Back to School: Personal Finance 101

Lauren Young

I'm amazed at how many back-to-school financial pitches I get: Today my inbox featured emails on changes to 529 plans; smart credit card strategies for college students, as well as credit score advice for the university set.

As I recently reported, a recent survey of 1,500 21- to 35-year-old college grads, sometimes referred to as Generation Broke, found this cohort owes an average of $30,000 in student loans. What's more, they are delaying marriage, kids, even medical procedures, to pay off their educational loans.


Clearly, our kids need some help. If you want your kid to get an "A" in educational financing, point them to, Sallie Mae's comprehensive online "going-to-college” resource. You'll find a variety of tools and resources about saving for college, including information on the programs available for individual states and savings calculators.

Ideally, you'll start teaching your kids about saving and spending at an early age. While I might get in some trouble for touting a competitor, The Wall Street Journal ran a great column this week on allowances. The gist of the piece is that you should give your kids an allowance as soon as they can understand that money buys things.

Some other good resources for young kids include:
answers what you and your kids need to know about credit. promotes financial literacy for K-12 youth. The site isn't especially pretty, but there's lots of good information there. . Click on students to practice money management skills.