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As Economy Slips, Nationwide Push To Teach Kids About Personal Finance

DoughMainprovides actionable tips to help parents teach financial education at home during down economy

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--FinovateFall 2011-As our economy threatens to slip into yet another recession and Americans become increasingly worried about economic volatility, the importance of teaching financial education to our children has become more critical than ever. According to the Jump$tart Coalition's biennial survey of financial literacy, high school seniors answered only 48.3 percent of the questions correctly.

“While some schools across the country are beginning to cover select topics of financial literacy, parents should also actively teach financial education on a daily basis at home by creating ‘teachable moments’ to avoid a future generation of financially illiterate adults.”

A nationwide push has begun to prevent future generations from making critical money mistakes that could haunt them long after they graduate from college. Starting this 2011 – 2012 school year, an increased number of school districts across the country have begun to take notice of the importance of financial literacy amongst our youth, with 14 states now mandating some form of financial education be taught in the classroom. DoughMain, a free financial education and family organization website, offers tips to help parents teach children and young adults about money matters and the importance of financial planning and financial education.

“The economic uncertainty in our country right now is palpable, and how this is trickling down to our youth is a very important part of the conversation,” said Kenneth Damato, president and chief executive officer of DoughMain. “While some schools across the country are beginning to cover select topics of financial literacy, parents should also actively teach financial education on a daily basis at home by creating ‘teachable moments’ to avoid a future generation of financially illiterate adults.”

DoughMain offers the following tips to help parents teach their kids about money matters in this uncertain economy:

  • Don’t Be Afraid to Discuss Money: Parents are often more prepared to talk to their children about sex, alcohol or bullying than they are to discuss finances and money values. But parents are urged to start financial literacy education with children who are as young as 5 years old. Kids learn about the importance of money and financial planning by hearing about it often — and from a trusted source, such as their parents. For younger kids, start with issues of spending, such as the relative costs of things like toys and ice cream. For older kids, discuss the family’s monthly payment obligations, insurance policies, or by showing them the steps needed to balance the family check book after a summer of spending.
  • Create a Family Savings Plan: Whether you are planning an outing to a local amusement park or an upcoming family vacation, set a savings goal to get every member of the family involved in saving money to fund the activity. As a group, figure out how much the whole trip will cost. Include admission fees, travel expenses, food, souvenirs, etc. Then talk about ways everyone can contribute so you’ll reach your goal. Discuss and practice ways to save through wise spending choices (eating in vs. dining out) and ways everyone in the family can earn money to put toward the family trip. When spending decisions come up — such as “I want that new toy!” — your family can discuss how important an item is when compared to the family’s savings goal.
  • Keep Track of Expenses Together: The next time your family is planning a day out, sit down with your child and have them guess the total expenses for the activity. As the day progresses, every time you pay for something have your child write down what you paid for and how much it was. After the day is over, have your child look at the list with you and see how much you spent. Discuss with your child how important it is to keep track of your expenses so you know how you spent your money and if you stayed in budget.
  • Explain Monthly Bills: Most children do not have monthly bills. Their parents pay for the utilities, cell phones and school bills, so how can we teach them about the importance of monthly expenses? Try this exercise at home to give them a taste of bill paying. Sit down with your child and go through your monthly cell phone bill. Pull out how much your child’s plan is worth and discuss the importance of paying bills on time. The idea of paying bills on time is extremely important to having a financially healthy lifestyle.
  • Get a Bank Account. Banks are more than money in a vault. They offer valuable services that your child can benefit from like check cashing, debit cards, online banking, balance alerts, personal loans and direct deposit. Explain all of these services so they understand the value and benefits. Then get down to putting savings into the account. You can also look to use high yield online savings accounts that earn good interest.

DoughMain’s innovative gaming websites and tools encourage learning about finances through interactive play, making the process fun and engaging for both parents and children. For more ideas and tools to help teach kids about money matters through real-world experiences, visit DoughMain.com.

About DoughMain

DoughMain is the first and only service to combine family coordination and financial education into one simple and convenient platform. Helping families manage their lives while empowering them to become better educated about money, DoughMain offers a suite of on- and off-line services, including an integrated family calendar, chore tracker, allowance/rewards tool and three age-relevant gaming websites: TheFunVault.com (ages 5 and up), SandDollarCity.com (ages 8-12) and IRuleMoney.com (ages 13-18). To learn more about DoughMain, please visit DoughMain.com.



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