Learning how to handle money has to start at an early age.
Cal State Northridge's Consumer Resource Center, as a partner in the Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy, is joining more than 90 government agencies, educational institutions, trade associations and corporations in launching Financial Literacy for Youth Month this April.
"We are proud to be part of an effort to draw national attention to the need for K-12 students to obtain training in such personal finance basics as money management, saving and investing and the use of credit," said Allen Martin, director of CSUN's Consumer Resource Center. "These are essential life skills that young people must have by the time they go off to college or enter the workplace."
In observance of Financial Literacy for Youth Month, the center will be distributing information to help improve the financial literacy of young adults. In addition, the center's student volunteers will be working with at-risk youth throughout the San Fernando Valley, teaching them basic financial life skills.
"They will be working with children who live in group foster homes, teaching them the basics of personal finance like what is a savings account, what is a checking account, how to balance a check book, what is a credit card, the perils of credit and how to use credit effectively and how to rent an apartment," Martin said.
Martin said many of these "basic life skills" are what parents should be teaching their children.
"I really think we should be teaching our children some basic financial values," he said. "They need to learn how to set goals and the concept of delayed gratification. They need a reality check as to what it actually costs to live, such as how much it costs to insure a house and the importance of employee benefits."
Martin said there is a tendency to spoil children.
"They need to learn that they can't expect to have everything they want," he said. "They need to learn that they have to make choices, and their parents need to talk to them about the implications of these choices."
Parents also need to talk about financial planning with their children, Martin said.
"They should set up a savings account with their child where they are saving for a particular item," he said. "They should let that child see that money grow, and you might find sometimes that they don't want what they initially wanted to buy on impulse. They might want something more meaningful later on, and now they have the money saved up for it."
The Jump$tart Coalition, founded in 1997, is a non-profit organization with more than 90 partners working together to improve students' understanding of basic personal finance.
For more information about Jump$tart or Financial Literacy for Youth Month, visit the coalition's web site at www.jumpstartcoalition.org. For a copy of age-appropriate lessons to teach children, call CSUN's Consumer Resource Center at (818) 677-4726.
California State University, Northridge has more than 27,000 full- and part-time students and offers 48 bachelor's and 39 master's degrees. Founded in 1958, it is the only four-year university in the San Fernando Valley.
Public Affairs Offices/Campus News