Teaching financial literacy to kids

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April is financial literacy month, with a focus on teaching children and teenagers how to spend, save, invest and allocate money. We spoke to Kim Dees, of WaFd Bank, about the importance of financial literacy for kids.

Lack of Financial Literacy Education

Life skills, like financial literacy, are something not commonly taught in the classroom. “They have so much to teach our youth, but there aren’t a lot of those types of skills that are taught in schools. If we, as parents, aren’t taking the time and teaching our young children as they grow into teens and then adults, teens really have a disadvantage. They really struggle.

According to Dees, financial literacy for kids really comes into play when they become teenagers. “A lot of them, come to fruition as they get their first job, whether they’re flipping burgers or working landscaping, or doing a car wash, whatever it is, and they get that money. Of course, they have a lot of wants at that point. They want to drive, they want the cellphone, they want, want. They have to really learn, just as we do adults, to manage our money better. If they don’t have good examples at home to help them get that established, or aren’t learning that through school or other avenues, they are really struggling with that,” Dees said.

Dees suggests teaching children as young as 5 or 6 about financial literacy, or whenever they first get money. “Maybe grandma sent them some money for their birthday or maybe there were some extra chores that they did to earn some money. Let’s sit down with that 15, 20 dollars that you got, and let’s talk about the importance of putting it away and saving it,” Dees said.

When a child with a parent comes into a bank to open an account, it’s really exciting for bankers. “We make it a big deal. It’s a lot of fun. We really encourage them to come in and deposit and they really enjoy that,” Dees said.

Kim Dees, Senior VP and Southern Arizona Division Manager, WaFd Bank

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