My name is Jill Suskind, and I have been a public school teacher for 25 years. A few years ago, I started to talk to my high school students about money. I am still amazed every time I bring up the subject.
- Many kids think that they will avoid money problems by doing well in school and getting good jobs–ones that pay high salaries.
- Others think they can’t avoid money problems because they don’t think they CAN get those good jobs, so they figure they’re just doomed.
- Some of my students think there’s nothing to learn–either you save money or you spend it. They are shocked when I tell them that they managing their money is part of making their life happen the way they want it to.
Every time I bring up the subject of money, someone in the class yells out, “Why don’t they teach us this? This is what we NEED to learn!” They tell me that the adults in their lives are not teaching them to think about and organize their money so it is a part of living a great life.
I can’t ignore their request. They are asking to learn a critical life skill, and for the most part, we are providing them with this education. Personally, I hear them because I was in the same boat.
My very academic, very successful parents did everything they could think of to teach me to do well with my money. They gave me an allowance for spending, an allowance for clothing, and I made some money as a babysitter when I was young. They instilled in me the values of living within my means, paying bills on time, and avoiding credit card debt. What I discovered, though, is that these are not the components of wealth building. I didn’t have a way to think about and organize my money so I could see the relationship between the way I was managing my money and my dreams and goals. I knew there was a connection, but I had no tools to use. I thought money was serious and complicated and restrictive. I thought I was broke because my teacher’s salary was too small.
After I took some brilliant courses, changed my beliefs about money and myself, changed my money management system, I found that my life changed dramatically. As a teacher, I knew I could teach this to teenagers in a way that no one else could. My strengths as a teacher are being creative, making learning relevant, and creating innovative lessons.
The first 12 live seminars I offered in the Boston area were hits–across the board! The students loved them and responded positively in every way. Parents and educators were excited to give the teens in their lives an experience that was motivating and relevant, rather than the usual classes that are quickly forgotten.
That’s what drives me on my mission: to prepare this generation of teens to meet the financial responsibilities of adulthood with confidence and competence.
The linchpin is YOU, parents and leaders of teens who are committed to raising children to live great lives. Over the years, I have had thousands of conversations with parents of teens, and I hear them saying the same things:
It’s very important! Now let’s talk about something else.
They should teach financial literacy courses in schools.
My teen doesn’t have enough money to manage.
My teen and I are too busy. wow! Look at the time, gotta run!
My teen will be fine. Let’s change the subject.
Let’s face it. This isn’t working. When kids get to college, they are DESPERATE for this education. Personal financial literacy courses are now the most popular ones on campus. University administrators state that they lose more students to credit card debt than to academic failure. 50.8% of college-age adults agree with this statement: “I have experienced repeated, unsuccessful attempts to control, cut back, or stop excessive money use.” The research is overwhelming, and the conclusions are all BAD. None of the research indicates that we are taking care of our children effectively in this area of life.
I believe with my whole heart that our culture doesn’t know how to prepare children so they are wealth builders…so it’s a normal, integral, organic part of living a great life. Parents don’t have great resources, the subject is taboo, and there’s a lot of finger-pointing and inadequate solutions.
I have established this blog and have created WealthQuest for Teens, Ltd., in an effort to change all that. This is how:
1. We are building a HUGE community of parents and leaders who are working together, sharing with each other, and sticking their necks out for the sake of their children and our society. This community is spreading the word that we MUST change our thinking about this subject. We can teach the teenagers in our lives to manage money in a way that builds self-esteem, confidence, and real preparedness for their whole lives. Parents talking to other parents is the most potent solution there is. Schools can help a little, but PARENTS MAKE IT HAPPEN.
2. We are providing guidelines for a WHOLE NEW PARADIGM for teaching teens to think about and organize their money. WealthQuest for Teens offers programs for teens and an eBook Parent Guide that makes money an interesting, inspiring, easy, and fun topic.
3. We are providing ample tips, ideas, suggestions, and resources for parents to support you.
Please Join the Movement. Visit the blog, share your thoughts, check out WealthQuest for Teens and get involved. Each bit of effort adds to the forward motion toward success. That’s how we will realize our mission, one parent at a time, one teen at a time.
Financial literacy empowers people to make their dreams come true and make a difference in the world. It allows us to have the lives we want, to have peace of mind, to have options in life, to live fully, and to heal others and the planet. Our teens deserve this, our communities deserve this, our world deserves it.
Please contact me if you would like to support this mission.
© Your Teen’s Money Skills, Inc., 2012. All rights reserved. Your Teen’s Money Skills, Inc. is a non-profit organization that provides tools, resources, and guidelines to parents raising teens with effective money skills. 501 (c) 3 status pending.