Warren Buffett’s free financial literacy lessons

With the country wallowing in deep economic troubles that serve as testament to how little Americans understand about money, super investor Warren Buffett just launched a financial literacy program that offers free lessons for children (and adults).

The program, called the Secret Millionaire’s Club, offers animated episodes that teach financial literacy, entrepreneurship and core math skills. One of them, for example, has a cartoon Buffett helping some kids figure out why a girl’s lemonade stand isn’t profitable. The episodes all include a stock ticker with companies, including Hershey’s, Google, Kraft, Sony, Time Warner, Apple, and Build a Bear.

Free material based on lessons in the series will be made available to more than 100,000 teachers as part of the “Learn & Earn” educational program. Kids are being invited to compete in a contest seeking new ideas for businesses, and they can set up their own virtual stock portfolios from the “Buffett Bucks Stock Market.” Buffett takes questions from kids and answers them on a webpage on the site called “Ask Warren.” Here’s an example:

Mariah, Age 11, CA:

I started babysitting and I am really happy to get the money and put it in my saving's account but I want a raise. How should I ask?

[Buffett:] Write down all of the reasons why you believe you deserve a raise. Some of the things which will be important to demonstrate are reliability, honesty, and dependability. You might also be able to demonstrate that other people in the neighborhood are being paid more than you for the same service. Then go visit your employer and present your case. The better prepared you are to present your position, the more likely you will be successful. Good luck!

This isn’t the only financial literacy program out there, but there is something unusual about the most famous investor in the world offering free financial literacy materials. If there were anyone you’d want to take advice from about financial literacy, you’d be hard-pressed to find anybody better than Buffett.

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Valerie Strauss covers education and runs The Answer Sheet blog.

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