When it comes to financial literacy, today's graduates fail to make the grade. Asked about basic financial concepts, high school seniors correctly answered only 48 percent of the questions, down from 52 percent in 2006, according to the Jump$tart Coalition's recent survey on financial literacy. College students didn't fare much better, with college seniors scoring a 65 on their survey, administered for the first time in 2008.
Why do so many miss the mark? It starts in the home. Whether they lack confidence in their own money management skills or assume that their children's schools will cover it, many parents don't talk about money with their kids, and those who do often miss the fundamentals.
"A lot of the basic stuff is overlooked by parents just because they assume that their kids know it, and they don't," says Janet Bodnar, author of "Raising Money-Smart Kids."
"Why would they? Unless you tell them, there is no reason they would know that your family insurance bill is going up by $1,000 a year just because they start to drive."
Before they leave the nest, boost your brood's financial literacy with these 10 money management lessons.
Need Help Investing? More Stories from Bankrate.com:
- All About Your Child's Allowance
- Four Money Lessons for Kids
- Ten Bad Habits That Lead to Debt Disaster
1. Balance a checkbook
Of the high school seniors surveyed, only 45 percent have a checking account, and one out of four have no bank accounts at all. Once they leave home and set up an account on their own, those without parental training often make costly mistakes. Some 30 percent of college students admitted to bouncing a check.
As soon as teenagers start earning income from a job, it's time open a checking account, even if it's a joint account with a parent, says consumer adviser Clark Howard, author of "Clark Smart Parents, Clark Smart Kids." Teach them how to write checks, use a register and reconcile their account with their bank statement.