Millions of American children are not ready for adulthood. Roughly one-fifth of U.S. children do not meet baseline levels for financial literacy proficiency.
In other words, they’re not ready to make a budget, handle monthly rent, and pay off student loan debt. They’re not ready for so-called “adulting,” when young adults are forced to take responsibility for their own lives and set themselves up for a cost-effective lifestyle.
That’s why personal finance is so important. On average, students who are required to take personal finance courses have better credit scores and lower rates of debt delinquency as young adults. They are also more likely to develop decent savings habits.
But parents can’t just rely on school. Only 17 U.S. states require a course in personal finance, leaving millions of students unequipped for the real world.
Fortunately, you can teach sound financial habits at home—and it works. According to a T. Rowe Price study, young adults who discussed money with their parents are not only more likely to have a budget and an emergency fund, but they’re also more likely to save for retirement. These young adults are better prepared to save 10 percent of their income instead of wasting it.
Parents can prepare their children by teaching them on a daily basis. There’s no crash course in personal finance—it should be taught whenever life presents teachable moments. Stuart Ritter, a senior financial planner at T. Rowe Price, put it this way: “This shouldn’t be ‘The Money Talk’ the day before they go off to college—it’s about everyday teachable moments, starting early and covering all of the topics.”
The more you teach your children, the wealthier they will become.