For decades, if not longer, parents have believed that the only way for their children to do well in life was to get a college degree and then get a nice steady job so they could save up and retire when it was time. This belief continues, even though the world supporting the belief has changed dramatically.

For the kid who doesn’t want to go to college but, instead, wants to be his own boss, the path isn’t as clearly drawn. It’s often these young adults grow into true entrepreneurs because they don’t want to have a boss…they want to BE the boss.

Even though many parents push their kids toward college, this may not be the best plan of action any more. College has become simply A way and not THE way for young adults to move out into the world of making money on their own. And if our children were taught that college wasn’t the only way, fewer of them would leave high school feeling like total failures right off the bat.

Exploring the ever-present ‘gotta get a degree’ mentality further, you read that college dropouts, as well as graduates, often leave school with tremendous amounts of student loan and credit card debt. To make matters worse, the graduates go out into the world with unreasonable salary expectations. This often leads to trouble quickly after the excitement of graduation wears off.

The next step is often to move back in with mom and dad, find a job…any job…just to get by, let alone be able to pay down the debt or move forward in life financially. Many young adults struggle finding work at all, leaving mom and dad questioning how to help their grown children get on their feet so they’ll finally be able to make it on their own.

What if, instead, our children got a different type of financial education before they moved away from home? One that spoke to where we are today in terms of making money, careers and this new idea of financial freedom?

The challenge is that the current financial education model doesn’t fit the current paradigm of today’s young adults. The definition of financial literacy and the implementation of financial education need to change in order to prepare our kids for the very interesting economic future ahead.

Financial literacy used to mean understanding the importance of saving, balancing a checkbook and creating a budget to live on one’s means and invest for the future by accumulating money that would eventually grow to support us when we got old.

Now, financial literacy must include knowing how to invest in assets that produce passive income now and in the future. It must include knowing that financial freedom means having more money coming in than going out, knowing how to be an entrepreneur, understanding the art of leverage and a whole lot more.  It must, also, include knowing how to make money on the Internet!

It used to be expected that the kids with the A’s went to college and the kids who got C’s went out to make it on their own the hard way. Turns out the kids who got C’s created many of the businesses that the kids who got A’s ended up working for!

What if we taught our youth how to be self-sufficient, not just financially, but in all areas of life? We could call it Life Literacy. And what if we taught it in school to ensure that when children become adults they have the skills necessary to live well on their own?

Financial Education Needs A Facelift

The shift in financial education begins with the acknowledgment that more students don’t graduate from college than do graduate from college.

Financial literacy needs to expand past learning to save and invest for the long term to save and invest to create passive income for now and the future. Financial literacy needs to evolve into wealth literacy because more wealthy people have done more good for the world and the people living on it than any government has ever done. And the world right now, needs a lot more good.

If we prepare our youth to be leaders, instead of followers, employees and soldiers, to create true wealth in their lives early on, we will have fewer problems with poor economies, less unemployment and other social problems that arise from issues related to poverty. Right now, our children are being led down of path of roses where the roses are all but gone. The sad thing is that they are trusting us to lead them in the right direction, but we’re not. We’re leading them down a path that no longer works.

It is our responsibility as a nation, to prepare our children to be responsible, self-reliant adults. In our current educational system of testing the memorization of worthless facts and figures, teachers can’t teach what’s important and students are bored, drugged or worse, just trying to play the game of education in order to make it through the day.

Let’s all start taking a more active role in preparing our youth to be financially responsible adults. We accomplish this by setting the best example we can, talking to them about everything truly relevant to life and giving them plenty of practice making and using money while they’re young, before the pain of their mistakes bring them home with their tails between their legs.

Any change worth making takes time. And there’s no better time to change than now.

Elisabeth Donat’s Bio

Elisabeth Donati is the owner of Creative Wealth Intl., LLL, creator of Camp Millionaire and The Money Game and the recipient of the 2010 Financial Educator of the Year Award from the National Financial Educators Council. She is known as The Financial Literacy Lady. She is author of The Ultimate Allowance and writes a weekly blog called Financial Wisdom with a TWI$T. Elisabeth is an expert in teaching the basic financial principles people need in a way that is engaging, empowering and fun. For information, or call 805-957-1024.