Back to School: Dollars and Sense

Back to school

“The first wealth is health.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

It?s back to school time again! Parents and guardians are getting their children ready to start the school year off on the right foot. Like most parents, you probably have a checklist of things you need to do or a list of must-have items to purchase before your child?s first day of class.?

While we focus on giving our children the tools to succeed in the classroom, we often overlook the need to educate them on dollars and cents. While literacy?the ability to read and write?is a fundamental part of our education, financial literacy is rarely discussed. Financial literacy helps us make informed decisions about saving, investing, and spending our money.

There is a connection between health outcomes and financial stability. Poor health may lead to lowered job performance, joblessness, and a reduction in or loss of income. Any of these can lead to limited access to quality healthcare, heightened stress, and chronic health issues like diabetes, heart disease, and asthma. Healthfirst is committed to strengthening family health and community wellness through prevention, effective planning, and education.

As parents, we are our children?s first teachers. I encourage you to teach your children practical money skills. You can use your past financial successes or missteps to start the conversation with your children. It?s as easy as giving your child a piggy bank or taking your teenager to the bank to open his or her first savings account. Seeing their coins grow into a significant balance over time will get children excited to save their money. These small but significant steps will help teach your children how to spend wisely, budget accordingly, save for the future, and build credit. This will also help them understand the value of money and the importance of financial responsibility and accountability.

The foundation for long-term success is built at an early age. It?s never too early to share the knowledge that will prepare your child for a bright and empowered future!

(George Hulse is Vice President of Community Engagement at Healthfirst.)