LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — The pandemic taught millions of Americans, you can't take a paycheck for granted. It's been a real learning moment. For some families, a teaching moment.
13 Action News anchor Tricia Kean speaks with a financial expert who says it's up to parents to teach their kids financial responsibility.
Valley mother of two, Natalie Wainwright, says both her kids earn an allowance by doing chores. And she's made it her mission to see them learn from her own mistakes when it comes to handling money.
"They thought, you know what, I'm not gonna make the same mistakes that mom made. It's actually pretty cool," says Natalie.
Natalie has made it a rule for her kids to divide up their allowance.
SAVE, SPEND, DONATE
"It's not just spend, right? We get savings, spending, donating and investing," says Natalie.
It's a lesson her 12-year-old, Aidan, has taken to heart, buying stock on a popular investing social network.
"Through Public... Tesla and stuff like that," says Aidan.
"He did all the research and he saw returns on his money. So that is pretty exciting," says Natalie.
But Natalie's kids appear to be an exception to the rule.
The American Public Education Foundation calls financial illiteracy a national crisis. In fact, their 2021 Report Card on Financial Literacy gives Nevada schools a C and says improvements are needed.
But one expert says it's up to parents to teach their kids.
UP TO PARENTS
"Teachers are never going to be paying your kids... So no matter what we do in school, it's all going to be a little bit undermined by the fact that, that's not where they're going to get their money," says children's financial literacy expert, Gregg Murset.
He says Natalie has the right idea. Teach your kids early and get them to learn the importance of saving and giving back.
"If they donate to a charity and they use their own money to do that, they're going to learn," says Gregg.
LEARN TO INVEST
He also encourages getting kids to invest. Letting a kid like Aidan put money into Tesla is a perfect example.
"Let them figure it out and let them buy something they think is cool. Then they have skin in the game and they're going to pay attention to it. A lot," says Gregg.
SPEND LIKE MOM & DAD
He feels kids should be given the opportunity to spend money like mom and dad. As CEO of the BusyKid app, Gregg also stresses the importance of putting kids on a debit card system.
"Money is invisible now. So we have to teach them in that way... Do all this stuff to earn the money that goes on the card and when I swipe it, it goes away. That's really important stuff. But you can't learn about invisible money unless you're using invisible money," says Gregg.
In the end, no matter how you choose to teach your kids, Gregg says the key is to start teaching financial literacy early.
"Why not have a kid start out really early in life and make some of those mistakes. So they can learn from them and get better at them," says Gregg.
Natalie says she couldn't agree more.
"Start now. They say the fundamentals need to be taught from age 4 to 12 is where the science is. So now is the time to be teaching them those good money habits," says Natalie.