The basics of financial literacy include budgeting, saving, goal setting, and taxes. Mastery of these critical skills early on in one’s life can open opportunities for financial success. The skills also allow us to more clearly understand the potential costs and benefits of financial decisions. Our personal decisions have higher stakes as children transition through high school and consider higher education, whether that includes college, trade school, or advanced degrees beyond a bachelors’ degree. Beyond schooling, financial literacy informs our decisions on jobs and businesses.

As mastery of financial literacy skills raises the standard of living for individuals, it can do the same thing for communities. The establishment of small businesses is often the lifeblood of a community. The ability of those businesses to survive challenges and grow requires understanding of the basics of budgeting, saving, goal setting, and taxes.

Kreischer Miller often discusses transition planning for privately held businesses, including those owned by families. Orderly transitions and “emergency” transitions both call on owners to have a framework with which to make decisions about the business. These decisions are difficult at the best of times but can be made even more so if there are stakeholders involved who have no knowledge of finances.

An April 1, 2021 article by Daniel Kurt in Investopedia notes that “Research, including influential work by David Whitebread and Sue Bingham of the University of Cambridge, suggests that many of our financial habits are set by age seven. If good habits aren’t formed early, it becomes harder and harder to point your offspring in the right direction.” While parents strive to help their children learn, age seven is much earlier than most are expecting to have already formed critical habits. Those habits are really about the foundational mindset. True financial literacy builds on the foundation.

Schools do not always provide an education in financial literacy. There are, however, a great deal of resources available on the internet to help parents and other adults teach children financial literacy. Here are some of those resources:

  • The Investopedia article referenced above gives some practical examples of ways to work with young children. They start with using an allowance for chores and work up to the possibility of allowing children to invest in individual stocks.
  • The National Financial Educators Council has free resources for use at home or school. These include class materials, activities, and games for ages three to eighteen.
  • Many of the large financial institutions provide materials on their websites and support organizations like the Goalsetter Foundation, which partners with the National Basketball Association to fulfill its mission: “to ensure that every kid in America knows that they are worthy of wealth, and teaching them how to build it.”
  • Junior Achievement provides resources for courses in elementary school, middle school, and high school. The classes can be taught by volunteers and cover financial literacy, entrepreneurship, and work readiness. The programs can be used as part of the school day, in afterschool programs, and in virtual settings.
  • The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) offers free resources on financial literacy at org. These are aimed at adults, but offer great opportunities for older teens and for families to work together with older children on setting financial goals.

The ability to manage money, including setting goals and budgeting, benefits both individuals and communities. It is never too early to start working with children on the basics. My father often shares a quote I said as a young girl. I told my father and granddad that “money is for spending.” That seems to be the first lesson we absorb, but further lessons taught me the value of saving and planning, too. We, as individuals, communities, and businesses, will all be better off if the next generations have those skills and are empowered to build wealth while serving others.


Jennifer L. Kreischer can be reached at Email" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Email or 215.441.4600.

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