Disclaimer: I don’t have children, but I’ve been one.
It’s back-to-school time for many kids (I’m including college ‘kids,’ those darn whipper-snappers). And while they learn to read, take algebra, and write papers on the modernist perspective of Hieronymous Bosch’s butt music, from where is their personal financial management education coming?
There is little personal financial management education in schools. Only a third of US states require some form of personal financial literacy education in high school1. Which helps, but studies indicate that if this education starts too late, it’s less effective since it often requires students to unlearn previous behavior2. Even if this topic is not ‘taught,’ kids learn about personal financial management somewhere.
If not in school, then at home. Therefore, family is the first and often primary source of financial education. So, what are you teaching the kids? Not just by what you say, but also by what you do. How would you rate your personal financial management?
I don’t write this to put even more pressure on parents to raise independent, confident adults. If you rate your skill in this area as ‘poor’ or ‘needs improvement,’ financial management is a skill that can be learned and improved through thoughtful practice. A skill that not only benefits your current household but also pays dividends in the financially savvy future households of your children.
If you want to improve your skills, a great place to start is evaluating your current ‘cash flow’ – also known as money coming in versus money going out. See my previous article here, which shows how to evaluate your current cash flow situation.