Do you know the difference between a 401(k) and an individual retirement account? Where can you find the routing number on a check?
Surprisingly, only 14 states require high school students to take a personal finance class in order to graduate, according to a 2011 survey conducted by the nonprofit Council for Economic Education. That number astonishes me.
Regardless of the career path a student chooses upon graduation, there is one shared necessity -- a firm grasp of personal finance management. Understanding loan and credit card terms, being able to accurately balance a checkbook and creating a budget are critical life skills.
Learning financial literacy at a young age not only helps students with managing their own finances, but will also enable them to understand business financial matters as they develop their careers.
Teaching financial lessons now
We are probably a long way from mandating personal finance lessons for children. Still, some great programs and initiatives are available now that can help teachers and parents get the education process and conversation started.
The Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy is a national coalition of organizations dedicated to improving the financial literacy of pre-kindergarten through college-age youth.
Junior Achievement is a nationwide program that connects today's business leaders with students through a variety of initiatives, such as scheduling business leaders is to speak to classrooms or allowing students to shadow a business professional for a day. Junior Achievement has many other financial literacy programs for students.
And Northwestern Mutual has a site called TheMint.org that offers great online financial tips and tools for kids, tweens, parents and teachers. You can learn various money management skills, from how to save and earn money to tracking spending and investing.
Most of us have learned about managing personal finances through trial and error. But these organizations are trying to show that there is a better way.
Christina Memorio is an SEO Specialist at Business Financial Services. Her content covers a broad spectrum of topics relevant to small business owners, from financial advice and alternative funding solutions to social media and content marketing practices for SMBs. Connect with BFS on Twitter and Facebook.