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As the cost of formal education grows, many families are limited by economic considerations in what they can provide for their children. This is of concern particularly as public schools, despite good principals and teachers, become subject to more invasive federal rules, regulations, and collection of data on students.
Gifting to a child could include providing sufficient gifts to parents so that one parent can afford to home school the children. If home schooling is not possible, perhaps you could support attendance at a private school. If private school is also too invasive or expensive, perhaps tutors to supplement the children’s education can be engaged. Where a home environment cannot be stabilized, other options may include funding a child to go to boarding school or to live with another family or relative, and attend school away from their immediate family.
When it comes time for college and graduate school, helping a child achieve an advanced education without the burden of student loans is an excellent investment. Enabling young people to make career decisions according to what is in their hearts instead of what is necessary to repay student loans is a gift of immeasurable value.
Supporting children to become literate with money as well as with financial, economic, and investment concepts helps them to navigate a world increasingly characterized by economic warfare.
- Teaching: The initial step in preparing anyone for a financial learning journey is to help him or her become conversant with introductory terminology and concepts. Contributing time to creative projects geared toward getting a child comfortable with these concepts is a good investment. One of the things I like to do is help interested children create a taxonomy of the knowledge in a specific domain, identify how this knowledge relates to their lives, and develop a learning plan for mastering topics of interest.
- DVDs/Books: Children need access to the books and videos that can help them understand economic issues. Some of the materials I give to teenagers include the video Maxed Out (to teach the dangers of credit cards and debt), Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki (to help them understand the cultural habits that build financial wealth), The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens: The Ultimate Teenage Success Guide by Sean Covey (to help them understand good work and living habits), the World Almanac (for an overview of global asset- and population statistics), and a good atlas to provide them with maps of our planet.
- Home Schooling and Tutoring: Home schoolers have used my Economics 101 curriculum and Solari audio seminars, including Catherine’s interviews with Franklin Sanders, Investing in Silver and Gold Coins and Building Real Wealth, to learn about precious metals and how to detect entrepreneurial opportunities in their daily lives.
- Community Questing: A community quest can be a “treasure hunt” that helps you learn about the history and nature of your community. Understanding the history and natural resources of a place is critical to understanding the economy of a place. Each community is a microcosm of our planet, so lessons about the local economy are essential building blocks for helping a youngster understand regional, national, and global economics.
The best way for a child to learn basic economics and investment is by doing: starting a summer business, making a loan, buying a stock, making a donation, and so forth. So, while supplementing action with financial education is helpful, there is nothing like real-life connections, actions, and transactions to help a child understand how to build real wealth.
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