The Importance of Financial Literacy

At Traveling Stories we believe not only in the importance of reading literacy, but financial literacy as well.

As April is National Financial Literacy Month, it seemed essential to shine the light on the subject.

A significant number of Americans are inadequately educated about their personal finances. According to the National Financial Educators Council (NFEC), due to people’s lack of preparedness, Americans carry more than $2 trillion dollars in consumer debt. Further more, 30% of consumers report having no extra cash, causing them to live paycheck to paycheck.

This lack of financial education begins at an early age. America’s youth experience many classes and courses throughout their schooling career, but all too often it is how to understand money and finances that is left out of the course work.

Students are not the only one that feel unprepared, but teachers as well.

In an online exam conducted in 2012-2013, the NFEC states that among 1,309 individuals aged 15-18, only 357 (a measly 27.2%) achieved a score higher than 70%. Many students within this age group admit to feeling unprepared to face the complex world ahead of them.

Students are not the only one that feel unprepared, but teachers as well. In a 2002 segment titled “Financially Illiterate: Schools not Teaching Personal Finance,” it was said that often times educators find themselves unfamiliar with financial material. They are afraid students will ask questions they do not have the answers to, so they stay away from the topic all together.

The book buck system

To help fight the Financial Illiteracy Monster that looms about, Traveling Stories works to educate the young minds that visit our weekly StoryTent programs.

Traveling Stories established the “book buck” system to teach children basic financial literacy skills – how to earn, how to save, how to spend wisely. For every book a child reads, they earn a book buck. If they tackle an especially large or challenging book, they have the right to negotiate with a volunteer for additional book bucks. The book bucks earned can then be used to purchase a variety of prizes.

It is our hope that with programs like this in place, we can help to change the current statistics, and help more of the world’s youth become financially literate.



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