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Mastering Money

[Sep 17, 2007.]


For a teenager, turning 16 means nabbing that first drivers' license, securing that first job, and earning that first paycheck. But it can also be an age of rude awakening, as a teen must, often for the first time, deal with money matters.

Unfortunately, many teens don't know the first thing about juggling car payments, managing credit cards, or calculating finance charges. As a result, a number of schools and other organizations are now placing new emphasis on financial skills.

A just-released survey by VISA USA shows the sorry state of money management these days. Nearly half of those surveyed—41%—had to teach themselves how to master money or learned "the hard way" through the school of hard knocks. 48% learned money management techniques from their parents, which should be encouraging news for parents who wonder whether they're having a real impact on the lives of their teens.

If the VISA survey is any indication, schools have a long way to go in terms of teaching money management. Only 5% of the adults surveyed learned about money management in elementary school or high school. However, it's unclear whether the subject was never taught, or whether the respondents simply forgot what they might have learned.

Still, a whopping 91% of respondents believe that financial education should be taught in each high school in America. The high percentage indicates that many adults realize that their own financial know-how has been seriously lacking and they want to ensure that their children and their friends' children don't make the same money mistakes that they did.

In response to the problem of financial illiteracy, VISA is offering an award-winning money management program known as "Practical Money Skills for Life." The program is being made available to parents, teachers, students, and other consumers. You can learn more about the program by visiting www.practicalmoneyskills.com.

Julie Ann Amos
September 17th 2007

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