This post is about dependent children.  Another post on adult children and financial literacy is here:  http://agenomics.ca/?p=447

66% of respondents to a 2011 poll by the BC Securities Commission indicated that their parents/family taught them about financial matters.  http://www.investright.org/uploadedFiles/resources/studies_about_investors/National_Youth_Survey_Full_Report-25-10-11.pdf  This number isn’t surprising.  Parents should be the teachers of life skills, including financial skills.

A more recent initiative – Talk with our kids about money from the Canadian Foundation for Economic Education (CFEE)  http://talkwithourkidsaboutmoney.com/ , supported by BMO Financial Group, has some interesting ideas.  They have designated the third Wednesday in April as a day to emphasize the importance of talking to youth about money.  The website indicates:  CFEE has engaged both the creator and the former National Director of the Take Our Kids to Work Day to work with us on this new venture.

My thoughts on this (as a financial professional and a parent of two minor children):

1.  Great to see creative ideas to teach children but the issue really is about more than the nuts and bolts of financial instruments and institutions.  I’m concerned that a school curriculum will be dry and try to pack in too much information.   I haven’t seen a curriculum but the survey from the BC Securities Commission (mentioned above) leaves me concerned that we won’t be talking about ‘kid stuff’.  The survey includes a question on having a written financial plan, having RRSPs,  and saving for retirement.  This was a survey for mainly high school students!

2.  Financial matters are really about making informed choices.  Teach the kids how to assess options.  Let’s face it, the options they will face in their adult life time will be much different than those that we face.

3.  Financial matters are about personal responsibility and respecting yourself and those you are affecting by your choices.  Teach kids to understand that the financial choice they make, such as accepting a credit card, requires personal responsibility to accept the results of their spending actions and to have the maturity and morality to fulfill that responsibility.

4.  Financial decisions are about making choices today that affect your ability to make another choice in the future.  Teach kids about the hazards of immediate gratification,  At the same time, teach kids to be kind to themselves.  It’s never just about the goal – it’s also about the journey.

5. The website indicates:  CFEE has engaged both the creator and the former National Director of the Take Our Kids to Work Day to work with us on this new venture. I’d like to see the outcomes from the ‘take your children to work’ program.  I’ve often wondered about its purpose and effectiveness.  Since the same person has been recruited for the CFEE program this would be helpful information for parents.

There is nothing better than ‘leading by example’.  So parents – how are you doing with your finances?  Maybe getting your financial house in order could be a family project.  What a great way to teach your kids, even if they are learning about your mistakes!