It Takes a Village

It Takes a Village to Improve Financial Literacy

“It takes a village,” and the Counsel for Economic Education (CEE) needs our help.  According to the 2015 National Report Card on State Efforts to Improve Financial Literacy in High Schools, only five states in the nation teach a minimum of one semester of Personal Money Management to their students.  Houston, we’ve got a problem!

That’s only 10% of the 50 states in our great nation, surly we can do better than that!  Something appears to be severely flawed with California, Washington, South Dakota, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Alaska and Hawaii receiving a grade of “F.” That’s 20% of our states that Failed.

Take a look at the map:

Ranking of the States with Financial Literacy in High Schools

FIN LIT States Report Card

” Let’s take a look at the CEE 65 year history and its goals, “Our goal is to reach and teach every child to create a more informed citizenry capable of making better decisions as savers, investors, borrowers, voters, and participants in the global economy.”

Has the CEE reached it’s goals?:

  • Savers – According to a CNBC survey nearly half of Americans have no savings of those who do 62% have less than $1,000 in savings and 1 in 5 have nothing in their savings account.
  • Investors – U.S. household wealth fell by about $16.4 trillion of net worth from its peak in spring 2007 (CNN Money). Could be because of poor investing on the average investor’s part or something more nefarious.
  • Borrowers – One only look at student loans, According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, “Student loan debt in the U.S. lies between $902 Billion and $1 Trillion with around $864 Billion in Federal student loan debt. The average student loan balance foe all age groups is $24,301.”
  • Voters – The current election cycle speaks tons on voters as well as voter awareness and voter education. In most states many people are not aware of the caucus/delegate or primary system in their own states which leads to low voter turnout.
  • Global Economy – According to the last report issued by the European Central Bank No1034/March 2009 the U.S. cyclical developments to the rest of the world tends to fluctuate over time but remains large overall. Well one out of five of their goals is not bad, oops!

That’s the way things appear with these leading authorities.  I include as authorities the policymakers, financial literacy educators all the blame should not be placed on the CEE.  There is plenty of blame to go around i.e. Federal Reserve Bank etc.

Going on the premise we’ve been told over the years “We learn from our failures.  Getting the information out there and reaching the masses and starting from the basics in my opinion is the way to go.  Research suggests financial education can help consumers make better choices.

For the last 14 years I’ve taught financial literacy, job skills training, life skills, technology, leadership, team building, etiquette and a number of different subjects to youth in a program I currently work for.  I’ve watched my teens grow to become self-sufficient citizens.  All of my teens enter high school with a post high school plan and a set of measured goals on how to achieve their plan.

I tell you it can be done,  We can help our youth to become financially literate.  We may need to take a different approach.  The 65 year history of the CEE and other authorities on Financial Literacy has proven that their approach is not enough.  That’s not to say that they haven’t been successful, rather they have not been successful enough.

I challenge you my readers to let us give it a try.  My target audiences are the young adults out there who are feeling the pain of not having adequate personal money management education.  To make this happen I need the input and participation of you the parents, teachers, mentors, employers, business leaders and community leaders etc.

What I’m talking about is beginning leadership and direction from the bottom-up by getting feedback from the people who are in the trenches and have a gut feeling for what these young adults really need.  If you know who these people are, forward my post.  If you’re one of them, take action and respond. Keep in mind any and all information in this blog is given absolutely free.

I’ll start this effort off with a question:

 Question:  What one subject (I know there’s many but try to narrow it to one) in dealing with financial literacy would you want your sons, daughters, grandsons, granddaughters, nieces, nephews, great grads and loved ones to know about?  Send your response in comments or in an email.

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