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Commissioners Rothman and Cassellius join 4th and 5th grade kids at BizTown to promote youth financial literacy

April 02, 2013

For Immediate Release:

MAPLEWOOD, MN – To kick off Financial Literacy Month in Minnesota, Department of Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius and Department of Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman teamed up today with students to learn about the importance of teaching financial education starting at a young age.  The Commissioners visited Junior Achievement’s BizTown to highlight their mission to motivate and prepare young people to succeed in a global economy through hands-on civic, business, and financial experiences.

“Learning the basics of budgeting, entrepreneurship and civic engagement in a fun environment provides the foundation to build life-long financial security,” said Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman.   “At BizTown, kids are CEOs of a bank, wellness center, property managers and more, learning to run a business with fun financial literacy lessons for kids. The experience allows them to connect the dots between the classroom and real life – whether at BizTown or at home.”

139,000 students in grades K-12 receive innovative financial literacy, college and career readiness, and entrepreneurship education through Junior Achievement each year.  The non-profit partners with schools to create a connection between the lessons taught in the classroom and how it can be applied in the real world.  Prior to their visit to BizTown, students apply for jobs and prepare business plans for the kid-sized city’s bank, business service center, café, City Hall, construction center, international shop, newspaper, property management, radio station, supply & delivery, gift shop, grocery store, wellness center, and putt-putt golf course.  The “workers” are paid for their jobs, learn how to deposit their paychecks, and make choices with their money from paying rent and buying treats. 

Research shows that youth determine their attitude about handling money by the time they finish 5th grade. Improved financial literacy, especially early in life, results in a higher standard of living over the long term, which translates to more stable communities.  With earlier access to credit and consumer choices, learning the basics of financial literacy has become more important.

Financial Literacy Tips for Youth:

  • Always be on the lookout for a “teachable moment,” for example, in line at the ATM or the grocery store, explain to your kids that you are getting or spending money you have earned.
  • Find games or invent systems that help teach about money – there’s no right way.
  • For young kids, keep it simple.  Young children learn best in a few short lessons and repetition.  Do it over and over, and start when they are toddlers.
  • Explain savings and interest.  Kids have time on their side – the earlier they start to save, the more money they will have in the future.
  • Tie allowance to both savings and spending lessons.
  • Physically put spending money and saving money in different locations.  Or, open a savings account for your child and bring them with to deposit the money.
  • Give some of the money to charity – teach the lesson of philanthropy.
  • Help your child start a business.

For more information about Financial Literacy Month, visit the Commerce Department website