We've all heard about Millennials and how they've changed the economy, workplace, and modern life. But right behind them is Generation Z, sometimes called Digital Boomers.
These teens and early 20-somethings, born between 1995 and 2010, live in an online, fast-paced, do-it-yourself world. They've already lived through several economic downturns and understand the value of a dollar. According to recent polls by McKinsey & Company, 42% of Gen Z are holding down full- or part-time jobs. They're even saving more than Millennials ever did.
But even with Gen Z taking a more active role in their financial future, there are things you can do to help them plan ahead and learn proper fiscal responsibility. The goal is to help them plan beyond Social Security and avoid working well into their 70s and 80s to make ends meet.
Learning about Money at School
A 2015 study by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority found that students who took personal finance classes in high school had higher credit scores and managed credit and debt better later in life.
It's studies like those that have prompted agencies, such as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Treasury Department to encourage schools to incorporate more extensive financial education into their curriculum. Unfortunately, schools often times don't have the budgets to do that. To do our part, One Nevada sponsors a financial education program called Banzai that teachers throughout Nevada can bring into their classrooms. Each Banzai course draws on real-life scenarios, such as saving for a house down payment, putting together a budget, and building good credit. The lessons are designed to help teens learn financial smarts. All a high school teacher has to do is request the program, and they'll get access to everything they need to teach financial skills in their classroom.Plus, through our new partnership with the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association (NIAA), we'll soon bring similar financial education directly to NIAA high school athletes and their families
Teaching Finances at Home
In-classroom and online financial education can be a huge help, but the best way to teach youth smart money habits is to involve your tween or teen in real-life financial decision-making. Try these steps to help boost their financial familiarity and long-term economic skills.
- Open an account: If they don't already have One Nevada savings and checking accounts, help them open one. This is an important first step. You might also consider helping them get a debit card so they can learn real-life spending and money monitoring.
- Bank together: At first, bring your tween and teen along to the credit union when you make a deposit or other financial transaction. Show them how banking works. And help them with their own deposits. Then show them how to use online and mobile banking to transfer funds, watch their balances grow, and make deposits with their smartphone. They'll get the hang of it fast. They'll likely know how to use it better than you in a short amount of time.
- Monitor: Don't hover over everything they do, but do keep an eye on their savings and spending. Talk to them about money management, how to set a savings goal, and how spending and saving should work together.
- Make decisions as a family: Maybe it's deciding what kind and how much pizza to buy for Friday dinner, or it could be as big as planning ahead and budgeting for a family vacation.
- Show them that they are not alone: Not only should you bring teens into financial discussions — such as going over financial aid forms for college or explaining how to file federal taxes — but encourage them to access additional resources, such as the BALANCE Financial Fitness Program at One Nevada.
The bottom line is that school-based financial management lessons like Banzai are most effective when they are reinforced at home and you help your kids or grandkids put what they've learned into practice. This becomes especially critical as high schoolers inch closer to college. Because this period of transition can be fraught with anxiety, in large part because it involves taking major steps toward financial independence, it helps to build up extra expertise and support in the years leading up to graduation and beyond.
It's Your Turn to Learn
It's never too early or late to boost your money smarts, along with sharing what you know. Stop by any branch or check out our Financial Fitness Program at onenevada.balancepro.org. There, you'll find online tools, advice, and information to help you gain control and stay in charge of your money.