Media Contact
Rich Batten
Colorado Department of Human Services
303.866.3808
Maggie Spain
The Bawmann Group
303.320.7790

February 20, 2009

Teaching Your Children Money Matters

As the nation grips with the current economic crisis, there is an important generation to consider when analyzing the ramifications – our children. How they handle their money will have a tremendous impact on the decades to come. Parents have a responsibility to educate their children on how to manage their finances and Colorado dads are now helping their children make every penny count.

According to Junior Achievement, Rocky Mountain, Inc., fathers should engage in an open dialogue with their children about financial issues. The non-profit organization recommends considering these six easy steps when discussing money management with your children:

1. Set Goals. Have your child list their short-term and long-term financial goals. A long-term goal may be to attend college or buy a car. Going on a summer trip may be a short-term goal. By setting a due date for their goals, children can track their progress and be flexible and realistic over time.

2. Develop a budget. Unless people track their money, they can’t budget effectively. Have your child write down everything they spend money on for one month. At the end of the month, have them total their expenses and use that amount to create a realistic monthly budget.

3. Start saving. Encourage your children to open savings accounts. Teach them to always save a portion of their paychecks or allowance for emergencies or to help reach their long-term financial goals. As their income rises, so should the percentage they save each month.

4. Manage credit wisely. Credit can help teenagers meet their financial goals, establish positive credit histories and cover emergency expenses. Help your child open one credit card with a low interest rate and a credit limit of $500 or $1,000. Make sure you also explain to them how important it is to pay more than the minimum payment amount each month.

5. Take responsibility. It’s important for children to learn that they are in control of their money from an early age. You won’t be around forever. Remind your children to always read the fine print, do the math and not be pressured into signing things quickly.

6. Learn more. There’s a lot of free financial information available for fathers and children. Specifically, the Federal Reserve education Web site – www.federalreserveeducation.org, offers personal financial education information and links to other useful resources. Additional information can also be found on the Junior Achievement Web site at www.jacolorado.org.

“In today’s age of 24/7 news, children are paying attention to stories focused on the stock markets and the economy,’” said Rich Batten, fatherhood and family specialist with the Colorado Department of Human Services. “By teaching children the importance of spending money wisely at an early age, fathers can help them avoid catastrophic mistakes later in life.”

In October 2006, the Colorado Department of Human Services, Colorado Works Division was awarded a $10 million federal grant over five years to strengthen father/child relationships and improve parenting. Colorado is one of two locations nationwide, including Washington, D.C., to receive this federal community access grant. The Responsible Fatherhood Initiative distributes more than $1.2 million in community awards to state, community and faith based organizations to assist in providing direct services to fathers and families. Awards of up to $50,000 are distributed per program per fiscal year. For more information on a fatherhood program in your community, please visit www.coloradodads.com.