A 2013 report by the Center for Financial Literacy stated that to avoid another financial crisis in the future and to improve personal finance outcomes for American citizens, our nation must be educated in personal finance. The report advised that a great place to start is with our K-12 students. The study went on to note that in too many of our states, our youth receive little if any personal finance training in middle school, high school and college. According to this same report the State of California has few requirements, or none at all, for personal finance education. In response to this challenge on a local level members of the Rotary Club of Bakersfield East and the Rotary Club of Bakersfield Twilight organized the Youth Literacy Program for high school seniors and emancipated youth. Considering information from the Financial Educators Council, 49% of teens are eager to learn more about money management, and only 14% had taken a class on a financial literacy topic.
Many of our local high school students will graduate and pursue higher education. A Key Bank and Harris Interactive poll revealed that almost one-third of college students, when reflecting back on their freshman year, admit that they were not very well prepared for personal money management on campus. Three out of four of these students admit having made mistakes with their money when they arrived on a college campus.
The target population for this program are high school seniors and emancipated youth in Bakersfield, California. Currently, the program is being offered at East Bakersfield High School and Mira Monte High School. Additional high schools and organizations serving emancipated youth will be added in subsequent years.
The curriculum will be developed around the following major themes:
- Developing a Life Plan and Goal Setting
- Money and How to Manage Money
- Paychecks and Deductions
- Budgeting and Monitoring Spending
- Banking and the Responsibilities Associated with Checking and Savings
- Credit and How to Use Credit Wisely
- Insurance and How It Contributes to Financial Security
- Identity Theft
- Credit Bureaus and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)