The National Foundation for Credit Counseling (“NFCC”) previously surveyed peoples’ opinions of their mother’s personal finance skills in a Financial Literacy Survey (“FLS”). An overwhelming majority, 65 percent, saw their mother as either someone who is intimidated by money, views managing money as a necessary evil, or has never managed money.
What mothers may not realize is that a lack of financial skills has the potential to negatively impact not only their future, but also that of their children, as negative habits are picked up as readily as positive ones. Mothers have the opportunity to influence multiple generations by improving their own personal financial abilities.
Consider the following statistics:
- According to Career Builder, nearly 81 percent of American working women say they’re living paycheck to paycheck.
- The typical single parent is the mother; therefore the sole responsibility is placed on her to demonstrate and teach sound financial habits.
- Fewer than half of the states require a course in personal finance for graduation from high school. Accordingly, only five percent of FLS respondents indicated schools were their main source of personal finance skills.
- It can be difficult to think about putting any money aside. According to a study conducted by the Federal Reserve Board, 40 percent of Americans could not come up with $400 to cover an emergency expense, or would do so by borrowing money or selling something.
These survey results underscore the importance of financial education in the home. Fortunately, there is no lack of personal finance education materials available. The bookshelves are filled with financial self-help information and solid advice can be found online at no-cost at credit.org’s FIT (Financial Instructional Training) Academy. This Mother’s Day plan a gift to yourself and your children by participating in a lesson in personal finance.
It’s never too late to start. The first ste p is for mothers to take advantage of the opportunities available to improve their grasp of personal finance; then look for teachable moments to demonstrate those new skills to the children. After all, the gift of financial literacy is a gift that lasts a lifetime.
The actual poll question and answer choices are below:
Thinking of my mom and personal finance, I’d say she:
- Is pretty savvy managing money, and enjoys it = 35%
- Is intimidated by financial matters, and avoids them = 21%
- Sees managing money as a necessary evil, and doesn’t enjoy it = 26%
- Has never managed money on her own =18%
Note: The NFCC’s April Financial Literacy Opinion Index was conducted via the homepage of the NFCC Web site. A portion of content for this post was courtesy of the NFCC: www.nfcc.org.