April 1, 2023

Financial Literacy: April Is the Smart Money Month

April is Financial Literacy Month, a time set aside to highlight the value of teaching important money concepts such as budgeting, saving and investing. These personal finance lessons provide skills your children will need for the rest of their lives. They’re the same essential skills you use to reach goals concerning your home, business and retirement.

To help you achieve your education savings goals, you’ve chosen the Future Scholar 529 College Savings Plan. Did you know Future Scholar can also help you teach your children important financial literacy lessons? Read on to learn about the tools and tips Future Scholar provides:

Start your child’s financial education early.

“You don’t want the ‘school of hard knocks’ to teach your children the financial lessons they need to learn,” says State Treasurer Curtis Loftis. “Start talking with your children at a young age about making smart choices, creating budgets and setting financial goals.”

You’ll find that teaching your children about making smart choices and setting budgets doesn’t have to be a lot of extra work. These financial literacy lessons can be taught with a trip to the grocery store. Let your children help you set a budget before you go shopping and make them part of the decision-making process when choosing which items to buy. Explain why some choices are better than others. On days when you’re walking or driving around the neighborhood, talk about the businesses you see along the way. Discuss how other people earn money to buy what they need or what they want.

You’ll find more ideas here for helping young children grasp concepts like wants versus needs, saving, and sticking to a budget.  

Create saving goals and spending budgets.

As children get older, allowing them to get a summer job and making sure they set savings goals will help build a strong foundation for their success as adults. Talk to your children about your Future Scholar plan and saving for college. Encourage them to contribute a portion of the money they earn or receive as gifts to their Future Scholar accounts. They’ll find investing in their future can be empowering.

As time for college draws closer, you and your child can work together to create a college budget using Future Scholar planning tools. Children who realize the true cost of higher education often better understand the importance of the choices they make. 

Advocate for financial literacy programs in our schools.

“Experts have determined that learning lessons about managing money earlier and more frequently ensures better outcomes for our children,” says State Treasurer Loftis. “That’s why I am a passionate advocate for financial literacy education in our schools.  

Since 2016, Future Scholar has provided financial education resources to South Carolina schools at no cost to the schools or the taxpayers. The South Carolina Financial Literacy Master Teacher Program is part of this effort, providing specialized training and incentives to K-12 teachers who complete the multi-year program.  

You can help, too. Contact your local schools and ask how financial literacy can be added to the curriculum. Volunteer to support those plans.

Financial Literacy Month is here to remind us that smart money skills are important for our children’s future financial health. With advocates like smart parents and Future Scholar, today’s children won’t have to learn their financial skills through stressful trials and costly errors.

More tools to help:

Make financial literacy lessons fun for kids with our “Lucky Ducky and the Smart Plan” coloring book, created by award-winning cartoonist Robert Ariail. Download and print it for free. 

Add books to your family reading list that help children grasp basic money concepts. See our recommended books for kids at every age. 

One important ongoing conversation to have with your children is the difference in needs and wants. Check out this video we’ve produced to help.