One thing you may not know is that April is National Finance Literacy Month. This is the time to educate yourself (as well as your teens and kids) about finances. As parents, we teach our children so many things. We talk about Stranger Danger. We teach them respect and discipline. We even discuss the birds and the bees. One thing that I hear more and more parents tell me they share with their kids is finances (and that thrills me). However, as with these other topics, we sometimes need a little help with how to strike up the conversation or even thoughts as to what they should know.
H&R Block Dollars & Sense has teamed up with DoSomething.org to help increase the importance and awareness of financial literacy. Of course, when you are dealing with teens, you’ve got to give them a reason to stay focused. This might do the trick!! They’ve started “The Craziest Thing I Did to Save Money” which encourages young people to share stories about the quirky and off-beat things they have done to save up, while receiving real-life advice about managing finances without going to such extremes. Teens can participate through a Facebook experience, text messaging game, humorous videos and opportunities to win more than $30,000 in scholarships. Here is how they can do just that:
- Facebook App: Using the Craziest Thing I Did To Save Money Facebook app, young people can upload photos, stories and advice to share with their friends and receive advice on smart ways to save money. Participants have the chance to win a $4,000 scholarship.
- Mobile: By texting “WYR” to 38383, teens can weigh in on ridiculous ways to save money and receive more reasonable money-saving advice.
- Toolkit: More than $30,000 in scholarships is up for grabs for young people who use the “Mind On My Money & Money On My Mind” toolkit to teach their friends about personal finance.
This toolkit has some great valuable lessons which you can access for free. When you get to their site, you can find a link to access three great money saving lessons:
- Check Yourself Before Your Wreck Yourself: How and Why Budgeting Is Important, How to Budget Your Daily Life
- I Got 99 Payments: Student Loans, Paying for College and What Jay Z Has To Do With it
- Life In Plastic – Mind on my Money: Learning about Credit Cards
These free downloads will help you and your teen discuss these topics in way to which they can relate. You might even — dare I say it — have FUN with your teen!!!! Your teen can actually learn this information from you and then help teach other teens these three topics. If they do this by April 30th and share it with DoSomething.org, they might be lucky enough to win a $10,000 scholarship (sponsored by both parties)!! (Check out the site for the details).
This is not just about getting free money for college. What these two companies want most of all is for parents to have these talks and educate their kids while they are still living at home. This can help avoid those frantic phone calls from their adult children crying that they have no money and can’t cover their bills. It can help our children avoid making some of the money mistakes many of us have made over the years. By teaching basic financial skills while they are still in high school, you can help to lay the future for their financial success. That is all we want as parents. We want our children to be happy, healthy and independent — and a solid financial education contributes to this as much as anything else.
I really admire H&R Block Dollars & Sense and DoSomething.org for stepping up and offering the resources parents need to help educate their children. Make sure you follow both the website and Facebook page as this is an ongoing process as there is so much to learn about personal finances. It never stops.