The last ten to fifteen years have seen a great push for financial literacy, most of which has been through a flurry of books and non profit organizations. I’ve compiled the list below as a resource for you to use in order to find reputable places that are supporting this cause. Each of the mentions are filling the void left by traditional education in a positive way. Some have big government backing and others are just a small operation, either way their contribution is valued.
Finance is a skill
I consider finance a primitive skill in the way that is essential to survive in society. Teaching its principles will make the country better, these organizations are committed to doing so. The younger we reach our youth, the better.
Many of the bigger backers of financial literacy have been big banks. Capital One is the first to come to mind. Capital One’s financial literacy programs include Money Wi$e, Capital One Junior Achievement Park, and Bank It. MoneyWi$e offers a free curriculum and teaching aids. In addition, it holds regional meetings in order to make sure its reach is achieving its true potential. It’s also one of the few programs that are multilingual, which is quite the asset in this melting pot we live in.
Let’s look at an Example
Remember, one third of Hispanics in the USA are under the age of 18. Focusing on other languages can be one of the best parts of Capital One’s efforts. Junior Achievement Park is an online platform that teaches through virtual learning labs, it is mobile and interactive. Bank It encourages the importance of discussing personal finance, while encouraging money management skills. As their website notes, it is a one stop shop for youth and workshop leaders to educate on making positive financial choices. Capital One is clearly doing what it can to spread the message.
The National Financial Educators Council is a non profit organization committed to helping others educate. They offer everything one needs to start a financial literacy business or operation. Curriculums, marketing methods, and much else can be found on their online portal for those who purchase through the NFEC. Furthermore, their customer service is exceptional, that comes from first hand experience.
A helpful voice on the other end of the phone shows that they are committed to helping their customers. This organization is a very valuable resource in that they offer their own training and educator certification. Not only that, you’ll find financial literacy framework and standards on their website. One challenging part of having a financial literacy organization can be receiving or applying for funding. The National Financial Educators Council offers support for grant applications, as well as other types of funding. If you are looking to start a program yourself, this should be your first stop! Their prices are reasonable, though some complementary resources are available.
The National Endowment for Financial Education
The National Endowment for Financial Education has been committed to serving this niche for more than 25 years. If you are looking to put on a workshop, they are a great resource and free of cost. The endowment is a perfect resource for credible and objective information in the personal finance field.
Their mission and vision is that “everyone deserves financial education”, who can argue with that? Financial education is a unifying issue, one that partisan politics can’t even seem to infect.
JumpStart is a program started by the former Ford Motor Credit CEO, Bill Odom in the mid 1990’s. He was, in my opinion, one of the pioneers of the industry. Since then, the program has formed over one hundred partnerships around the country. This kind of influence can make a real difference in the cause for financial literacy. It’s key initiatives include their national standards, financial literacy month, an annual awards dinner, and national educator conference. JumpStart also holds what they call Hill Day; an event held on Capitol Hill every year. Few other programs have such a high reach within the powers that be.
These are just a few of the thousands of initiatives out there. While most hold similar values, each differentiate themselves just a little differently. Financial education not only will greatly improve the chances of achieving your goals, it can be a way to fuel the economy. After all, an educated public will be less likely to fall into debt. At the moment, credit card debt is a problem for many. Would this be such an issue if the programs above were traditionally taught in our schools?
My bet is that they wouldn’t be. Please, share this article in order to further the cause. Every little bit helps!