Early financial education offers better security later

Early financial education offers better security later

(NewsUSA) - Recent studies about Americans' retirement saving behavior point to an alarming trend: Americans of all ages, ethnicities and social groups are not sufficiently saving for their retirement.
"Most personal financial experts agree that when people reach their mid-30s, they should be already saving for retirement," said Suzanne Poole, executive vice president, retail sales strategy and distribution, TD Bank. "However, according to a financial literacy poll TD Bank conducted this summer, a major reason for poor retirement planning and lack of financial literacy in general by consumers, is the absence of financial education at an early age."
TD Bank surveyed 2,160 consumers in the northeast, Florida and mid-Atlantic. About 81 percent of those surveyed wished they would have started saving earlier, and about 55 percent of them feel they were definitely not taught enough when young.
Here a few suggestions for parents wondering what they can do to teach children to manage money and understand the importance of saving:
* Become a role model. According to TD Bank's survey, more than one-quarter of consumers struggled to identify any financial role models. Parents need to do their best to have their finances in order. Once they do, they should sit down with their kids to go over the process of balancing bank accounts and developing a household budget.
* Use a piggy bank. Saving coins in a piggy bank is one of the most basic tools parents can use at home to begin teaching their kids about saving.
* Take kids to the bank. Visiting a bank should not be for adults only. Many financial institutions have unique features inside their locations that can make banking fun for kids.
* Open a savings account. One of the best ways to teach children healthy financial literacy skills is to go through the process with them of opening their first savings account, making their first deposit and explaining to them what all of it means.
* Enroll in financial literacy programs. With thorough research, parents can find programs in their area that offer financial literacy training. They should first check with the schools their children attend and their local library. After that, parents may consider finding out if their bank offers such a program.
For example, TD offers a program named "WOW!Zone" that helps children ages 5-18 develop strong financial skills. It
is available online at www.tdbank.com/wowzone. Trained bank instructors are also available to visit schools and after-school and weekend programs for free.