Growing up in here in New Jersey, and all over the United States, it’s not common that we’re taught practical money lessons. While chemistry is usually on the curriculum, everyday skills like building a budget typically aren’t. Luckily, that seems to be changing here in New Jersey.
New Jersey has actually been ahead of the curve in comparison to other states. Starting in early 2019, all NJ public schools were required to teach financial literacy courses starting as early as sixth grade. Hopefully more and more financial lessons will be incorporated into classrooms all over the country!
We’ve put together four crucial lessons every student should know before they leave high school. If you have a high-schooler or recent graduate of your own, feel free to share these tips with them. It will make navigating their financial lives here at the Jersey Shore that much easier.
Lesson #1: The Basics of Budgeting
Budgeting is crucial to achieving your financial goals, especially here in Monmouth County. Budgeting is very simply, but often gets overlooked.
Especially as high school students graduate and go on to start their career or attend college, there are monthly expenses they’ll need to learn to prepare for. These could include:
- Car Payments
Lesson #2: How to Use a Credit Card
It’s so important that teenagers learn early on how a credit card works and, more importantly, how to avoid racking up high-interest debt.
College students and young adults are easily targeted by credit card companies with enticing offers for new lines of credit. Understanding how credit cards and interest work can save these young adults hundreds, and possibly thousands, of dollars.
When it comes to using a credit card, always remember:
- You have to pay back what you charge
- Credit card interest accrues daily when you carry a balance
- Your interest rate can play a huge role in your monthly bill if you aren’t paying your charges completely off each month.
Lesson #3: How to Build Credit
Having a good credit score can make a big difference in how you manage your finances as an adult. If you’re looking to buy a house or rent an apartment down here at the Jersey Shore, having good credit can make things much easier. If you have bad credit, these tasks can be much more difficult, so it’s important to learn about this early on.
Building good credit can involve positive financial habits including paying your bills on time, keeping credit card balances low and limiting the amount of credit card accounts you open or use to an as-needed basis.
Maintaining good credit can make that summer rental in Belmar, or a first home in Shark River Hills a reality! Working with a trained financial planner can help instill the good habits necessary to improve your credit score.
Lesson #4: The Basics of the Stock Market
The stock market can be a confusing place for people of any age, let alone young adults just out of high school. Consider introducing your teenager to the basics of the stock market at an early age. It will give them the foundational knowledge needed to understand the importance of investing in achieving larger financial goals.
If you’re not confident in your ability to properly explain the stock market to your children, working with a financial planner can help get the message across. Even starting small now could yield large returns for your teenager later in life. Helping them understand long-term investments and how the market works now could be an impactful life lesson they’ll thank you for later.
You learn a lot of things in high school, and while many of those memories will last a lifetime. These useful financial lessons would have definitely helped with some stronger financial decisions in the future. Help your own teenager or grandchild hit the ground running with these helpful financial tips.
If you have questions about any of these lessons, or how to convey them properly to your teenagers, get in touch with us. Hearing from a professional financial planner can help make sense of everything for you. We would be happy to speak with you!