JA Highlands News

It's Back to School Time: Parents, Volunteer to Empower Kids with Lifelong Money Skills

As the school year begins, students are excited about making new friends, getting good grades, and enjoying extracurricular activities. Parents look forward to continuing to guide their children along their academic journey, and can also support their children's education by volunteering in local schools.

More than 25 percent of U.S. adults volunteered for an organization during the year ending in September 2012, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. While a significant number of people are making an effort to give back, the data reveal that about three-quarters of our citizens are not volunteering.

What better way to help shape our nation's future than by personally investing in our young people's success?

As students head back to the classroom, there are some important subjects that many of them won't be taught: how to create and use a budget, how to use credit, and how to prepare for the world of work.

The basics of money management—financial literacy—are essential life skills. Although the economy continues to recover, most would agree that better financial decision-making would have helped prevent the recession in the first place.

Managing money needs to be taught early, before students head off to college or enter the workforce. A recent study by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau revealed that student loan debt is at more than $1 trillion, with more than 7 million borrowers currently in default.

Parents may want to consider volunteering at their children's school to teach a financial literacy program that can help students learn and apply essential money and job skills. Junior Achievement of Polk County works with local schools to bring financial literacy, work-readiness and entrepreneurship programs into classrooms from kindergarten through 12th grade.

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