While today’s youth struggles with their finances and dig themselves into monetary holes that might affect their entire lives, we are in desperate need of a quick, effective solution. Youth financial literacy statistics highlight the problem and point to solutions. Parents need to talk more openly with their kids about money and schools need to make financial education part of their curriculum. Teachers need to become more confident in teaching finances to kids and stakeholders in public financial literacy programs for today’s youth need to be accountable for the results they get. Only then will we be on the way to financial security.
Black Parent Magazine sat down with Dr. Fuller to learn more about Cool Kids Fund, the free financial literacy program he created for kids.
BPM: Tell us about the Free Financial Literacy Program that you're offering. (Our Finance for Kids series is a free 4-week financial literacy initiative focused on kids 8-16 years old from underserved communities. We teach the kids about earning, spending, saving, investing and donating with the goal of impacting the financial knowledge and wealth gap in lower socioeconomic areas.)
BPM: Why is it important for children to study investments? It's important because financial literacy isn't taught in schools and it's something that can have a multigenerational impact.
BPM: How is Cool Kids using its platform to help Children Learn about Saving, Spending and Investing? Our founder, Dr. Marlon Fuller, came from a lower socioeconomic background and realized how much financial education is missing from the inner city and wanted to utilize a digital platform to create change. We offer a live hour long session weekly through Zoom and have a capacity for 500 kids.
BPM: What is a good investment for kids? Because of the pandemic, I think good investments would be companies focused on work from home resources, virtual learning, online entertainment, and retailers with a developed e-commerce platform.
BPM: What is the best investment option for beginners? The best investment option for beginners is to buy ETF's (exchange traded funds) as you get get multiple stocks in one purchase similar to a mutual fund. This takes away some of the guessing and research thereby simplifying your investment while creating more diversification.
BPM: What is the best financial gift for a child? The best gift for children are stocks. It's the gift that keeps giving and compounds over time so a $50 gift on average doubles into a $100 investment in 7 years. We tell our students that it's better to own Nike stock versus Air Jordan shoes which is a depreciating asset.
When is your class? Our classes for November take place from 6-7pm EST on the 2nd, 9th, 16th, and 23rd. How can our audience sign up? Parents can sign up their children ages 8-16 years old at CoolKids.org.
Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers? We are actively seeking foundational support and corporate sponsors so we can continue to offer this program to more kids. We are asking our parents to share our program with their employers, network, family and friends to increase awareness and donations. Those looking to donate can also contribute directly through their employer if they offer an employee match which would multiple the gift thereby helping more kids. Our nonprofit can be found on employer donating portals by searching for Cool Kids Fund Inc.