Three Legs of the Financial Education Stool
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Parents and teachers sometimes run out of ideas to talk about money with kids. At these times, consider three legs of financial education. There are great Money Moments in each.

Knowledge - When most people think "education," they think about knowledge. This is the information - the concepts - that children need to understand. For example, a youngster needs to know what the different denominations of money are.

Skills - Next, kids need to acquire skills. Money skills include things like how to count change, how to figure interest, or how to reconcile a checking account. It also includes things like how to use an ATM or how to research a stock to buy.

Behaviors - The most often neglected area is behaviors, values and habits. Saving and spending behaviors are the most common. How credit cards are (or are not) used are learned behaviors, too.

What is most important as you build your financial education strategy is to
include all three elements. Train yourself to watch for opportunities. Perhaps you will want to start lists for knowledge, skills and behaviors, breaking topics into age groups.

Conceptually, this is easy stuff. You are simply asking yourself this:
  1. Is there a knowledge need?
  2. What skills can we practice?
  3. Are there behaviors or values to discuss?
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Examples of Knowledge, Skills & Behaviors
  • Recognize coin denominations
  • Understand wants and needs
  • Basic math skills
  • Recognize peer pressure
  • Save regularly
  • Use credit wisely
  • Confidence to say "no"
  • Make change for $10
  • Evaluate wants & needs
  • Figure interest or borrowing costs