Last week, the youth group at our church took a spring break trip to San Antonio – and it was my privilege to be one of the chaperones. One thing about 50 adolescents on a bus for 11 hours – you hear a lot of conversations. Surprisingly, one of those conversations was about payroll.
Why would a sixteen year old talk about payroll on a spring break trip? Because summer is almost upon us and it’s about time to start looking for a summer job to pay for the gas. So as one youth counseled the other youth on things such as tax withholdings and direct deposit, I made a mental note to pull out my Money Matters material when I got home and write an article.
What is Money Matters? It is a free program sponsored by the American Payroll Association and MasterCard as part of a nationwide effort to educate our youth on financial literacy. The aim of this program is to take the shock out of the payroll tax system for teens new to the workforce. Topics include completing a W-4 form, explanation of different payroll taxes, and how the net pay is calculated. This year, the MasterCard Money Matters National Education Day is September 6, 2012, but I teach the class throughout the year whenever I am asked.
When I teach Money Matters, I also include discussions on bank accounts, debit cards vs. credit cards, saving, and budgeting. Since most of my talks have been to church youth groups, I also include the importance of tithing. Whether you are reading this now as an employer or a parent, I’m sure that you can respect that our young people need to be financially literate, and they need to be taught the basics of money management. It will be important for their success both personally and professionally. Sadly, while we teach history, grammar, math, etc., we do not do a very good job in this country of educating our children on the importance of good financial stewardship. Let’s make a commitment to change that this year.