“I am definitely a better saver and I understand how loans work. This makes me think twice about what I spend and the loans I agree to take on. Having financial literacy has decreased my stress level because I am able to make informed and smart decisions when it comes to money spending,” according to Valentina’s experience.
And Kianna agrees. ” I am now able to properly save and spend money that I get. I fully understand that I gain interest on money that I put in my savings. I am a much better saver than I was before these Center For Smart Financial Choice classes. Overall, I am not as stressed as I was before.” These two college students are talking about the financial education they received through classes with CFSFC. The Center for Smart Financial Choices(CFSFC) is the only non-profit organization in the Piedmont Triad region whose mission is entirely financial education. CFSFC focuses its time on “teaching financial education through personal interactive programs to enable individuals to make better financial decisions now and in the future.”
In the seven years we have been operating, CFSFC has provided this education to over 14,000 teens and young adults and over 3,000 adults by meeting people where they are in life and providing workshops through employers, non-profit organizations, high schools, colleges and individually.
Why is financial education so important?
Financial literacy is a growing and alarming problem in the U.S. According to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, 63% of Americans are categorized as “financially illiterate.” The issue has become so important that in 2004, Congress passed a law citing April as “Financial Literacy Month.” In the legislation, the U.S. Senate said the initiative was needed to “raise public awareness about the importance of financial education in the United States and the serious consequences that may be associated with a lack of understanding about personal finances.”
Financial education is a core life skill for thriving in modern society. Children are growing up in an increasingly complex world where they will eventually need to take charge of their own financial futures. As young adults learning to live independently, they will need to know how to budget and make wise financial choices for everyday living.
MONEY EQUALS CHOICES. At CFSFC, we do not tell students to save their money just to get rich and travel the globe. We teach them that saving money allows them, not their financial situation, to be the primary drivers of their lives. We teach them that by changing small money habits today, the future grows wider and wider, bringing with it the freedom to focus on things that really matter and that bring meaning to our lives: family, relationships, education, new experiences, giving back, etc.
How can parents be involved in helping their children learn about money while they are still young?
It is vital that families begin talking about money while children are young to help them be ready for the challenges they will face as adults. Make it simple and age appropriate.
- Show them an ATM machine and explain how you have to put money into your account from working so you can have cash when you need it. Bring them inside your financial institution for a tour and to take some of the mystery out of what happens there.
- Use going to the grocery or retail store as way to show them how much things cost, to compare prices and when older, what discounts and clearance items are all about.
- Involve your children in budgeting by planning a family activity that will require them to give up something like a trip to McDonalds or the movies to save for an activity that will leave a memory.
Support Financial Education
On April 30th, CFSFC will have its annual fundraiser, called “Wish I Learned That in School.” Guests will participate in a budget simulation “Adult for a Day” similar to that presented in local high schools and colleges. Families are welcome to help celebrate 2019 Scholarship Recipients while recognizing the importance of personal finance and education. cfsfc.org/events