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Learning to Save is Key to Financial Responsibility

Learning to Save is Key to Financial Responsibility

By Claudette Roulo
American Forces Press Service

Compliments of: American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, DC – April is both the Month of the Military Child and Financial Literacy Month, so it’s a good time to shine a spotlight on teaching children financial responsibility, said Barbara Thompson, the Pentagon’s director of the office of family policy/children and youth in a joint interview with American Forces Press Service and the Pentagon Channel.

“These are life skills that you don’t want to learn when you’re in trouble as an adult,” Thompson said. “We think financial readiness is one of those life skills that, the sooner you start, the more prepared you are as you enter adulthood.”

Children as young as 3 years old can start learning about the value of money, the importance of saving for something special and how to differentiate between wants and needs, she said.

“When you start to get those perceptions at an early age, it’s easier as they grow up to make those decisions, to make wise financial decisions,” Thompson added.

She said statistics on retirement preparation are startling, noting, “People have not been saving at all.”

According to the results of a 2012 survey by the Consumer Federation of America, just 49 percent of working Americans have sufficient retirement savings to provide for a “desirable standard of living.” Just over a third of low- and moderate-income households had savings or money market accounts.

“Right now, it’s a tough time,” Thompson said. “We’re facing some financial uncertainty, and so it’s hard to save. But you have to start small and make it a regular habit.”

Some child development centers, youth programs and schools are using activities to teach children about financial readiness, she said.

“For example, in our dramatic play areas in our child development centers, sometimes they set up a grocery store, and children learn about money and that you have to have money to buy products,” Thompson said. “What’s important is that they start to see that money just doesn’t shoot out of the ATM machine, that you have to earn it, put it in the bank and then use it to pay for what you think is of value.”

Thompson said learning to save is the foundation of financial responsibility.

“You save for a rainy day. You have an emergency fund [and] you save for something that you want. You don’t go into great debt just because you want it right now; you start to save for it, and you do your research before you buy something. I think those are really important concepts,” she said.

“We want to make sure that [children] have good skills for their futures,” Thompson said, “whether it is recognizing their sacrifice or providing them the tools to be strong adults.”

Thompson said a variety of resources are available for educators, parents and children to learn about financial responsibility. Resources include:

— Military OneSource, which offers free face-to-face or telephonic financial counseling, savings and investment information and educational resources for young people;

— Personal financial managers at installation family centers are certified financial counselors that can help families develop their budget, set their financial goals and can provide classes for military children at youth centers, child development centers or schools;

— SaveandInvest.org can help adults learn financial management skills that they can teach to their children;

— Jump$tart provides good resources for educators and bankers;;

— Financial institutions that operate on military installations are required to offer financial management resources;

— Money as You Grow provides information for children ages 3 and up to help them smart financial decisions; and

— Military Youth on the Move includes financial tools for younger children, tweens and teens.

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About Posted by Susan Bainbridge

At age 6, Susan was destined to be a journalist and photographer. In 1980, Susan founded Bainbridge News and The Bainbridge Chronicle Newspaper. Bainbridge News specializes in Military and National Politics, including Military Funerals and Burials and Political Funerals and Burials. Susan has covered the White House, the Pentagon and Capitol Hill. She has covered every president from Ronald Reagan to Barack Obama. Recognized for her versatility, Susan has also covered finance, crime, civil rights events, marches, sports, musical events and more. In 1990, she established Bainbridge Photography, an On-Location photography company. In addition to military and political events, including Military and Political funerals and burials, Bainbridge Photography expanded into covering ALL funerals and burials, receptions, weddings, real estate, inventory, insurance, portrait, head shot, pets, fire and Hazmat. Miss Bainbridge believes in going the extra mile. "My Clients always come first." In 1980, Susan began her career in Washington, D.C., working for WMZQ Radio as a reporter and guest hostess from 1980 to 1985. Intrigued by radio, Susan wanted to write, freelancing for radio, television and print newspapers, including AP, The Washington Post, The Washington Times, The Northern Virginia Sun, The Press-Republicanand The Bainbridge Chronicle (established by Susan Bainbridge). In 1986, Susan worked at WDCA-TV Channel 20 as a guest hostess for "Eye On Washington." From 1990 to 1994, Susan reported and anchored for "The Arlington Weekly News." Additionally, she produced a segment for the G. Gordon Liddy Radio Show. A prolific writer, while in high school in 1977, Bainbridge wrote an episode for NBC's "Little House on The Prairie" entitled "Laura's Best Friend." Though the show's producers did not use the script then, NBC producers encouraged Susan to pursue a writing and journalism career. Susan is a member of the National Press Club, the National Press Photographer's Association and the Society of Professional Journalists. Susan Bainbridge's recognitions include from former Presidents Ronald Reagan, George Herbert Walker Bush and Bill Clinton, former First Lady Nancy Reagan, former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, the late actor Lorne Greene, among many others. BAINBRIDGE NEWS was founded in 1980 by Susan Bainbridge (a sixth generation writer), a third generation journalist, a first generation photographer and a fourth generation entrepreneur. She is the first generation to establish a news business. Bainbridge News is dedicated in honor of Miss Bainbridge's late grandfather and idol, Mark S. Watson (The Baltimore Sun editor and war correspondent from 1920 to his death in 1966).

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