As a parent, I would never dream of handing my car keys to a teenager who hasn't first completed a driver's education class and spent significant time behind the wheel, ideally with me sitting (nervously) in the passenger seat. But every day, parents across America allow their children to obtain keys to the financial world -- credit cards, debit cards, student loans and car loans -- with hardly any instruction on how to safely steer their financial lives and avoid crashes.
This is incredibly dangerous. In many situations, someone who lacks basic financial skills is arguably in as much danger of inflicting long-term damage on themselves, their legacy and others as someone driving a car who has no idea what they are doing. Teens and young adults who don't understand the basics can easily find themselves mired in a traffic jam of financial woes that lasts a lifetime.