It’s important to have financial literacy regardless of age

Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 28, 2009

Do you know a child that would benefit from some financial literacy education?

Do you wish your adult children could be more like your parents about saving and credit management?

Would you benefit from some tips in this area? The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants agrees with you and in 2004 joined the state CPA societies and individual CPAs to launch a program called “360 Degrees of Financial Literacy” to address a growing public issue of financial illiteracy.

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With bankruptcies and credit card debt skyrocketing and savings plummeting, CPAs have stepped in to volunteer their time and expertise to help Americans get on the right financial path.

The initiative sends the message that financial education should be a lifelong endeavor-from encouraging children to save their allowances to helping adults plan for a secure retirement. Program information focuses on what people need at each stage of their lives, including:




4Military and Reserves

4Marriage and couples


4Home ownership

4Small business

4Life crises

4Sandwich generation (caring for both children and aging parents)


The AICPA’s award-winning financial literacy Web site is the centerpiece of the campaign, where consumers can find extensive free resources to help them make sound financial decisions.

The site is free from all advertising, sales, promotion and branding.

Visit the impartial site at In 2006, the AICPA and The Advertising Council joined forces to target Americans aged 25-34 with their Feed the Pig campaign.

You may have seen the public service announcements featuring Benjamin Bankes, an adult sized pig who evokes memories of the piggy bank. The campaign delivers a strong message about the importance and benefits of saving.

A dedicated Web site,,provides free financial information and tools to help young career builders take control of their finances and build long-term financial security.

A visitor to this site will find fun tools, a quiz, tons of tips and other resources to help think through his or her spending and savings habits and identify ways to start saving and commit to making changes that will reduce his debt and grow his savings.

Most recently the Feed the Pig campaign has added additional resources for “tweens”. This is a fun, hands-on financial literacy program for fourth, fifth and sixth grade classes.

Visit the Web site where teachers can connect to the tween site and order or download educational kits for classroom use. Children can visit the site to play The Great Piglet Challenge, an interactive adventure in saving and spending. Here the Bankes piglets need help in making responsible financial decisions.

Your selected piglet can earn money from an allowance or job, make decisions when spending money on needs and wants, reach a short-term goal, and save money for the future.

The Society of Louisiana CPAs has an excellent reading list of money-smarts books for children ages 4 to 12 which can be located on their site, under their financial literacy section. Choose a book from the list or from your public library and enjoy some beneficial summer reading with your child or grandchild. If a child’s gift is on your to-do list, I would recommend Larry Burkett’s “My Giving Bank” that is three banks in one and allows for children to segregate their money for giving, saving and spending. It is a visual tool to help your children prepare for a lifetime of financial accountability.

Nancy M. Kennedy, CPA with Silas Simmons, LLP accounting firm in Natchez.