All Articles Tagged "financial literacy"
As the end of spring dawns and summer approaches, many high school students proudly wear their caps and gowns while crossing the stage with their sights set on college. Hoping for a brighter future it seems almost inevitable to acquire debt to finance your college education. The Chronicle of Higher Education estimates that over 60 percent of the 20 million students who attend college each year borrow money annually to help cover costs.
US student loan debt is now looming at over $1 trillion, and we are forced to evaluate the role student loan debt is playing in our quality of life. A study conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York found that 30-year-olds with student loans are less likely to have debts like home mortgages than 30-year-olds without student loans and the same is true for 25-year-olds and car loans. In addition, Pew Research Center found that the measure of debt to income for households under the age of 35 has ballooned to 1.5-to-1 in 2010 from about 1-to-1 in 2001. Meaning that most people carry more debt than the annual income they bring in.
Student debt is even having an impact on graduates getting married. A survey conducted by the American Institute of CPAs showed that 15 percent of respondents opted to postpone getting married as a result of their student loan debt.
The growing reliance on student loans along with the lagging economy and job market is creating a new breed of thirty-something that bet big on their college education and subsequently don’t have enough cash to make investments in assets that can appreciate in value. To make matters worse there is a debate on Capitol Hill about whether or not the interest rates for government-issued student loans will double this July. The 3.4 percent federal student loan rate is expected to go up to 6.8 percent later this summer. Students and graduates with existing student loans would not be impacted, just those applying for future federal loans. With borrowing rates for banks so low, it’s a wonder why student loans are expected to be issued at a premium.
On the bright side, the President along with members of congress are discussing ideas to keep rates down. However, most of the ideas are based on linking student loan rates to market rates like the treasury rate, which would mean student loans could fluctuate up to as much as 10.5 percent, considerably more than the aforementioned 6.8 percent. Some have even proposed allowing rates to be adjustable for the life of the loan, similar to the adjustable rate mortgages that aided in the financial crisis.
The uncertainty over interest rates and the swelling debt being accumulated by current and prospective graduates is having a direct impact on household spending and an impact on the overall economy. Kevin Carey, the director of Education Policy Program at the New America Foundation, a research group in Washington says it best in The New York Times, “It is a new thing, a big social experiment that we’ve accidentally decided to engage in. Let’s send a whole class of people out into their professional lives with a negative net worth. Not starting at zero, but starting at a minus that is often measured in the tens of thousands of dollars. Those minus signs have psychological impact, I suspect. They might have a dollars-and-cents impact in what you can afford, too.”
Now more than even is it important to teach our high schoolers and prospective college students the importance of finding ways beyond loans to finance education. Students may also want to consider going to state schools or community colleges to keeps costs low, or opting for the less prestigious school offering financial support rather than an Ivy League school that won’t give a dime.
We took a look at what we should be teaching our girls about financial literacy. What should we be doing to manage the student loan crisis we’re falling into?
As parents, we teach our children the necessary lessons to make it through life, from saying no to drugs to doing well in school in order to obtain a good job. Yet, there are certain topics we don’t bring up that have the ability to impact generations to come. When’s the last time you had a serious talk with your child about finances?
Truth be told, finances is an “F” word that many don’t like to talk about. Maybe it’s because we ourselves struggle with money matters or don’t think a child is capable of understanding. A recent study conducted by the Girl Scouts Research Institute found our daughters are ready to learn. Over 90 percent of survey participants (between ages of eight to 17) admit the importance of learning how to properly manage money. Yet, only 12 percent feel confident in making financial decisions.
If our children are ready to learn about finances, it’s time to educate them. Here are ten lessons we can start teaching our girls right now.
When Duke Eatmon wanted to teach his 16-year-old daughter about money, he put her to work.
Eatmon along with hip-hop legend Chuck D and collaborator Ron Maskell developed the world’s first hip-hop almanac, This Day In Hip Hop and Rap History, a couple of years ago. Because of the fast-flowing nature of hip hop, the almanac has to be updated almost daily. Eatmon and Maskell also produce a weekly radio show “…And You Don’t Stop” on WBAI99.5 FM in New York City.
“This is where my daughter Jessica comes in. For starters, I now record my vocal parts for “…And You Don’t Stop” and email my vocals to [the producer] based in Boston,” explains Montreal, Canada-based Eatmon. “It’s up to my daughter to download my work and send it in.” Eatmon’s daughter earns a weekly allowance for this task. “She’s done a pretty good job thus far. But at times she has mislabeled certain recordings or has forgotten to download certain recordings, which is typical of a 16-year-old girl who probably has her mind more on Justin Bieber and Bow Wow then at the task at hand,” explains Eatmon, who docks his daughter for errors.
“I’ve explained to her that it sometimes works like this in the business world when we make errors that may cost a company or cause a problem for a paying client,” he says.
There are many ways to teach kids about money, Neale Godfrey, author of Money Doesn’t Grow on Trees: A Parent’s Guide to Raising Financially Responsible Children, there are key money conversations to have with your children. Forbes took a look at them.
1. People Earn Money at Their Jobs: “It’s about raising kids who understand money doesn’t grow on trees,” she tells Forbes. “Once your kid recognizes that you’re using money to make purchases, usually around 3 years old, it’s time to teach her where that money comes from,” adds Godfrey. Have a discussion about your job and what you do to earn money. Have your child tell you what career they’re interested in and let her earn extra money by doing things related to that career. “For example, if she wants to be a veterinarian, put her in charge of walking, bathing and feeding the dog, and pay her slightly extra for the tasks,” writes the magazine.
2. You Need to Budget if You Want to Buy Things: Talk to your child about budgeting and show her how. This is what Eatmon did. “I decided to teach her about money because as a typical North American teenager, she’s always asking for a lot of it,” laughs Eatmon. “As she is going to college next year and will be starting a part-time job, I figured it might be better for her to get some home training from me before she falls into a state of shock by some mean, rigid boss who may not be so lenient and compassionate to her occasional mess-ups.” Divide your kid´s allowance into jars — 10 percent for charity, 30 percent for quick cash, 30 percent for savings to be used in the next couple of years, and 30 percent for long-term savings, recommends Godfrey.
3. Giving Back Is Just as Important as Saving for Yourself: Talk to your child about the importance of giving back some what what they have earned to charity. Have her pick a charity and make a donation.
Jason Young has a mission. The founder and CEO of Mindblown Labs, an Oakland, CA-based education technology startup, wanted to find a way to help young adults, especially young African Americans, become financially literate. So he came up with a way to entice teens to learn about money by creating a mobile app.
The Mindblown Life app is a social game that combines life-simulation elements and humor. Its aim is to help young adults develop money management and financial literacy skills. According to Blackweb 2.0, Mindblown Life “uses Facebook integration and push notifications to create a rich, in-game life filled with meaningful social experiences.” Similar to “The Sims” game, in Mindblown Life users can attend friends’ concerts, take them on dinner dates, or play mini-games with them. Users also select a career and perform reflex-based mini-games at work to earn “Money,” “Skill,” and “Reputation” points.
“Millions of students are leaving high school and college without gaining a basic level of financial literacy,” Young told the website. Social media is the perfect way to reach this demographic,, he added. “These same young adults are hyper-connected, constantly interacting with friends, and using the Internet and smart-phones to discover new things. Mindblown Life enables us to reach people where they are.”
In efforts to officially launch Mindblown Life the company launched a Kickstarter campaign at the beginning of the month with hopes of reaching $60,000. With a week left Mindblown Labs has come extremely close to their goal having raised $54,661 to date.
Currently, Mindblown Life is in private beta and will launch on iOS in the beginning of 2013. After the jump, you can check out a video about the app/game. Do you think young people would actually use it?
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation is an independent agency that offers peace of mind to customers of its member banks. Director of the division of supervision and consumer protection Sandra Thompson says the organization also has programs and information that benefit small businesses, and talks them up in an interview with Black Enterprise.
Thompson highlights the Money Smart financial literacy initiative for people of all ages. And the organization is working with the Small Business Administration to encourage small businesses to take advantage of a U.S. Treasury Department lending fund, financed with $4 billion. Coupled with the lessons about creating a business plan from the Money Smart program, it can be the helping hand that entrepreneurs need to establish themselves. But the interview does raise the question of tighter lending standards at the nation’s banks.
“…I would encourage people to do is take a look at what information banks need to assess whether or not they’re going to approve a loan,” Thompson says. “There’s a lot of planning that goes into just opening and operating and establishing a small business and so there’s a lot of work that can be done up front.”
Read the entire Q&A on BlackEnterprise.com.
The recession may have hit women harder than men, but that didn’t stop them from succeeding to turn traditional roles and become the breadwinner. New research shows that overall, women are the primary breadwinners, as they take over for partners who have lost jobs, face divorces or decide to marry later.
Although women are the primary breadwinners overall, 22 percent of women who are married or living with a partner report are the higher earners. Broken down by race, 31 percent of married African American married women are the breadwinners. When women are the breadwinners, they are more likely to keep a separate financial account and investments. Although they maintain their own financial portfolio, only 20 percent of these women say they believe they are equipped to make good financial decisions, compared to 45 percent of men. In fact, women that are earning $50,000 or more are uncertain about their ability to maintain their lifestyle.
“The study shows that with women in more control than ever of their finances, they face significant challenges when it comes to financial decision making, and admit to a lack of knowledge about financial solutions that can help them,” Susan Blount, the senior vice president and general counsel of Prudential Financial said in a press release. Prudential Financial released the report.
One of the keys to improving women’s financial confidence is utilizing a financial advisor. Women that use a financial advisor are more likely to be on track financial and in line with making retirement goals. Although only 35 percent currently use an advisor, over a third of those who don’t were willing to consider it, with cost a main factor in deterring women from hiring one.
“It is concerning that so many women do not feel they have the information they need to make the necessary decisions to help secure their financial futures,” Christine Marcks, president of Prudential Retirement. “Whether the financial services industry or advisors like it or not, given women’s key role as primary breadwinners and financial decision makers, there needs to be greater emphasis on supporting women’s financial needs and helping them plan for a secure retirement.”
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(MyBankTracker) — Financial literacy means understanding how the financial decisions you make today can affect you in future, and starts with understanding basic financial principles that make up the backbone of financial planning. The RAND Financial Literacy Center was established back in 2009 as part of an effort to create financial tools programs to assist individuals expand their understanding of personal finance. That effort also included developing a list of the most important financial literacy concepts for young consumers to understand.
Michelle Thornhill is the Senior Vice President and African American Segment Manager at Wells Fargo/Wachovia. Michelle has over 15 years of experience developing consumer initiatives for diverse audiences in the financial services and non-profit sector. Michelle earned a Bachelor of Science from Virgina Polytechnic Institute and State University, a Master of Science in Administration from Central Michigan University and a Master of Public Administration from Harvard University, the John F. Kennedy School of Government. Michelle resides in Charlotte, N.C. with her husband and two sons.
Michelle Thornhill will provide personal finance tips to get you and your family on the right track when it comes to money management. This financial tip is sponsored by Wells Fargo. Here’s Michelle Thornhill.
Wells Fargo is providing tips to help your children learn about money
management. At each stage in your child’s life, consider ways in which you can help them prepare for a successful financial future.
1.) When you have newborns, be sure to update your own health and life insurance policies to benefit them or even start a college fund.
2.) When your child gets older, start teaching them about saving, budgeting, and setting small financial goals that they can reach.
3.) Give teenagers more money management activities and teach them about how credit works. High school students can benefit from learning about financial aid, student loans, scholarship qualifications and salary ranges for different careers.
Set your children up for financial success tomorrow by setting the standard today.
For more financial tips and information, visit www.handsonbanking.org
(BET) — African-Americans were the biggest victims of the subprime mortgage-lending fiasco that was in large part responsible for the nation’s weakened economy. On Monday, the NAACP and Wells Fargo opened a Financial Freedom Center, to be housed in Washington, D.C., whose mission is to protect minorities from predatory-lending practices and promote financial literacy. The center is the outgrowth of a lawsuit filed by the civil rights organization last year that was dropped after the bank agreed to participate in the initiative. In addition to developing programs to help the center enact its mission, the bank will donate $2.5 million annually for the next five years to fund the center.
There’s nothing like hanging with your girls, but sometimes your pockets are a little light and brunch at that very cute, but expensive restaurant just doesn’t mesh well with your bank statement. This writer for AOL Black Voices put together a list of budget-friendly girlfriend activities like having a book club.
Check out the full list here!
What are your fav wallet-friendly things to do with your girls?