The end of the school year is fast approaching, so this week’s top reads are all about students and financial literacy.

To kick us off, Michael F. Kay reveals a surprising statistic on how many parents are uncomfortable talking to their kids about saving for college and shares some resources to help you start the conversation. Ann Carrns of the New York Times discusses the renewed interest in teaching financial literacy in high school, and Laura Adams shares six money tips for recent college grads that they can apply now for a lifetime of financial success. Also, Tony Isola uses a new investing game with 10th and 12th graders to teach fundamental information about investing, and Shannon Schuyler sits down with Genein Letford to discuss the role of tech in financial literacy.

Looking for more advice for college grads? Chris Muller dives into benefits and insurance options that new employees can choose from, usually in their first month of employment, and Marguerita Cheng breaks down how to spend your first paycheck.

For more articles like this, check out Raghav’s two previous Top Reads posts here and here.

Give Your Graduates the Gift of Financial Know-how

The school year is nearing an end, and whether your child is about to receive a college diploma or is moving from pre-school into kindergarten, you may be reflecting on the money lessons you’ve taught him or her. According to the T. Rowe Price’s 11th Annual Parents, Kids and Money Survey, 36% of parents responded that they were uncomfortable talking with their kids about saving for college. With these statistics in mind, it’s likely that many parents haven’t done a great job preparing their children for spending and saving their money appropriately.

If you’re ready to start the conversation and help set your child on the path to financial success, (even if you are personally struggling with debt) you’ll find great resources in this article that will help you facilitate the discussion.

As College Debt Rises, So Does Interest in Teaching Financial Literacy

Financial literacy advocates say that the support for teaching children important money management skills in schools is taking off once again. The renewed interest comes as the result of increasing student loan debt, and more states are working to pass laws that would require students to complete personal finance courses before graduation.

Ms. Lusardi, at George Washington University, said research showed that one in five American high school students lacked even basic financial skills — such as the ability to interpret a pay stub to determine how much money will be deposited into their bank account or the savvy to avoid being tricked into sharing an online bank account logon.

If you’d like to find out whether your local high school offers personal finance classes, or you know that nothing is currently offered and you want to advocate for change, this article outlines the simple step you can take to help push for local classes. As we wait for more states to adopt financial literacy courses by way of the Groundswell initiative (aiming to increase programs by 2025 by 25%), Ann Carrns of the New York Times shares what we can do at home to help our children in the interim.

6 Tips for College Grads to Manage Money Like a Grownup

If your child has just graduated from college, they have much to be excited for and hopefully won’t let money worries dampen their happiness as they open the door to the next chapter of life. In this Quick and Dirty Tips article, Laura Adams provides six tips graduates can apply now that will foster a lifetime of financial success. From which bank accounts to have, to understanding student loan debt and how to invest, Adams covers it all!

The earlier you start saving, the less you’ll need to save over time. That’s because the magic of compounding allows you to earn interest on your interest, and that gives you a lot more bang for your buck,

Read the full article here.

Teaching The Right Lessons

Some schools use “The Stock Market Game” to teach students about investing, however the workings of the game forced Tony Isola to violate important investing principles that he had spent years learning. The Stock Market Game goes on for three months and uses “dangerous” short term speculation, with which Isola is all too familiar, thanks to his former career as a currency trader.

Teaching students about investing the right way is important, and is now possible thanks to a new game called STAX, created by Next-Gen Personal Finance. Rather than three months, STAX is a 20 year long game, lasting 20 minutes and giving the player cash to invest every 6 months, using real stocks (which remain nameless until the end of the game) and throwing real life events at the player (such as expensive emergencies, like car accidents). The game also allows you to choose between savings accounts, CDs, Bonds, Commodities, individual Stocks, and Index Funds.

Isola had a group of 10 to 12th graders play the game, and they learned important lessons about investing while having fun. To read about their experience and to find out more about STAX, read the full article here.

The Role of Tech in Financial Literacy

Shannon Schuyler, President of PwC Charitable Foundation spent Financial Literacy Month thinking about how technology will impact students and the management of their finances. Schuyler wanted to find out more about the ways in which we can help students, using technology, to further their financial literacy. In this article she speaks with award winning educator, Genein Letford, who has been working to bring the Access Your Potential® (AYP) initiative into classrooms, to ask her important questions on the subject of financial literacy education.

Letford discusses the value of teaching our younger generations about financial literacy, her top three lessons she instills in her students, and the ways she’s worked to make financial literacy topics relevant and interesting in the classroom.

For Letford’s thoughts on the evolving field of financial literacy education, read the full article here.

New Job? How To Sign Up For The Benefits You Need (And Which Ones To Skip)

Your recent college grad may be excited to begin their new career, and while there’s lots to learn at the office, there are other important decisions that also need to be made (usually within the first month of employment), including which health benefits to sign up for. Chris Muller of Money Under 30 outlines benefit options from medical and dental coverage to 401(k) and pension plans. Muller also covers other important topics when starting a new job, such as life insurance, vacation time, stock options, and more.

Read the full article here.

What to Do With Your First Paycheck

Your child has finally completed his or her scholarly journey and has started at their new workplace. Now that they have their benefits and insurance options sorted (thanks to the article above) they’ll have to decide what happens with their first paycheck. In this article, Marguerita Cheng of The Balance has come up with a list of tips for spending that long-awaited first pay. Among her advice:

  • Budgeting it – organize your expenses
  • Rainy days and Mondays – how to manage emergencies and special occasions
  • Understand the difference between net and gross pay, and what deductions are coming off your checks
  • Saving for your future – how to save with 401(k) and employer matching programs
  • How to tackle student loan debt

For Cheng’s full rundown of tips, read the full article here.


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