As children blossom into young men and women, most insist on planning and running their own lives. Parents worry about all the basic essentials for their kids’ independent living, like housing, eating properly, staying warm, being careful at night and more. But most parents forget to teach their youngsters one of the most important lessons of all – financial responsibility. The resulting turmoil can spell disaster for a child’s future.
Consider this: The average young adult amasses $45,000 in debt by the time they turn 29, according to a recent PNC Bank report.
“This generation of 20-somethings was raised during an economically-thriving period,” says financial expert Mark Hansen, author of Success 101 for Teens www.success101forteens.com. “Undisciplined spending habits, student and car loans, and a tough job market have stymied their financial growth. Perhaps the worst culprit is financial ignorance, but we can count this as a lesson for future 20-somethings.”
For young people, organizing finances can be intimidating to the point of prohibitive, he says.
“We need to have a curriculum in schools, from kindergarten through 12th grade, that ensures our kids graduate with financially literacy,” he says. “From balancing a checkbook to understanding what it means to pay – and earn – interest, kids need basic money management skills to survive in the world, and most aren’t getting them.”
Hansen says all teens should know and practice so they can control their financial destinies:
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