Do you remember when your parents use to say, "April showers bring May flowers"? 🌸As much of this is true for anyone growing tulips or plants, it also applies to your finances which equals that "M= Money" in STEM.
Yes, April is Financial Literacy Month, and it's a great time to start sharpening our toolkits to reap the financial harvest we have been preparing for.
Many financial planners and accountants find this time of the year busy with completing taxes and using this time to educate many of their clients on how to think about their financial future for their themselves, families, and/or businesses. Below are for few things to consider as you create the Spring showers opportunities and a few ways to discuss this with the youngest members of your family or community. Remember, it is never too early (or late) to start having "M"oney conversations and developing healthy financial strategies with yourself and your children.
Why is it so difficult to start?
We polled several members of our global HSCF community and below are the top reason why their progress toward financial literacy and execution is slow.
Lack of proper knowledge or understanding of the financial impact on my life. No one has ever explained it to me.
Being afraid of making a mistake or losing my money
Previous negative experiences with finances, such as debt (student loans & credit cards) or bankruptcy
Feeling overwhelmed by financial responsibilities and decisions
Pressure to meet peer expectations or keep up with others' financial success
Can you relate to any of these? We have included tips and a guide parents can use to help to discuss money management and develop strong financial literacy skills.
Note: Financial literacy is especially important for young adults who are just starting to manage their own finances. According to a recent survey, only 17% of high school students in the U.S. are required to take a personal finance course. Limited financial education can lead to serious financial problems later in life impacting, poor credit scores, lack of savings, etc...
Tips for a stronger financial outlook
Regardless of age, this is a great time to take steps toward improving your financial knowledge and skills. We encourage everyone to take advantage of the resources available and start building a strong financial foundation for their future. Below are some simple tips to start your journey.
Create a budget and stick to it. This means tracking your income and expenses and finding ways to save money.
Pay off high-interest debt as soon as possible. This will reduce the amount of money you are paying in interest and free up more money for savings.
Start saving for retirement early. The earlier you start saving, the more time your money has to grow.
Start investing early: The earlier you start investing, the more time your money has to grow through the power of compound interest.
Continuously educate yourself about personal finance. The more you know, the better equipped you'll be to make informed financial decisions
If you are a parent or someone providing guidance to youth, when it comes to having financial discussions, it is essential to start early. Below are more tips to make the learning process less jarring, anyone can follow:
Start with the basics
Explain the concepts of earning, spending, saving, and investing. Use everyday situations like grocery shopping or paying bills to illustrate these concepts in a relatable and practical manner.
Give them an allowance
For K-12 students, providing a small allowance is a great way to introduce them to the concept of budgeting. Encourage them to save a portion of their allowance for future expenses or goals. This can help instill the value of delayed gratification and teach them to prioritize their spending.
Set up a savings account
Opening a savings account for your child is another way to teach them about the importance of saving. Make regular deposits together and discuss the benefits of saving money over time, such as earning interest and reaching financial goals.
Encourage goal setting
Help them set specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) financial goals. This can range from saving for a new toy or a future college education. By setting goals, children learn the importance of planning and working towards achieving their financial objectives.
Make it a family affair
Include your children in family financial discussions; budgeting for vacations or planning for emergencies. By involving them in these conversations, you are demonstrating the value of open communication about money matters and helping them understand the role finances play in the family's overall well-being.
There are a number of apps and online resources available that can help teach children about personal finance. These tools can make learning about money fun and engaging, while also reinforcing important financial concepts.
By incorporating these simple practices into our daily lives, we can make a lasting impact and preserve our beautiful Earth for generations to come. So go ahead, plant that tree, ride your bike, or simply turn off the tap while brushing your teeth – every bit counts.
So, let's start watering for the harvest we desire!
2020 PwC study found that only 24% of millennials demonstrated basic financial literacy, and only 8% showed a high level of financial knowledge.
National Financial Education Councils online test (FREE) - Click HERE
Millennials & Financial Literacy— The Struggle with Personal Finance: Click HERE for the pdf
Buzzfeed Article: Money tip for various stages in life - Click HERE