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IMHO I believe the parents (and maybe some successful Grandparents) owe it to their own kids to instill some financial teachings in the kids of today. That way you can actually explain credit as it should be - use it carefully and look out for the dangers - and explain the dangers. I have a 16 YO Granddaughter that actually is in a class right now at her HS to learn about the Stock Market (maybe the best time for her to learn it does NOT always go UP). Although I do not participate actively in the SM I have offered to help - Since she always gets A's or A+'s in her subjects - She may be better off on her own.
Vietnam Veteran, CW4 USA, Retired 1979
I took an economics class in high school during which we played a stock market game. I took first place in my region and 3rd in the state. Won $100 which was a huge amount of money to me at that time. I credit that class for my interest in money in general as I certainly didn't learn anything good about finance from my parents who've had 5 figure credit card debt for the last 3 decades. I look back on that as being the single most important class I took in high school a far as real life importance. It's something I actually use on a regular basis.
Junior Achievement has some really great programs to teach financial literacy to kids of all ages...and all programs are taught by trained volunteers. The kids are encouraged to take the JA materials home to share with their parents/guardians; and often the adults learn just as much or more than the kids do!
Several years ago, JA did a national survey of teachers to gauge their financial literacy. Oooh, it was bad!
I remember one question in particular: "What is the typical after-tax profit of the average business in America?" The survey asked for the response from a range: 1 to 5%, 6 to 10%, etc. THE MOST COMMON ANSWER GIVEN WAS BETWEEN 75 AND 100%!!!
Their are a couple of Non Profit organizations that do some good work at laying foundation for understanding the basic mechanics of our system--Future Business Leaders, and Junior Achievement are a couple that come to mind. I have participated in both and found both the volunteers(largely business practioniers) and students gaining a lot from the tools and resources offered. For those of you with high school kids to influence, I recommend both as worthwhile investment of time.
Here in Washington State, there is an organization called Washington Business Week that many high schools participate in. There is a week long full computer business stimulation of running an enterprise. Typically juniors are in the program. This is a great overview of what it takes to run an enterprise--a bit beyond personal finance but the program clearly communicate the concept of budgeting and resource management.
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