Money & Career
Helping Teens Learn Necessary Financial Skills
5/3/2018 10:05:01 PM
Teens and Money

Congratulations to the teens and tweens finding summer jobs. And cheers to those who work during the school year. But what happens to those paychecks and tips at the end of the month, or even at the end of the year? Some families depend on part of that money to make ends meet. For some, the money goes into an account for college or post high school plans. For others, who knows what happens to that cash beyond lattes, video games, and manicures?

For students and their families in that last category, there is hope. Most parents have difficulty talking about the family finances and having full financial disclosure around the dinner table.  While realistic family money discussions are vital in the learning process, there is an excellent finance literacy education package available free to all schools. It provides the tools students need and a solid base for future financial decisions.

Louisiana is the only state since the Great Recession and financial crisis in the late 2000s to reduce personal finance education standards in high school, according to John Pelletier, Champlain College Center for Financial Literacy. "In the past, all students were required to take a half-year civics course that included an estimated 7.5 hours of personal finance instruction. Now Louisiana requires that personal finance be offered as part of another existing course of study.”

To that end, there are currently two pieces of legislation in Baton Rouge addressing the issue of student financial literacy. House Bill 504 and Senate Bill 315 which, briefly stated, require high school students to receive financial literacy education prior to graduation.  

"It is critical that we equip students with the basic understanding of how our economy functions,” said Paul Lungaro, Vice President with Capital One Bank. "Money is the tool used to transact all business dealings and teaching young people to utilize this tool will better prepare them to create and manage their personal budgets as they enter adult life and the workforce.”

Lungaro, along with volunteers throughout Southwest Louisiana, takes time on a regular basis to work with Junior Achievement (JA) and JA Director Susan Percle to equip area students with the knowledge they need to make smart financial decisions.  JA, with sponsorship from CITGO and Capital One Bank, hosts the JA Financial Park program for eighth through twelfth grade students, introducing them to personal finance and career explorations. It includes classroom instruction on careers, salaries, taxes, investing, banking, and budgeting. At the end of the classroom instruction there is a one-day simulation during which students take their newly learned skills to the next level, assuming family duties and varied income scenarios. These can include health crises, career advancements, over extended credit, and the many challenges facing real families. Lungaro recalls one student remarking, "Wait, we have to pay for water?” during the simulation. Certainly, a teachable moment.

"This experience is quite eye opening for the students and definitely gets them thinking about what they need to do to set themselves up for the future of their dreams,” said Denise Rau, CFP, Rau Financial Group, and a regular JA volunteer. "Many comment that they now understand why their parents can’t give them everything they want. Hopefully they will decline the barrage of credit cards offered to them the instant they graduate from high school.”
Posted by: Deborah Hacker Serra | Submit comment | Tell a friend

Categories: Finances

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