They don’t teach it in school, but it can be one of the most important lessons children can learn: How to earn, save and spend money wisely. With summer upon us, the kids are home – many are working – still more are spending. This is the perfect time for parents to do some “home schooling.”
A recent Rand Youth poll showed that only 35 percent of parents talk to their children about money. That means, 65 percent don’t. Considering that the number of personal bankruptcies nationwide jumped from 300,000 to 1.4 million from 1984 to 1997, this might be reason enough to start talking.
It doesn’t have to be difficult. We offer a wide range of books and tools to help parents bridge the gap. Whether they’re 6 or 16, we can offer you simple, easy-to-read guides to get your kids on the road to good money management.
Beginning with Neale S. Godfrey’s “Ultimate Kid’s Money Book” (1998), for 8 to 12 year olders. This book gives an overview of economics and money, and it advises youngsters on how to save, budget and invest. Her other books – “Money Doesn’t Grow on Trees: A Parent’s Guide to Raising Financially Responsible Children” and “A Penny Saved: Using Money to Teach Your Child the Way the World Works” – give practical, age-appropriate exercises children and parents can follow.
“The Kid’s Guide to Money: Earning It, Saving It, Spending It, Growing It, Sharing It,” by Steve Otfinoski (1996), is another valuable how-to resource.
For our youngster computer users, we offer “Money Town” from our CD-ROM circulating collection. It includes five games to teach children how to recognize coins, make change and manage their money.
Some say, it starts with your values. “Kids, Money & Values,” by Patricia Schiff Estess and Irving Barocas (1994), offers creative ways to teach kids values that best reflect your own.
Since tomorrow’s leaders are among us today, we offer “The Lemonade Stand: A Guide to Encouraging the Entrepreneuer in your Child,” by Emmanuel Modu (1996), and “Whiz Teens in Business,” by Danielle Vallee (1999), to guide youngsters in starting a business.
For budding traders, “Growing Money: A Complete Investing guide for Kids,” by Gail Karlitz (1999.) explains investing and the mechanics of the stock market in easy-to-read language.
Online, scores of links offer information about investing. Bookmark these sites: www.younginvestor.com and www.fool.com.
The first site is geared specially to young people and their parents, and is presented by Liberty Financial Companies, featuring the Stein Roe Young Investors fund. That fund is made up of companies with “kid appeal” – those selling products or services commonly used by youngsters. The site includes information written by and for kids, answering such questions as “How much does college cost and how can I save up?” It also includes an online manual and reference guide teaching the basics of investing, a stock-market game for classroom teachers and an article for parents that talks about creating a budget for kids and helping them stick to it.
The second site, www.fool.com with its Motley Fool, is one of the more popular sites that educates, enriches and entertains viewers. It includes “Family Fool” and “Young Fools” sections, the latter of which was just launched to target teenagers. Talk to a broker for more information.
Now, when the kids say, “Mom, there’s nothing to do,” you can point them in the right direction.
Upcoming event: Bell Atlantic Computer Whiz Kids Summer Sessions. Hands-on technology workshops for kids in grades 3 to 5, at every branch, July through August. Call 455-8026 for more information.