SH: My passion for financial literacy stems from my background and experience. Over the past 18 years, I have had the opportunity to work with individuals with their finances. In general, what I noticed is that many people were uncomfortable around the subject of money, mostly due to the lack of understanding.
A personal finance class was not taught in schools, so most of our money management skills and behavior were primarily learned at home, and very little was shared there. Fast forward 10 years, information and resources are more readily available, but the challenges still remain.
Financial literacy is important to me because I want to see us collectively move beyond money issues and cycles in order to live out our full potential as individuals, families, and even as a nation. My target market is women between the ages of 35 – 55 years old.
What is the impact of “financial illiteracy” on households, communities, globally?
SH: Money is a key contributor to stress, divorces, illnesses, and social ills.
Financial illiteracy may not be the leading cause of these issues, but in some cases, how we manage our money plays a significant role.
Limited knowledge about personal finance concepts, products and services can lead to poor decision making. Repeated bad decisions lead to consequences like, over extended credit, bankruptcy, and foreclosures.
The ripple effects are families stressed; communities stagnated, if not declining; and a global economy that is leaving our nation behind. The good news is that we can reverse this impact by through education and making wiser decisions.
What is one of the most important conversations that you have had about math as it relates to financial literacy?
SH: How did math and financial literacy get separated? To me, financial literacy is a conversation about money and money involves math.
When the government started promoting financial literacy, they focused more on understanding the terminology of products and services, such as, purchasing a house or managing your credit.
The real conversation precedes these decisions. It begins with, “how much money do I make? How much do I actually bring home? How do I plan to spend it, save it, grow it and give it”? To be financially literate is to understand how to apply math to everyday life.
Please share 3 habits and 3 (tech) tools that parents can practice/utilize to ensure their tweens/teens are financially ready to transition out of the house into the world of college and adulthood.
SH: Good money habits begin at home. 3 tips for parents are:
1) Teach your children how to save money at an early age.
2) Engage your children in money transactions. For younger children, you can get them engage at the grocery store, while teenagers can participate in a large purchasing decision.
3) Talk about money with your children.
These 3 websites are great resources for kids/teens and parents.
You host a book club for adults. What are your thoughts about a book club for youth focused on financial education? What’s the best platform (face to face, internet/webinar based) and frequency to make it meaningful and measurable?
SH: You probably think that my answer would be a resounding YES, but it is not. When it comes to personal finances for youth, overexposure is not necessary. If a youth is interested in expanding his or her knowledge, let it happen organically.
Instead, I’d suggest simulating hands on activities, like purchasing a car, shopping for a credit card, or playing games to reinforce the principles. A successful student is the one who can apply money math principles to real life situations.
According to an article on Huffington Post, teaching kids about money is not a priority. Less than ½ of the states require a personal finance course in high school. That is where we step in. It is a priority for our community. Non-profit organizations, like POWER Org Math, and community groups are filling in the gap. There are more educators and resources available. It takes a village to raise a child. It takes a child to change a generation. Hopefully we are making a difference.
Samirian Hill, The MoneyWise Teacher, is President and Founder of BudgetWise Financial Solutions, LLC, a financial education and consulting firm, where they teach people to manage money wisely. They offer engaging, educational, and empowering workshops, seminars to school, non-profits, and businesses, as well as, individual consultations.
POWER Org Math is an educational 501c3 nonprofit that engages youth ages 4-18 and families in math and career explorations to enhance their lives in fun and meaningful ways. Est. 2005.