Financial Literacy Initiatives for Youth and Young Adults

Young people need financial literacy in order to make responsible and informed choices that foster well-being. Financial literacy encompasses budgeting, saving, investing and debt management.

Financial responsibility can be taught from an early age. By showing children and teens how to earn, save, and spend their money responsibly now, we help prevent costly mistakes later in life.

Education-Based Programs

programs that focus on supporting the academic and career development of disconnected youth have an impressive body of evidence demonstrating positive outcomes. Programs offering job readiness training, educational supports, and community service placements were found to have particularly strong impacts on educational, employment, and earnings outcomes.

National Guard Youth ChalleNGe program, for instance, offers a six-month residential experience that offers mentoring, Regents prep classes, career counseling services and job placement with paid internship opportunities. Experimental research indicates this program has significant positive effects on education, employment and earnings three years post enrolment.

Hudson Guild’s Teen & Young Adult Services provide academic support, vocational and college counseling, cultural enrichment activities, recreational and civic engagement opportunities and social work case management to disconnected youth. These programs have demonstrated moderately strong positive impacts on academic achievement and SAT scores as well as improved social skills, community involvement and finding friendship support.

Community Organizations

Communities across the nation are taking steps to provide young people with the financial literacy instruction that they require, whether that means through schools, churches or synagogues, local government agencies or even more casual settings such as someone’s home.

These organizations are making an impactful difference by providing young people with assistance to save, establish good credit, and achieve other financial goals that lead to self-sufficiency and stability. Furthermore, these groups offer financial literacy classes so young people can become knowledgeable about banks and lending institutions that affect them directly.

Examples of New York City community organizations helping youth address these issues include Seekers, Bronx Connect and SUCCESS. These programs and others like them focus on youth from communities of color while serving a diverse population. Many employ service learning techniques – an educational method in which students learn by doing (Vanderbilt University Center for Teaching). Such programs give their members real life application experiences that help them comprehend concepts in an engaging and effective manner.

Individual Lessons

One of the primary goals of financial literacy education for youth and young adults is to teach them saving habits they can use when making major purchases like cars, homes or college tuition fees. Savings also teach debt management techniques so as to avoid paying high interest rates; saving can provide financial security during times of economic instability by alleviating pressure off social safety nets.

Financial literacy education can be found in various settings, including community organizations, credit unions and banks. Online platforms and mobile applications also offer engaging lessons – including gamification, simulations and peer-to-peer learning – that promote financial literacies.

Educators, community organizations, and the private sector can join forces to deliver financial education to children and young adults in underserved communities where schools lack the resources for offering dedicated programs such as FutureSmart from EVERFI or Money Smart for Young People from FDIC – examples of such programs that may exist there.

Financial Tools

Proving one has the skills, knowledge, and tools necessary to manage money effectively, build assets, and avoid debt is essential to financial security. Unfortunately, young people often lack these tools; therefore they rely on community organizations, schools, or other support mechanisms in order to attain financial literacy.

Non-profit groups and schools can supplement workshops with additional resources for students such as books, websites and digital tools to teach the fundamentals of savings, spending and budgeting while teaching them how to use technology for financial tracking.

Youth often struggle with understanding their credit, an area that can be complex and bewildering. Casey’s Opportunity Passport, a matched-savings program that assists young people leaving foster care to strengthen their credit and position themselves for future success, offers educators resources that they can use to teach this topic to students. The website features strategies and practical guidance for teaching about borrowing, saving, banking and scam avoidance.

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