My father’s money lessons sparked my interest in financial literacy, but I wasn’t always sure I want a career in finance. Until I grew older and saw how money consumed so many people and left them feeling miserable, rather than joyful. I realized my father’s decision to teach me about money wasn’t typical in most households, and people desperately needed to be educated about money. And more importantly, I wanted to help them.
After 20 years as a financial advisor, I’ve learned people’s views on money are shaped early, often from observing their parents, and the lack of financial knowledge is crippling people’s lives. My father waited until I turned 13 to start teaching me about money, but I started talking to my girls when they were toddlers. I wanted them to view money without prejudice and to be open-minded.
I wrote The Heavy Purse with the vision of creating a platform for parents to come together and help each other teach their children about money. Although my journey is just beginning, it’s been exhilarating to see parents start connecting the dots on how their beliefs are being passed down and the need for open communication about money.
One thing I hear again and again is the desire for financial literacy to be taught in schools. Well, that day may finally be here. In a recent article in Time, The Council for Economic Education created new standards that establish clear financial literacy benchmarks for kids in grades 4, 8, and 12. The standards are meant to develop critical-thinking skills with real-world application and are designed to be incorporated into current classes.
It gives me great hope that financial literacy will get the recognition it deserves, and we can begin to change people’s attitude and habits towards money. At the same time, I also reminded that the best teacher still remains you. You are the person your children observe day in and day out. You are the person they mimic, not their teachers. You still need to demonstrate good financial behavior and teach your children how to make value-based decisions with their money. But soon, you may have a partner, helping your kids embrace these lessons at home and school.
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