04/07/2011 07:04 pm ET Updated Jun 07, 2011

Money Management Is the New 'Birds and Bees' Talk

Many parents shy away from having the "birds and the bees" talk with their children, hoping they'll learn that information elsewhere. The same often happens for many families when it comes to talking about money. As we found out in a recent poll conducted by Junior Achievement and The Allstate Foundation, 92 percent of teens said that they learn money management from their parents. However, less than half said that they discuss money management as a family.

With economic recovery in the balance, many Americans are still grappling with one of the fundamental issues that led to the financial crisis -- responsible money management. Many families are taking a hard look at their personal debt and savings, trying to balance the two. April is Financial Literacy Month -- an opportune time for parents to discuss personal finance with their children.

We have known for a long time that there is a general lack of information and understanding about the basics of finances, and the precarious state of the economy has left many wondering if they have the fundamental skills and knowledge to properly manage their household finances. Teens are feeling the crunch too, with 81 percent of teen respondents saying the recession motivated them to learn more about money management. Teens are eager to learn, but do we have the knowledge, skills and motivation to respond?

Being conversant in the principles of personal finances, such as budgeting, balancing a checkbook, establishing good credit, and saving is absolutely essential to make responsible choices and to maintain financial health. Junior Achievement offers programs in schools throughout the country that empower teens to make sound financial decisions through experiential learning in the areas of financial literacy, money management, investing and budgeting skills. And now, JA offers free, online lessons for elementary, middle and high school age students that parents can learn from as well.

Financial Literacy Month is the perfect time to kick-start a life-long process of wise money management decisions, and with the right tools and resources, parents can play a pivotal role in teaching sound financial principles to their children. Let's help our young people by supporting their desire to learn how to manage their money, now and in the future. Junior Achievement has focused on the need for financial literacy for nearly 100 years, and our real-world curriculum is more relevant now than ever before. Find out more about Junior Achievement's financial literacy programs in your area; for more information and parent resources, visit