During the month of May, I will be working with a local school, in Victoria, BC, to teach Financial Literacy to Grade 7 Students. Acting as a volunteer, I will deliver curriculum developed by Junior Achievement Canada, also known as, JA Canada. JA is a global charity that educates youth on business - including work readiness, financial literacy, and entrepreneurship.
In preparation for delivering the materials, it dawned on me that I am totally disconnected from the knowledge youth have in regards to financial literacy.
What do they know? AND, What don't they know?
I posed this question to a colleague who shared a sweet story of her own son. Her son opened a bank account at a young age. At some point, he went to the bank to deposit or withdraw money. The teller suggested that he was likely ready for his first debit card - if he wanted it. He declined. His mom and the teller were slightly miffed - unsure of his hesitation.
On the drive home, she asked him why he declined the offer of the new debit card.
His response, "I don't want the hassle of reloading it."
This made complete sense to me, as many kids first experience with a 'money card' would be a gift card of some kind. Maybe for Starbucks or Tim Hortons - and of course - it's reloadable.
It seems there is a lot they need to learn about money and finances in general.
Here are some of the core concepts to be explored through the JA Curriculum:
Types of Currency - students may not realize that when traveling, their local currency isn't Universal. And, that when exchanging Canadian funds, they'll receive more or less than their initial contribution.
Forms of Payment - although most kids might recognize things like debit and credit cards, they may be less familiar with things like personal cheques, money orders, or electronic funds transfer.
The Shifting Value of Money over Time - Inflation - students will learn that the cost of a car or home in the 1950's (as an example) will be less than the cost now.
The Influences for our Purchasing Decisions - students will learn that things like price, convenience, peers, celebrities, brands, sales people, and availability all influence our purchasing decisions.
Framework for Purchasing - students will learn to leverage a specific framework for making SMART purchasing decisions.
Online Shopping and Safety - students will learn to avoid email phishing scams and identify 'safe' websites versus those which are more unsecured.
Needs, Wants and Goals - using examples like a book bag, car for work, and cell phone, students will have to determine whether the item is a need, a want or a goal. I wonder in which category the 'cell phone' will fall?!
Investing and Borrowing - helping students to see the difference between the cost of borrowing and the return on investing.
Finally, students will learn how to draft a mock budget. In addition, they will learn to consider what is needed when there is a loss of income or if something in the budget ends up costing more than anticipated.
I am so excited to deliver the material and see what kind of dialogue and discussion it evokes.
If you have kids or spend time with youth, you might wonder where to start if you'd like to encourage financial literacy. I found the following article from the blog at YNAB.com where Dad, Todd Curtis, discusses his approach to budgeting with his kids.
See Article Here: Budgeting and Dave the Minion
Todd discusses how he encourages his kids to align their money with their priorities - which he says they're really good at. He says one of his kids wants a plush Minion - specifically Dave the Minion. If you're not sure what a minion is, see photo below.
Although the plush toy is only $12.99, and Todd could easily buy it for his son, he encourages his son to add Dave the Minion as a line item, to his budget and save his own money so he can buy it. Todd sees the value in having 'Dave the Minion' listed in the budget, rather than 'Toys' or just plain 'Minion'. The specificity creates more focus for kids - I'm sure the same is true for adults.
I hope to share with you any insights I gain from teaching financial literacy with this Grade 7 class. My first day in the classroom will be May 3rd - stay tuned!
Finally, I thought you'd enjoy the video below, courtesy of CIBC, which captures where kids think money comes from.
CIBC Video of Kids and Money - Kids Thoughts on Money: Where Does Money Come From?
Do you have any real-world advice for explaining money to kids? If so, would you share it here?