Reaching the target audiences who most need financial education requires raising awareness about the benefits of learning money skills and where to get such learning. Effectively building awareness requires marketing, media support, shared responsibility, and setting up financial educators as recognized leaders in the financial literacy space.
Marketing efforts might consist of branding, creative message strategies, and getting support from community groups. Strong collaborations should be forged with all types of media outlets. The best programs are ones that share the burden of responsibility across individuals, families, schools, the government, financial professionals, employers, and nonprofits. Grassroots advocacy can help build this shared responsibility model. Positioning instructors in the community as financial education experts also raises awareness and helps the movement.
Finally, financial literacy education should include an element of sustainability. Collaborations between community partners helps spread the costs of program delivery across a broad base. Advocacy assists to generate new funding streams. Publicizing results demonstrating program effectiveness will encourage long-term support for maintaining the program.
There are ways to create economies of scale for personal financial literacy programs, thus increasing their potential sustainability. Integrating financial education into already existing curricula, like high school math or English classes, is one example. Another method might be to leverage existing programs or events that offer materials that are easily customizable to be presented in a variety of venues and time frames.
This article recaps the best practices for financial literacy education laid out in the NFEC’s National Strategy report. Effective education, raising top-of-mind awareness, and scalable sustainability form the three pillars holding this strategy up. Anyone seeking to create a viable program should consider these ideas as best practices for financial education.