Education Starts at Home

Recently I was having a conversation with Edna Williamson the director of the Wayne County Public Library where I live. She made the comment that our children need to be taught about money and investments because they just do not get that kind of education. She was encouraging me to maybe teach a class at the library specifically for the youth.

While this is of course a good idea, the responsibility of teaching our children falls on us as parents. However, therein lies the problem. How many adults know anything about investments? One of the most common comments I hear is … "I just do not understand that stuff." Why should we? It's not a required class in school the same way art, literature, mathematics or other subjects are required. Wayne County High School here in Jesup does offer a class as an elective but that in itself is not effective to create a somewhat educated society of financially responsible people. Such education is very necessary. This can be seen from the fact that there is a rise in bankruptcies, credit card debt, home foreclosures and rent-to-own furniture stores. As a society we are not responsible financially and the small percentage of us who are, for the most part, had to learn this on our own. Therefore, the question is why are we this way and how do we change?

Investing money is not about getting rich, although that can be a side benefit. Investing is about being smart and responsible. With that responsibility comes the requirement to educate ourselves, as well as, our children. Our parents may have taught us to save our money and put it in the bank. That is good but it is not enough and carries its own risks. Teaching our children to save is only the beginning. We should teach them, not necessarily the minute details of investing, but the value of investing and the value of seeking professional help. Some people are content to invest on their own but the major does not have the time or resources for this. Recommend to your children to use an advisor. Introduce them to your advisor and encourage them to ask questions. If your advisor is not willing to do this then you should consider whether he or she truly has your family's interests at heart. In any event, education is important and it starts at home with the parents. Educate your children. They will thank you for it later.

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