Never too young to learn that money matters

Knowledge of finances might be the furthest subject from most youngsters’ minds.

And it certainly doesn’t equate to any measure of summer fun.

But armed with this basic understanding, adolescents might find the passage to adulthood a lot easier to navigate.

With that in mind — and in recognition of the limited summer recreational outlets due to coronavirus restrictions — why not give a course in money matters a shot?

Parents, if you’re looking for something for your kids to do, try the Rollstone Bank Trust’s online financial literacy program. It promises to provide a fun way to demonstrate how to properly manage money.

The Fitchburg-based bank, with branches located throughout central Massachusetts, has partnered with Banzai — an interactive, award-winning course that has taught real-world finance to millions of students — to offer free, online financial education to people of all ages.

From articles to calculators to games and activities, Banzai helps kids, teens and adults help take control of their finances.

Although Massachusetts is generally acknowledged to be the most highly educated state in the nation, it received a failing grade when it comes to imparting knowledge of finances to its public-school students. The Champlain College Center for Financial Literacy as recently as 2017 gave the state an “F” in regards to the frequency and quality of financial-education programs offered in high schools.

The state has made efforts to fill that finance-education gap.

A law Gov. Charlie Baker signed in January 2019 helped give Massachusetts students the tools they need to guide their financial futures.

The legislation allowed state education officials to establish standards around financial literacy, which schools could incorporate into their existing curricula in subjects like math, business and social sciences.

Topics including loans, interest, online commerce, renting, planning for higher education, balancing a checkbook, state and federal taxes, charitable giving, and “the role of banking and financial services,” would be covered.

At the time of its passage, state Sen. Sen. Jamie Eldridge, an Acton Democrat who sponsored an original Senate version of the bill, said such legislation was long overdue.

Eldridge told the State House News Service that he hoped the new law will encourage more schools to offer financial literacy education, so that young people could protect themselves from scams and predatory practices.

We’re not sure how many school districts introduced finance ed into their curriculum, which couldn’t have occurred until the 2019-20 school year. And we know traditional education came to an abrupt halt in March, when the coronavirus forced schools into virtual classrooms.

All of which means that most students probably have yet to receive any benefit from that law.

So, in the interim, Rollstone has offered its services. “We want to play a leading role in changing that (“F” grade) designation,” said Martin F. Connors Jr., president of Rollstone Bank Trust.

Articles, calculators and coaches are available in the Wellness Center, while lifelike simulations are offered as part of Banzai. Both links can be found on the bank’s website at

Courses are available for juniors (ages 8-12), teens (13-18) and adults.

It may not be any youngsters’ idea of a fun way to spend part of their summer vacation, but the bank’s online literacy program could pay future financial dividends.

Common sense about dollars and cents — that’s these courses’ bottom line.

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