Freeman's Blog


July 28th, 2016 by

More than nine out of ten parents believe it is important for students to learn about personal finance in school, and three out of four think there should be a finance requirement to graduate from high school. Even so, 72% express at least some reluctance when it comes to talking about finances at home.(1)

Certainly, learning about finance in school is important, but there are limitations. Forty-seven states include personal finance in their standards for K–12 education. Every state includes economics. However, state standards do not necessarily translate into class offerings or individual requirements.
Teach Your Kids About Money

Moreover, a new academic study of state programs suggests that financial education in school may not correlate directly with financial success. On the other hand, students who take more mathematics courses do seem to be more successful financially after they graduate. To put it simply, understanding financial concepts may not be that helpful unless you can do the math.(2)

1. Start with Saving.

Opening a savings account not only may help your child learn to save but also can be an introduction to banking. (Some banks allow teens to access their accounts through mobile apps.) Talk about saving for goals that require a financial commitment, such as a bike, car, college, and travel. Consider matching the funds your child saves for a worthy purpose.

2. Practice Budgeting.

If your child has income from an allowance or a job, help him or her develop and follow a budget. Teach your kids about money by giving older children responsibility to buy items such as special clothing and luxury items. It’s better to learn the consequences of overspending now than later in life.

3. Illustrate Interest.

Even young children can understand the idea of borrowing and returning the borrowed item. When children understand fractions and percents, it’s time to explain interest. Offer real-world examples, such as an auto loan or home mortgage. Teach your kids about money by using an online calculator and showing them how a payment schedule works.

4. Introduce Nest-Egg Dollars.

Your kids probably hear about the stock market, but even older teens may not understand what it is. Explain the concept of buying stock in a company and the idea of risk and reward. Teach your kids about money by using board games that can help bring learning to life.

5. Open Up.

You don’t want to worry your children. But research suggests that it’s better to discuss money on a practical level than to keep them completely in the dark(3). You might use a real-life situation to teach your kids about money. For example, you can teach about the decision to buy one product versus another. And, you can teach on the commitment to save for retirement.

Teach Your Kids About Money

Although it’s important to educate your children about financial matters, don’t overemphasize the importance of money. Explain that managing money is a necessary skill, but — as the saying goes — money can’t buy happiness.

1), June 8, 2015
2–3) The Wall Street Journal, February 2, 2015

July 21st, 2016 by

Economic Education
More states see the need for better economic education. Still, fewer than half of states have made financial education courses a requirement for high school students. In fact, in 2012 U.S. students scored below average for developed nations (OECD) in a test of financial literacy. This test was taken by 15-year-olds all around the world. Shockingly, more than one in six U.S. students failed to reach the baseline level of proficiency(1).

Hands On Economic Education For Kids

There is a program in Denver, CO that takes on the challenge of teaching 5th graders about money. Young Americans Center for Financial Education is on a mission to develop the financial literacy of young people through real-life experiences and hands-on programs. They purposefully design environments to enable youngsters to prosper in a free enterprise system.

Using constructed stores, utility companies, government offices, young 5th graders experience first hand how money and business work together. Also, Young Americans Center for Education offer a 21 years-and-younger bank. This is where children learn lessons about loans, certificates of deposits (CDs), savings accounts, checking accounts, debit cards, ATM cards and credit cards. Furthermore, they offer free classes and workshops.

Moreover, the economic education doesn’t end in just a classroom. Entrepreneurial kids can sell their  goods at the Young Americans YouthBiz Marketplace events after learning about taxes and accounting. What a great idea, don’t you think?

See more about what they do:

Young Americans Center For Education

What Can Parents Do?

Young Americans from all social backgrounds need to learn about money early. There isn’t enough of this kind of economic education in public schools. Yes, parents, you can help too. Begin by developing your child’s money knowledge at a young age. They desperately need money education to thrive in today’s complex global economy. You can make an effort to devote time at the dinner table or in the car to discuss financial concepts. Ultimately, it’s also a good idea to encourage your children to take economics or personal finance courses offered at school. They may not need it to graduate, but they will certainly need it in real life.

Source: 1) Council for Economic Education, 2016

July 10th, 2016 by


70 new retirement age
Why are so many people over the age of 70 deciding to stay in the work force?

There’s no question that today’s Boomer enjoys better health & vitality than previous generations. Many choose to stay working because they enjoy their careers and it strengthens their financial position. But a more common scenario is that many Boomers have not saved enough money to retire comfortably. Traditional pensions are largely disappearing and many Americans haven’t saved enough, over the working year, in their retirement accounts. Nearly half of all retirees depend on Social Security benefits for more than half of their income (1). Considering that the average benefit for retired workers in 2016 is $1341, it is apparent that some people need to work as long as they can just to cover basic living expenses (2).

Do you think 70 is the new retirement age in America?

In addition, today’s longer life expectancies and higher health care costs create a need for even more savings. Two major advantages of staying employed is a) they can keep contributing to their work place retirement accounts and b) delay claiming social security benefits. Waiting until age 66 or 67, depending on the birth year, can have benefits. Claiming Social Security benefits after full retirement age can see their benefit increase 8% per year up to age 70.

Even so, many older Americans cannot keep working due to health reasons. There is no way to predict what your future may be. However, workers who save consistently during their working years are able to make retirement decisions more freely.

Advice From A Retirement Expert

My advice for every working American is to take maximum advantage of your work place’s retirement accounts like 401(k) or 403(b). Use whatever matching dollars you can get from your employer and start saving early in your career. Stash away as much as you can into nest egg dollars. It will be easier for you to decide what the new retirement age should be for YOU.

1) Social Security Administration 2016
2) Employee Benefit Research Institute 2015

Freeman Owen, Jr -Retirement Specialist

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