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Early Lessons in Saving Improve Odds for College Success

I'm a big believer in teaching kids about money. Giving an allowance to pay for gadgets, buy gifts, donate to charity, and establish good savings habits makes sense.

Turns out, those money lessons may up kids' chances of finishing college, too.

New research says that children with savings accounts in their own name are six times more likely to attend college than those who don't. The study is in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Children and Poverty.

Family habits also matter. A review of 38 studies found a positive link between household assets and children's educational success, according to research by the College Savings Initiative, an initiative of the Center for Social Development and the New America Foundation to increase access to college for low- and moderate-income students.

College is an expensive proposition these days, so it makes sense that those who plan for it—both kids and parents—are more likely to succeed. Lack of financial resources is one of the main reasons students drop out, surveys show. Still, we Americans aren't as good at saving as we should be, and there is a growing recognition of the need to improve money know-how—and to start it earlier.

Parents looking for some direction on how to get started with important money lessons, check out Janet Bodnar's book, Raising Money Smart Kids. It's packed with practical advice that will get your kids on the right track with finances—and, ultimately, might land them a degree.

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