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Hey Money Boss...

By Dian Vujovich

Believe it or not, when it comes to teaching your kids all the ins and outs of money, like how to invest, spend, save and give, it’s not the schools that are the best teachers but their moms and dads. At least that’s what the latest research shows.

That’s an awfully troubling conclusion, if you ask me, particularly when most of the parents I know and speak with admit to knowing little about money management and financial literacy issues. Even those with assets in the $25 million plus arena often know beans about their beans.

But, according to new study from The University of Arizona’s Pathways to Life Success (APLUS), if you want your kids to learn not to live beyond their means, how to save and use credit cards wisely, the best role models are their parents.

If you’re stuck on how to begin your financial lesson plan, start by making sure your kid gets a job. Any kind of job. APLUS’s research showed that young people with work experience develop better behavior, more positive financial attitudes and wind up better off then kids who don’t.

That means the sooner you send your little darlings off into the work force, the better. Even when jobs are hard to find as they are today, an encouraging parent and a creative kid can still come up with something. If McDonald’s isn’t hiring, suggest mini-entrepreneuring and help them develop some service skills they can offer to neighbors and friends. Jobs like baby-sitting and helping someone clean their homes, garages or apartments might sound corny but they do pay more than minimum wage and are terrific ways for kids to begin to learn about money management.

Seventy-three percent of the 2000 young people between the ages of 18 and 25 in this study admitted to maxing out their credit cards and not paying their bills on time. Twenty percent, taking out payday loans or using one credit card to pay off another. Those aren’t good habits for you anyone to partake in.

So step up to the plate, mom and dad. This isn’t a put-your-head-in-the-sand kind of deal. And who knows, perhaps the lessons learned will serve you as much as it does your children.

Learn more at: http://www.nefe.org/APLUS.

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