jar or a piggy bank. A savings account is a great way for children to learn about using a bank or credit union.” Teaching children to save early on can create a positive habit that will last a lifetime.
The Cooperative Extension Service has tools to help adults teach children financial literacy.
“Kids & Money” is a free online course. Visit http://courses.uaex.edu and click on Kids & Money to view this one-hour, video-based course.
Learn more about personal finance at www.uaex.edu. The Cooperative Extension Service, part of the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, has the latest research-based recommendations on money management to help you improve financial stability.
Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative action institution. If you require a reasonable accommodation to participate or need materials in another format, please contact your County Extension office (or other appropriate office) as soon as possible. Dial 711 for Arkansas Relay.
The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to all eligible persons regardless of race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.
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Media Contact: Mary Hightower
Dir. of Communication Services
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service