Teaching Financial Literacy

August 25th, 2009, by

Q: I would like to know where I can find information about classes being offered to youth groups concerning financial planning and wealth building. I recently started a mentoring program for girls and thought this would be an interesting topic for them. Please provide me with some resources.

Tabitha Boyce, Atlanta, GA

A:What a wonderful thing you are doing in mentoring young girls and wanting to offer them financial literacy training. I would encourage you to include the parents of these young girls, because studies show that parents greatly influence what children learn about money.

There are a number of resources you can tap to provide financial information as part of your program. Here’s where you can find help and information:

  • Start by perusing the Web site for the Jump$tart Coalition. This is a Washington, DC-based not-for-profit that strives to improve the personal financial literacy of students in kindergarten through college. One of the services the organization provides is the Jump$tart Personal Finance Clearinghouse, which lists more than 750 titles of financial literacy materials.
  • At the Choose to Save Web site, you can find some basic personal finance information, which you can download and present to the girls. On the Resources page, look for the “Kids – Learning About Money” section.
  • The National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE) has a site with some good basic personal finance information.
  • The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) has a free curriculum that it distributes on a CD. The site’s “Money Smart for Young Adults” section targets youth, ages 12 to 20, and teaches the basics of handling money. One of the good things about this material is that it’s unbiased information. Some of the educational modules include “Bank On It,” which teaches banking basics; “Pay Yourself First,” which helps students identify ways they can save money; “Borrowing Basics,” a module on debt; and “Charge It Right,” which focuses on using credit wisely.

As I said, it’s great you are adding personal finance to the services you are offering the girls. In the Jump$tart Coalition‘s biennial financial literacy survey, high school seniors correctly answered only 48.3% of the questions.

“The survey demonstrates that graduating high school seniors continue to struggle with financial literacy basics,” Lewis Mandell, Ph.D., professor of finance and managerial economics at SUNY Buffalo School of Management, said when the survey was released last year. Mandell conducts the surveys for Jump$tart and the Merrill Lynch Foundation.

The 31-question survey found that high school seniors have a lot to learn about important financial concepts.

Last modified: April 26, 2011 at 10:59 am