Sunday, February 28, 2010

Make Sure Your Kids Know Whats 'Behind' the Dotted Line

How prepared are your children when it comes to the daily financial decisions an independent person makes on a daily basis?

Parents, think back to what you've done the last week.  Possibly paid the mortgage, balanced your check book, filled out FAFSA forms, or worked on your taxes?  How much calculus or geometery was needed to complete any of these items?

The majority of high schools do not require personal finance classes to graduate, nor  offer classes in personal finance. 

How many students take on loans in order to attend college, not truly understanding what is involved in the re-payment.  In their determination to go to college, they sign away not realizing all that comes with being indebted. 

I'm not saying student loans are bad.  I am saying that signing a loan, lease agreement, mortgage, or any financial document without having learned the math - before signing on the dotted line.

How many young people are going to start their 'adult lives' indebted without knowing exactly how they got there, nor the best way to get out from under it. 

Knowing the basics of personal finance is important skill set to have in order to be able to make the transition from living with their parents to living on their own.  Understanding exactly what their personal debt/income ratio or the value in budgeting and planning for their financial obligations is too important to not be properly prepared for.

Credit cards are given out like candy, with the details of the relationship in ultra fine print.  They are too easy to rely on - often during the very circumstances one shouldn't use credit for, and perhaps should do without.  With readily available credit, it makes it too easy to be impulsive in their purchases, especially if they don't have the knowledge that would enlighten them as to why they should NOT charge what they can't afford.

If your school system isn't providing this class, then perhaps you should at home.  Open the door to those 'grown up' financial discussions and invite your fledgling adult in to listen and learn.  Show them the skills they need to spread their wings on their own successfully.

From my perspective, we teach them to look both ways before crossing the road, we should teach them to look behind the fine print and know what their signing.

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