BYU study finds role-modeling, hands-on learning most effective financial education for kids

Sep 23, 2022, 1:45 PM
Mom and daughter with piggy bank. Parents can have a big role in the financial education of their k...
BYU researchers found that modeling by parents gave kids a good "script" to follow in life. (iStock/GlobalStock)

PROVO, Utah — A new BYU study found that simply talking to kids about money, may not be enough to help them attain a healthy financial life as adults. The study said hands-on learning and good parental role modeling were more effective for financial education.

The study broke down financial education between parents and their kids into three categories: discussion, modeling and experiential learning.

BYU School of Life Assistant Professor Dr. Ashely LeBaron-Black said they found that the modeling component gave kids a good “script” to follow in life.

Researchers also found that experiential learning, or, the hands-on method, leads to better financial satisfaction, independence and less financial stress as adults.

“It makes sense that if you’ve been given opportunities to practice money management over the years, that you would feel more confident in your ability to manage money well,” LeBaron-Black said.

LeBaron-Black also noted that sitting down and discussing money is good too.

But, LeBaron-Black said, after surveying almost 5,000 adults between the ages of 18 and 30, “Just talking to kids about money, it matters less than those other two ways.” 

LeBaron-Black also noted previous studies that linked good parent-child financial education to healthier romantic relationships and less anxiety and depression as adults.

“Our financial well-being really does impact lots of aspects of life,” LeBaron-Black said.

Related: America’s dependence on credit cards is growing. The Fed’s rate hike will make it more painful

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BYU study finds role-modeling, hands-on learning most effective financial education for kids