The program -- called "Operation Teen Financial Literacy @
The lessons will come via videos, games and other interactive programming intended to make the material relatable and fun, according to
The program was built around the "Love Your Money" curriculum that Lahti adapted for
"It's all about trying to engage with them about where they are now, plant those seeds for the future and (help them) understand that the decisions they can make now will stay with them for a long time," Lahti said. "Whether or not they have a concept of how long that long time is, being able to explain (these lessons) to them is important."
Consider that Americans ages 19-29 already have an average debt totaling
Lahti said the teenagers she's worked with have had widely varying levels of financial know-how. Although
And kids have disparate experiences learning about money at home. Even those from the most financially stable situations may be clueless about money if the subject is considered taboo in their family.
"I don't know that they're getting wrong information (today). I think there's a lack of information," Lahti said. "I grew up in a household where money was a very private subject, and people didn't talk about money very much. We saw the household running, and it ran fine and my parents were really responsible, but I didn't understand behind the scenes, how it was happening."
Surveys show that many teenagers recognize that they don't know enough.
In a 2013 "Teen Financial IQ Poll" by
Operation Teen Financial Literacy @
Registration is required. To sign up, contact the branch directly.
Lahti said the courses, which begin this month, will cover some basic ground, including topics like budgeting. Even if teens don't have a lot of money to work with, "just learning how to allocate it and doing a little bit of saving and looking toward the future instead of just the now" is important, Lahti said.
The program also addresses credit -- why it's important to build a credit history but also how to avoid the associated pitfalls -- as well as student loans, the differences between traditional banking and check-cashing services, and more.
Lahti sees it as a basic foundation that participants can build on for years to come.
"We're planting seeds and giving them tools and tactics and strategies for them to make better financial decisions and, over time, they'll put that into practice," she said.
The workshops are made possible by a grant through the "Smart investing@your library" program, a partnership between the
Since 2007, the program has provided 111 grants totaling
"Whether you are a teen looking for help to save money for college or maybe you're in college and got in trouble with credit cards or you want to buy a new car, whatever (the situation), clearly teens need help with money," she said.
Offering programming in a library setting means the guidance doesn't come with a sales pitch for a specific service or company. Libraries that receive grants work with local educator partners, Monsour said.
"The funding will make an array of free, unbiased financial-information programs possible in our community," said
(c)2014 the Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, N.M.)
Visit the Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, N.M.) at www.abqjournal.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services