EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — April is celebrated as National Financial Literacy Month — a good time to start teaching young ones how to manage money.
The Texas Education Code requires school districts that offer high school programs to incorporate financial literacy lectures in their curriculums, and many El Paso County school districts are including it even before students get to high school.
Ysleta Independent School District told KTSM 9 News that they start with teaching kindergarteners about earning income and buying gifts. Later on, second-grade students learn how to open a bank account and progress to learning about budgeting, credit cards going closer toward high school.
In Socorro Independent School District, the students are required to take Career and Technical Education Program, which are usually taken in their sophomore year.
El Paso Independent School District says they also follow the TEC requirements.
Many parents decide to include teaching these skills in their children’s upbringing as well. Marisol Clausen, a mother of four, started incorporating financial literacy lessons early on.
“Letting them help me at the grocery store, we’re talking about brands and which one costs more and if it’s better quality,” explained Clausen about one of the ways she introduced these lessons to her children.
Now that her children are tweens and teens, she requires them to do daily chores that they get paid in the form of an allowance.
“If there’s a ‘Nerf that they want, or any type of toy, they need to earn the allowance and pay for it themselves,” said Clausen, adding that her older children pay for their phone bills as well.
She emphasized communication and transparency in the household about money. She said these conversations can help children learn from their parents mistakes, but also from their financial triumphs.
With the new cash-less world, piggy banks are becoming just a decoration object.
Gregg Murset, CEO of BusyKid , started his mobile app that allows children to get paid for chores and have their payroll directly deposited onto their debit cards from their parents bank account.
“They work really hard, they earn that money, you put it on that card and then they go swipe it and then they realize ‘oh, wait, that’s how money works,'” said Murset, explaining how teaching children about using debit and credit cards early on will help them be more rational with money stay out of debt.
He said when it comes to lessons, books and watching videos on financial literacy will help, but giving your children the opportunity to learn and make mistakes first-hand will stick with them once they grow up.
His app BusyKid allows children to manage their money into three directions: to buy fractional shares of stock, donate to charity and spending money with a card to learn how “virtual” money works.
Clausen said her children often splurge on unnecessary things, as she would expect them to, but she believes that the lessons don’t pay off until long term, “when they’re on their own, that’s when they remember their lessons or how mom and dad lived their life,” she said.