“Money Matters,” a play that opened last weekend in Cambridge, Mass., demonstrated the financial wit of its teenage actors at the same time that they – and the audience – embraced the complexities of money.
Credit versus debt, income differences among classmates, money and relationships, certificates of deposit, needs versus wants – this only scratches the surface of the subject matter in the Youth Underground theater production, which begins touring the Boston area in February.
The actors clearly were having fun, but their performance served as an educational tool that might be replicated. For example, the screenplay was based on the actors and other teenagers’ 80-some interviews of community residents about their financial viewpoints and mishaps. The stories generated ideas for the vignettes that were stitched into a screenplay.
“Very eye-opening!” audience member Cameron Netland, 16, said after the performance.
“I learned the difference between saving and spending and between debit and credit!” said Aaliyah Nathan, 14, who, wearing black suede boots to the performance, admitted a weakness for new shoes. …Learn More
The Boston Globe is providing a cool list of holiday toys for your children, to help them learn early and often about handling money – while it can still make a difference. In July, Squared Away wrote about another idea that would make a fine gift – call it “not your average piggy bank.” A May blog post was about a great book to teach children about what bank accounts are all about.Learn More
Susan Beacham’s company has sold nearly one million of its piggy bank with four slots – for spending, saving, donating, and investing. She has now developed an iPhone application based on the iconic pig.
Children who use the clear blue piggy bank like to watch their money clink to the bottom of one of the four separate sections in the pig’s innards. Beacham has developed an entire curriculum around the four choices. The Money Savvy Pig has been adopted as a teaching tool by more than 200 Chicago public schools and by school systems in Seattle, North Dakota, Europe, and elsewhere.
The idea behind the game app, called “Savings Spree,” is the same: to help children “strengthen the muscle of choice and, therefore, their self-regulation and self-control,” said Beacham, chief executive of Money Savvy Generation Inc., a small, mission-driven company employing four people. …
Paul Solman, a business reporter in Boston for the NewsHour on PBS, put together an excellent piece about educating preschool children about saving. In it, Solman interviews Grover and the children of behavioral economist David Ariely of Duke University, among others.
The piece discusses a research study on self-control among young children, which was covered recently by Squared Away.
Young readers have given a thumbs-up to the new children’s book, “I Got Bank!”
The book is about 10-year-old Jazz Elliott, who follows the frugality lesson his late granddad taught him: he has saved $2,000 in a bank account.
Beverly Moss’ after-school reading of “I Got Bank!” The students, counter-clockwise, are: Jaida, Saba, Kevin, Ellen, Anthony, Yaovi, Jepherson, Carlos, and Kent.
On Friday afternoons in May, eight- to 12-year-olds take turns reading the book aloud during the after-school program at the Mission Park Apartments in Boston. It elicits all kinds of discussion.
One of the readers, Ellen, had a Eureka moment after librarian Beverly Moss explains how regular savings accounts work.
“Oh, that’s an interest rate!” Ellen said.
The book’s author, Teri Williams, is also president of a bank that is giving away free copies of “I Got Bank!” to grade schools and after-school programs. Williams, who grew up in a low-income housing project in Bridgeport, Connecticut, said she wrote the book to help children who have similar backgrounds start learning financial skills. …Learn More
It’s been well-established that most people have low levels of financial literacy and struggle to manage and plan their personal finances. Now two Wisconsin researchers have taken the conversation to the next level by trying to explain why.
According to their study, featured in a webinar posted online today, the financial literacy of people entering retirement is significantly determined by high school IQ level or by whether the individual took high-level math classes in school.
University of Wisconsin professors Pamela Herd and Karen Holden arrived at this finding by analyzing 6,000 individuals from a unique longitudinal data set of people who graduated from Wisconsin high schools in 1957 – and were in their mid-60s at the time of the study. …Learn More
Professionals trying to improve Americans’ financial literacy pour time and energy into developing school curricula that will help create a generation of financially competent adults.
But something else we can instill in our children may have a greater influence than education on their financial success later in life: self-control.
A recent study, led by researchers at Duke University and King’s College London and published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that the self-control children develop as early as age 3 – before formal schooling begins – is a powerful predictor of whether they will save more as adults or will be hooked on credit cards.
“Poor self-control in childhood was a stronger predictor of these financial difficulties than study members’ social class origins and IQ,” the authors concluded. …Learn More