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FoolProof Financial Advice for Kids

[Wednesday, May 13th, 2015]

The FoolProof Foundation, founded with the support of famed newscaster Walter Cronkite, long known as the most trusted man in the country, is setting out to educate kids – and parents – about financial literacy.

Cronkite believed in healthy skepticism as part of the decision-making process; something that helped him throughout his life, as both a consumer and a business person.

The FoolProof Foundation helps kids make good buying decisions and avoid going into debt by giving them an insider view of the way advertising and marketing industries work. Teaching kids about the tactics marketers use empowers them to stop wasting money on impulse purchases. Their interactive website has tools to help them calculate how much they’re spending and see where they could save money.

Credit card education emphasized

One of the goals of the Foundation is to keep kids from becoming dependent on credit cards and getting into debt. While credit cards are an important financial tool for any adult, it’s vital that young people are educated about how to use them. A credit card is not a license to overspend – a fact that the FoolProof Foundation emphasizes.

The FoolProof Foundation provides teachers with a financial literacy curriculum that is currently in use by 5,000 teachers across the country. The FoolProof website, linked to the curriculum, had over 24 million page views in 2014. Designed for high school and college-aged kids, it prepares students to responsibly use credit cards. College students getting their first credit cards, often a student credit card, are in need of solid advice about how to use their cards, and FoolProof provides that.

The “Sucker Punch” feature of the FoolProof curriculum provides credit card education; meanwhile the “FoolProof Solo” feature lets kids go at their own speed, working through 22 topics that provide no-nonsense advice about finances and life. One example of the FoolProof tone is their motto about advertising: “Only idiots blindly believe advertising.”

Even the skeptics approve

Lauren Willis, a writer who has authored two books arguing against financial literacy education – Against Financial Literacy Education and The Financial Education Fallacy – is an advocate of the FoolProof program. “If effective financial education is possible, it will only be education provided by independent consumer self-defense programs like FoolProof,” says Willis.

Knowing the basics of financial education, such as what goes into a credit score, why it’s important to have a good one, what an annual percentage rate means, and how to effectively make and follow a budget, are vital skills for people of all ages.

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