Mississippi Money: Staying Engaged in the Summer
Growing up, we often spent summer break with our cousins. We all lived a few states apart, but we could meet in the middle at our grandparents’ house. Our days were split between unstructured play in the hot and sweaty outdoors and more structured activities in the cool of air conditioning. With teachers, artists, farmers and designers in the family, there was a variety of lessons we could learn: cooking, painting, geography, plant identification.
Economics and personal finance are typically not core subjects in school, yet they can touch so many different areas of our adult life. Without early introduction, personal finances can seem like an intimidating topic to learn. Getting trustworthy advice in the field is another challenge! I’ve assembled a list of online and print resources to keep your children engaged during the summer. Some of these are fun resources for them to explore on their own, while others require a little more structure.
• The Federal Reserve Bank of New York has resources for middle and high school students. Their educational comic book Once Upon a Dime is a neat way to teach children about the purpose of money and its place in the banking system. The website even includes lesson plans and bulk orders for classrooms. https://www.newyorkfed.org/outreach-and-education
• The Consumer Finance Protection Bureau has an excellent collection of resources for all ages. They start with how to build financial skills and teach children under five the basics of finances. The website is age appropriate and even has resources that adults may find useful. www.consumerfinance.gov
• The Council for Economic Education, which supports many initiatives in classrooms across the country, has resources for school-aged children. Most are geared toward classroom learning, so if you are looking for structured lessons on finances and economics, don’t look further! https://store.councilforeconed.org
• FINRA is one of the finance industry’s most important regulators. This is a non-governmental regulator that focuses on protecting individual investors. This website is a practical resource for college students and young professionals. https://www.finrafoundation.org/investor-education-library
• The book The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas J Stanley will help you understand how people actually build wealth. It dispels the notion that you need to be the most successful CEO or a lucky heir to be wealthy. The book clearly explains how people accumulate wealth and reach financial independence with access to the same resources the rest of us have. It should inspire your children to have good financial habits.
Let your children take some ownership of financial tasks during the summer – it can be budgeting a meal or selecting causes to give money to. The resources suggested above can help your children learn how to interact with and be better stewards of their money.