Should money matters matter to young kids?

Few youngsters learning basic life skills in school

Don Ames
March 18, 2019 - 6:08 am
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Out of 558 high schools in Louisiana, only three (Amite, Bolton and Tara) require students to take a personal finance course to graduate. 

Are Louisiana students missing out on basic life skills? 

Kenneth Bertucci, with Bertucci & Labiche, Wealth Management in New Orleans, says it's something that students should be offered.

"At least an introductory class in it. Just give the kids a taste for it," Bertucci says. "I find so often that kids, as well as even older adults, just don't really have any background in understanding credit cards and debt, and how much that can get them in trouble."

"I think that schools could do a better job at offering some courses in that. But, I also think that that's something that has to come from the parents and start at home with the family."

"Young students may actually look up to parents, even more so, on this topic than they do on many other topics," says Bertucci. "A lot of times our kids don't want to really listen to the parents...maybe, if it has to do with sports or something going on at school. But, I think this is something that children look up to their parents and really try to take trust in what their parents are doing themselves."

What can parents do to help?

Bertucci suggests that parents let their kids take some responsibility for the costs they incur.

"Let them take a little bit of ownership in some of their own expenses, like maybe just going out to eat with friends or, if they are driving, pay some of the gas money."

"I think establishing a checking account when the child is old enough, maybe when they're 16 or once they have a driver's license is a great idea. Then, eventually maybe even get them a credit card or debit card and monitor that."

According to data from the National Financial Educator Council, not knowing enough about personal finance cost Americans a total of $295 billion in 2018. 

Additionally, there are currently 36.8 million outstanding personal loan accounts and Louisiana came in second in the country for the highest number of personal loans per person, averaging 1.6.

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