Markets In Your Community

When to teach kids to invest

Want to see your kids develop a healthy and informed attitude toward money, with a sound approach to spending, saving and investing? Here’s a tip: start teaching the principles of financial capability at a young age.

That’s the advice Melanie Mortimer offers for parents and teachers in a recent interview with Yahoo Finance. Mortimer is uniquely positioned to see the results of financial capability education, since she serves as president of the SIFMA Foundation, an educational non-profit that runs national programs, like the Stock Market Game and InvestWrite, aimed at teaching students about foundational skills in finance and investing.

Among the key arguments Mortimer presents for getting students started at a young age on the rudiments of financial capability and investing:

  • Real world lessons can be engaging and encouraging: “Students are very excited about the idea of money. The idea that you can take something very small and grow it to be something much larger is very compelling for them.”
  • It’s about building a foundation:Early intervention has the greatest-long term benefits because you’re laying the groundwork. You’re setting the foundation, and you’re doing it at a time that it’s going to open the door for young people to make well-informed decisions that then benefit them in later in life.”
  • The ups and downs of the market are a good fit with kids’ dynamic energy levels and natural curiosity: “Investing taps into the dynamism of the global marketplace. It doesn’t sit still, and it’s changing and moving on a moment-to-moment basis, which is very similar to most 11-year-olds. They have a lot of energy, they’ve got a lot of interest; their attention is moving a mile a minute.”
  • Fourth grade may be a sweet spot to start teaching about investing (but it’s never too late to start): “It’s an extraordinary time of rapid brain growth, and there are so many lessons that students have not yet learned that they don’t have to unlearn.”

Check out Mortimer’s full interview with Yahoo Finance here:

More resources on strengthening financial capability:

The Stock Market Game home page 

InvestWrite home page

An Arkansas teacher explains how her middle-school students won the Stock Market Game seven years in a row 

Charles Schwab invests $1 million in financial capability education

Wells Fargo contributes $500K for financial education programs 

Teaching kids about the importance of saving