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Building Blocks of Prosperity: The Importance of Financial Literacy in Early Childhood Education

Written by Rebecca Rueda, ELA Project Manager

In today’s fast-paced world, financial literacy is an essential skill for navigating life’s challenges and opportunities. While many people recognize the importance of financial knowledge, not everyone understands the critical role it plays in shaping the future of our children. 

Early childhood is a crucial stage for laying the foundation of financial literacy. It’s during these formative years that children begin to develop their attitudes, habits, and behaviors towards money. Research suggests that parents play a crucial role in shaping their children’s financial behaviors and attitudes. By instilling financial literacy education from a young age, parents and educators can empower children to make informed decisions and set themselves up for a lifetime of financial success. 

Omar Aguilar is a passionate and dedicated financial advisor with a mission to empower individuals from all walks of life through sound financial literacy. As the founder of Blue Ladder Financial Planning, LLC, he believes that everyone deserves access to quality financial guidance, regardless of their income or net worth. 

I interviewed Omar about financial literacy, the resources available for parents to utilize when teaching their young children about financial literacy, and advice on simple steps parents can take toward financial wellbeing. 

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Hello, I’m Omar Aguilar, a first-generation Mexican-American with roots in Jalisco, Mexico. With 17 years of experience in finance, my journey began as a part-time teller at JPMorgan Chase. Today, I proudly lead Blue Ladder Financial Planning, LLC, where I’m dedicated to helping individuals embark on their path to financial freedom. 

Family is at the heart of my life, blessed with a wonderful wife and two beautiful daughters, a 5-year-old, and a 10 month-old. For the last six years I have served as a reservist in the Air Force, contributing to something greater than myself. Community involvement is essential to me, and I dedicate my time to volunteer whenever possible. On Friday nights, you’ll find me on the baseball field playing alongside my friends. 

I’m passionate about making a positive impact, both personally and professionally, I’m committed to empowering others to achieve their financial goals and contribute to our communities.

As a financial advisor, why is financial literacy important?

Financial literacy is crucial for individuals of all ages, especially for children and young adults. It brings together the understanding of many financial concepts such as budgeting, saving, investing, managing debt, and making informed financial decisions. Without proper financial literacy, individuals may struggle to effectively manage their finances, leading to issues such as debt, poor credit scores, and inadequate  retirement savings.

One problem I’ve observed is a lack of financial education, particularly among younger generations. Even more when individuals do search for education, they often use social media as their go-to advice center. According to a survey conducted by Betterment, 65% of Gen Z and 55% of Millennials take financial advice from social media. Social media is an unregulated platform where anyone (professional or not) can provide financial guidance. This often leads to people receiving bad advice and leading them down the wrong path. A path that may be hard to correct years down the line.

Starting financial education at a young age is vital because it lays the foundation for sound financial habits and decision-making skills. Children who learn about money management early, are better equipped to handle financial challenges as adults. Additionally, teaching financial literacy early helps break the cycle of financial illiteracy and empowers our future generation to make informed financial choices.

What resources do you recommend for parents & caregivers to teach their little kids about financial literacy?

There are many books out there for parents and caregivers to teach their children about financial literacy. The Four Money Bears, by Mac Gardner and The Moneybunny books, a series by Cinders McLeod are great books to get children started on their path toward financial literacy. 

I recommend parents and caregivers stop by their local libraries and see the various books they have available and find some that fit their needs. For older children and adults, Money, Explained on Netflix does a great job explaining credit cards, student loans, retirement as well as why people keep falling for “get rich quick” schemes. 

But above all else, we must talk to our children about money. Many adults shy away from this topic. Have a real, open conversation about money with them, you will be surprised how well they understand.

What can families do right now to improve their finances and teach their littles ones to be financially responsible? 

My call to action for families is to prioritize financial education and take actionable steps to improve their financial well-being. This includes setting financial goals, creating budgets, saving regularly, and seeking out opportunities to learn and grow financially. Include your children in family talks regarding money, let them learn from our success and mistakes so they can be better equipped as adults.

Tell us about your business and the work that you are doing? 

Blue Ladder Financial Planning LLC is a firm committed to assisting everyday hardworking individuals in achieving financial freedom. Unlike many financial planning firms, we have no asset minimums, meaning we welcome clients regardless of their current financial situation. Whether you’re just starting your investing journey or have been managing your finances for years, we’re here to help you reach your goals.

Our focus goes beyond just managing investments; we’re dedicated to promoting financial literacy within our community. Through financial literacy classes held at local community centers, churches, and schools across Tarrant County, we strive to educate individuals about the importance of financial literacy. By providing practical knowledge and tools, we empower people to make informed financial decisions that will positively impact their lives and future generations.

At Blue Ladder Financial Planning LLC, we believe that financial freedom is attainable for everyone, and we’re committed to guiding our clients every step of the way on their journey toward financial wellness.

In partnership with Help Me Grow-North Texas, Bachman Lake Together, and United Way of Metropolitan Dallas, ELA is thrilled to announce that Omar will be a speaker at the North Texas Family Leadership Summit 2024 on May 4 at the Hurst Conference Center. Join us as he enlightens us with his session on the crucial topic of financial literacy in early childhood. Don’t miss out on this invaluable opportunity to gain insight and strategies for empowering our youngest learners! This is a free event and open to the public. Get your tickets here

In conclusion, the importance of financial literacy in early childhood cannot be overstated. By providing children with the knowledge and skills they need to make sound financial decisions, we set them on a path towards financial stability, independence, and prosperity in adulthood. Let’s invest in our children’s financial education today to secure a brighter tomorrow for generations to come. 

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