As I walk across campus each week I do not hear students trying to learn the financial literacy definition. But what I do see are uncertain and in some cases worried college students asking about how to pay off their student loans, figuring out ways they can afford to go out on the weekend and how to get out of credit card debt.
Although they are not directly asking for a financial education if they had the skill sets described in the NFECs’ financial literacy definition many of those worries my peers face wouldn’t exist. The vast majority of people ‘wish they were taught about money’ but have lacked the financial education resources necessary to do so.
I am shocked that financial education resources are have not been and are still not provided at any level of schooling. Yet every adult I talk with since I started this internship says some version of ‘I wish someone would have provided me financial education resources when I was growing up’.
Having a financial literacy definition is a great place for schools to start. This can be further expanded by using the NFECs’ financial literacy pyramid and following their financial education standards. “There are already clearly established guidelines that any organization can follow to raise money smart kids,” stated a NFEC spokesperson.
Although I personally feel our school system should provide today’s youth financial education resources; since they don’t I feel our parent’s also have a responsibility to share personal financial lessons with us. My parents taught me not to smoke, to look both ways before a crossed the street and even made me take drivers training before they gave me the keys to the car which they were kind enough to buy for me. However, they never gave me any financial education resources or even shared any personal finance lessons
Looking back I kind of wish my parents would of chip in for the car or at least have sat me down and explained things to me. Last year I bought a used car and had to bring a friend with me, who didn’t know much, but knew more than me. I don’t know if I got a good deal, a good loan and know I’ve been late on a few payments. At this point I definitely didn’t possess the skills described in the NFECs’ financial literacy definition and I’m still paying the price.
Although I mentioned schools and parents as places we should get a financial education; it is ultimately my responsibility as a 23 year old to understand the topics that most affect me.
Reflecting on this financial literacy definition: “Possessing the knowledge and skills on financial matters to confidently take effective action that best fulfills their personal, family and global community goals” - I can clearly understand there are benefits to me. I want to live my personal American Dream and accomplish the goals I set for myself.
The NFECs’ financial literacy definition puts the responsibility on me and also gets me focused on how I can serve the ‘global community’. I think a big part of my service will be helping to provide financial education resources and raising awareness to the issue of financial illiteracy.