Money Moves: The Push For Financial Literacy In Schools47:09

Is this why young people aren't buying houses?  (Marco Verch/CC BY 2.0)
Is this why young people aren't buying houses? (Marco Verch/CC BY 2.0)

Over the summer, a 21-year-old marketing intern wrote a “money diary” for the website Refinery29. It went viral..

Paycheck Amount (Weekly): $747.50, plus $100-120 every one to two weeks from babysitting.

Additional Income: On top of my intern salary, my parents give me a $800/month allowance, and my grandpa also wires me $300 every month (#blessed).

On top of that, the intern’s parents also pay her rent and other expenses, including a membership to Equinox — a boutique (read: very expensive) gym. Here’s an excerpt:

Dinner is delicious, but the service is terrible and the food is overpriced. The edamame comes out last, and my steamed veggie dumpling appetizer is forgotten. We get individual checks because some of my friends ordered drinks and some of us got more food. My check is $45.09…I’m in shock, but swallow my pride because #HamptonsPrices. $45.09

Lines like those led to the inevitable criticism that young people in general are financially irresponsible.

But are they? And if so, whose fault is that? Financial literacy is not part of many schools’ curricula.. A 2018 study by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign found that nearly half of the emerging adults participating in the study were financially precarious (32 percent) or financially at-risk (36 percent).

From the study:

The low percentage of emerging adults with sound financial behaviors and attributes in the NCFS sample clearly shows the need to invest more in the financial education efforts of children and youth. It is concerning that children and youth are entering adulthood without adequate financial capabilities to ensure their future wellbeing.


How can young adults improve their financial literacy?

This show was produced by Bianca Martin. The idea was suggested by Allix Bradecamp, as a part of our series of listener-pitched shows.


Laura Levine, President and CEO, Jumpstart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy; @LLevine

John Pelletier, Director, Center for Financial Literacy at Champlain College

Jessica Endlich, Co-founder and chief operating officer, Next Gen Personal Finance

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