Give Your Grandchildren the Gift of Financial Literacy

By Daryl Rosenthal
Social Security Public Affairs Specialist in Tampa FL

One of the greatest gifts you can give a grandchild is the knowledge of
how to make wise spending decisions and prepare for a bright financial future.
As they get older, they may want to save for special purchases or their college
education. You can encourage them when they get their first job to begin
saving for the future, including their retirement.

My Social Security
When you celebrate their graduation from high school, you can also remind
them to set up a “my Social Security” account at
They need to be age 18 or older, have a U. S. mailing address
and a valid email address, and have a Social Security number. Explain the
importance of reviewing their earnings record each year since Social Security
uses the record of earnings to compute their future benefits. As they start their
first major job and begin saving, they’ll be able to monitor the growth of the
estimates of benefits available to them.

The U. S. Treasury recently introduced a retirement savings account
at for a simple, safe, and affordable way to save for retirement.
It’s perfect for people whose employer doesn’t offer a savings plan. There are
no costs or fees, the account is portable, won’t lose money and is backed by the
U. S. Treasury. The individual chooses the amount to save; the account moves
with them from job to job. The account owner can withdraw the money they put
in without tax or penalty.

Share How Social Security Works
You can share your knowledge about Social Security with your
young savers by explaining how the program works. About 96 percent of
all Americans are covered by Social Security. Social Security is financed
through workers’ contributions , which are matched by their employers. We
use the contributions to pay current benefits. Any unused money goes into
a trust fund. Nearly all working people pay Social Security taxes and about 61
million people receive monthly Social Security benefits. About 42 million
of those beneficiaries are retirees and their families. Encourage them to watch
our Social Security 101 video at On the home page,
do a search for Social Security 101.

Share Your Retirement Stories
Social Security replaces about 40 percent of an average worker’s income,
but financial planners suggest that most retirees need about 70 percent to live
comfortably in retirement. Americans also need private pensions, savings,
and investments. That means starting to save early and monitoring your Social
Security record for accuracy. You can share lessons from your own life about
saving and planning for retirement. Remember, the best place anyone
of any age can visit for quick, easy information about Social Security is


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