Camps, classes seek to teach kids about money
July 16, 2008
By KATE BRUMBACK
Associated Press Writer
(AP:TUSCALOOSA, Ala.) While his friends spend their money on video games and
candy, Nicholas Sella saves most of his $8 weekly allowance, investing part in stocks
and stashing the rest into a savings account.
But as the current credit and mortgage crises demonstrate, not everyone is as financially
prudent as this 14-year-old from Tuscaloosa _ many people are in over their heads with
debt and have too little in the way of savings. A major part of the financial distress of
many Americans, experts say, is that they never had good lessons on saving and
spending when they were growing up.
There are signs that the current generation of young people may have a better
education. Although a personal finance class was a requirement for high school
graduation in only seven states last year, according to the National Council of Economic
Education, alternatives such as camps, interactive Web sites and investment programs
targeting children are emerging to help fill the gaps.
Still, classes and other activities can only do so much. For good financial practices to
really take hold, parents should lead by example and include their children in household
money matters early on, according to those active in finance and financial education
"Kids need to get involved with money and they need to handle it," said Bob Nusbaum, a
financial planner in Pittsburgh, who said exposure can start as early as age 4 or 5.
"Parents need to involve their kids in financial decisions as soon as they are old enough
to grasp it."
Jan Brakefield, an assistant professor at the University of Alabama, ran Camp Cash at
the school for the first time this summer and hopes it will become an annual program.
Nicholas Sella, who owns stock in Deere & Co., Altria Corp. and McDonald's Corp., was
one of 18 middle schoolers who attended the two-week money management camp.
"I just believe that at this age it's more li