Teaching Money Management

By Naomi Dillon

Soaring foreclosure rates and consumer debt, coupled with recent surveys and reports, illustrate an astounding lack of financial knowledge among young and old alike.
We can learn a lot from our nation’s recent financial meltdown, but whether you blame it on the industry or the individual, there’s no denying we clearly need to go back to basics. That includes what we teach our children about money.

In the past 10 years, financial literacy among high school students has fallen. In its latest survey, the Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy found high school students’ money management skills have dropped from an average score of 57.3 in 1997, when the nonprofit first began tracking this ability, to 48.3 in 2008, the most recent data available.

Though the country’s economic woes have added urgency to teaching students financial ABCs, it’s by no means a new effort, says Laura Levine, executive director of Jump$tart, a partnership of corporate, government, and education organizations.

“It’s really in the last decade where we’ve seen a real big push for financial education, with a lot of entities working together, helping to raise awareness of the need for financial education,” she says.

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