Where Can Millennials Get Financial Education?

There is no shortage of information online about every topic from credit cards and mortgages to car loans and debt management — however, the quality and legitimacy of the information is not always clear — especially if the person seeking it does not have the financial knowledge to separate the facts from the sales pitch.

Some “financial education” is not educational at all, and amounts to little more than a checkbox for regulatory compliance by resource-strapped agencies or predatory entities. Meanwhile other well-intentioned programs fail to meet the learners where they are, and end up seeming out of touch, irrelevant or, worst of all, a waste of time.

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What Is (and Isn’t) Financial Education?

It can be difficult to discern effective financial education from ineffective methods if you don’t know what to look for. NEFE came up with some examples from various sectors:

School

A flier posted on a bulletin board hardly constitutes “financial education,” which ideally should be embedded in and integrated with curricula in math, social sciences and life-skills courses, or delivered in a self-guided online learning environment that is free from ads and sales pitches.

NEFE Resource: Check out the High School Financial Planning Program® (www.hsfpp.org) for classroom curriculum and CashCourse® (www.cashcourse.org) for self-guided resources aimed at community college and four-year college students.

Community

Your friends and family might claim to know all about personal finance topics, but it’s hard to tell how reliable their information is, and they might not be aware of aspects that affect your specific situation. Look for free and unbiased community workshops or seminars presented by trusted facilitators who are not out to make a buck.

NEFE Resource: Visit Financial Workshop Kits (www.financialworkshopkits.org) for turnkey workshops on money topics, and create a pre- and post-workshop evaluation with NEFE’s Evaluation Toolkit (Toolkit.nefe.org).

Home

While it’s nice that your parents care enough to do your taxes for you, that doesn’t qualify as financial education. Nor is it enough to just watch a TV show with your grandpa about picking stocks (especially if you don’t understand the larger picture of investing). Aim to have regular, ongoing discussions about relevant financial topics such as credit, debt, money management and wealth building with your family members — especially as your parents age.

NEFE Resource: NEFE has two research-based quizzes to jumpstart the conversation about money: the Financial Identity Quiz and the LifeValues Quiz. Visit both at www.smartaboutmoney.org.

Work

Picking workplace benefits is increasingly important now that retirement planning is shifting from defined benefit plans such as pensions to defined contribution plans, which require more active participation by employees. It’s not necessarily enough to answer a couple memory-retention questions after skimming through a human resources PowerPoint. Effective workplace financial education includes unbiased information about the pros and cons of potential choices.

NEFE Resource: Smart About Money (SAM) will begin offering free online courses that employers can share with employees who want to learn about personal finance basics. Visit www.smartaboutmoney.org this summer for the latest.

Internet

There certainly is a lot of information on the Web about a variety of financial topics, but how do you know what to trust? Look for noncommercial, unbiased, trusted resources and research-based tools to answer questions before making a financial decision.

NEFE Resource: Find useful information and resources for all stages of life on NEFE’s general consumer websites: On Your Own (www.onyourown.org), Smart About Money (www.smartaboutmoney.org) and My Retirement Paycheck (www.myretirementpaycheck).

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See the full Spring 2016 Digest or download the PDF.

Contacts

  • Paul Golden

    Media Relations Director

    Direct: 303-224-3514
    Cell: 303-918-3620
    pdg@nefe.org

  • Patricia (Pat) Seaman

    Senior Director of Marketing and Communications

    Direct: 303-224-3538
    pas@nefe.org