We often think of childhood as a carefree time when adult worries such as money and bills are far away and almost nonexistent. However, listening to some of the responses given by girls in our Equal Earners, Savvy Spenders program, Economic Literacy® for 12-14-year-olds, I realized that even though they may not be paying bills yet, they may still share their parents/guardians worries about money. When the girls were asked to say what they associated with the word “money,” here were some of their responses:
- Gas prices
- People losing money
- Raising prices
- College tuition
I had expected the girls to mention the things that they liked to buy with their money. Instead, they mentioned many of things we might expect adults to associate with money. Due to the hard times faced by many in this economy, maybe I shouldn’t have been so surprised to hear these responses coming from 7th and 8th graders.
However, I realized that it wasn’t necessarily a bad thing that the girls were already thinking about these things at such an early age. They seemed primed to learn many of the things that the Equal Earners, Savvy Spenders curriculum includes. For instance, before it was mentioned by the facilitators, girls in both programs I observed talked about how important it was to save your money. In one of the programs, when the girls were asked the difference between needs and wants, one girl replied, “You buy the things you need first, and then if you have money left over, you buy the things you want.” Clearly, they are already on the right track.
With the background knowledge they already possess combined with the lessons in the program, I am confident that we will create girls who will be Equal Earners and Savvy Spenders!