Every day, teenagers are asked to make financial decisions. Some of the decisions are small. Should I buy that coffee? How will I get the money for those concert tickets? But others will affect the rest of their lives in profound ways. Should I go to college? If I do, how will I pay for it? What about student loans?
The world moves fast. The economic landscape has transformed, handing more financial responsibility to individuals, often at an early age. The need for widespread financial education has never been more urgent.
Life expectancy is increasing, and today’s young people will have to support themselves for a long life and, chances are, a longer retirement than that experienced by previous generations. New technology continues to emerge, altering the way we pay for goods and services and making spending easier than ever. Then there’s the issue of student loans—one of life’s biggest financial commitments, made when individuals are only 17 or 18 years old.
Our economy is complex, and financial decisions can have far-reaching effects. Just as people need to be able to read and write to participate in society, they also need financial literacy.
Young people drive our economies—and our future—but most of them have never learned to save, manage, and invest their money. A financial education program is one of the most effective ways to teach money management at an early age and lay a foundation for success later in life.
Financial literacy matters to everyone, because your choices have the potential to reverberate far beyond your own life, to those in your family, school, and community. You will never stop making decisions with your money, so it’s important to be educated so you can make good ones. The earlier you learn basic financial concepts and skills, the sooner you can make a difference on a personal, local, and even national level.