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Professor of finance Prakash Dheeriya hopes to teach young children about personal finance
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Caption BulletProfessor of finance Prakash Dheeriya hopes to teach young children about personal finance; more below

Prakash Dheeriya: Never Too Early to Teach Kids About Managing Money

Professor of finance Prakash Dheeriya recently published "Finance For Kidz," a series of books that teach children about managing money, personal finance, and planning for the future.

An expert on distressed markets, Dheeriya says that “Finance For Kidz” was inspired by his wish to prepare his two sons, who are 5 and 6, to be “good financial citizens.”

“I saw the financial meltdown happening all around us and the impact of that on people's lives,” he says. “I just don't want my kids to face this kind of crisis again. If people had been better educated in the basic principles of finance, I think such a crisis could have been avoided.”

Written for grade levels K-3, the series teaches financial awareness and basic economics through illustrated stories and exercises. Topics include inflation and deflation, wants versus needs, and budgeting . Dheeriya says the main thing children need to learn about personal finance is that “money is just a tool.”

“If they understand what it can and cannot do, then they will be able to control it, rather than live life as if money controlled them,” he says.

Dheeriya says that children are typically taught about how to handle money long after their value system has been established by their parents and society.

“As parents, we tend give in to whatever our kids say they want, and we don't emphasize the difference between a want and need,” he points out. “Who wants to turn down their own child's request for a toy? By the time they learn about money, the entitlement mentality has already been set.”

Dheeriya, who grew up in Bombay, says that he did not learn about finances until his teenage years, when he was finally given a small allowance by his parents. He says that education on money and finance needs to happen early in a child’s life.

“Just like we teach our kids to look both ways while crossing a street, we can teach them these simple financial principles they can carry with them all their lives,” he says.

Dheeriya joined the faculty at CSU Dominguez Hills in 1991 and served as chair of the Department of Finance and Quantitative Methods from 2000 to 2002. He says that one of the unique factors of teaching the largely working class student population is “that they all have families to take care of and they are trying to [make] a life better than their own for their kids.”

For more information on "Finance For Kidz," click here.

- Joanie Harmon

Photo above: Professor of finance Prakash Dheeriya hopes to teach young children about personal finance with his new series of books, "Finance For Kidz." Pictured with his sons Kapil, age six (at left), and Vikesh, age five.

Courtesy of Prakash Dheeriya

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Last updated Monday, January 10, 1:50 p.m., by Joanie Harmon