Getting Teens More Interested in Thinking About Money

Financial literacy, as we know it, hasn’t been very effective. But we all want it to be! No one wants financial literacy efforts to fail—the more we talk about money—the good and the bad of it—the better understanding we’ll have of it (which is kind of the reason why this site exists). So what might work?

The Wall Street Journal reports that Fidelity Investments challenged think tanks, non-profits, and individuals to come up with an effective way of teaching low-income teenagers financial skills. They received 73 ideas.

Okay, so here’s one:

In the game-night proposal, from Economic Empowerment Initiative, in Atlanta, teens and parents would first prepare a family budget. Then the teens would shop in newspapers and online for discounts and promotions to help save money. In return, the teens receive pretend dollars they could “spend” as they pleased, after putting 10% into a savings account.

Hmm. Um, okay what else?

Sorry, But Financial Literacy Doesn’t Make College More Affordable

Penn State's literacy program says: "The real problem is not the rising cost of education, it is in the lack of financial planning and lack of financial literacy skills of making sound financial decisions." Um, really?

The Problem With Financial Literacy Is That It Doesn’t Work

Second to health, money is probably the second most popular thing Americans think about this time of year while everyone is making resolutions. This is the year I'm going to be better with my money, we say to ourselves. It's a wonderful goal: We all want to be the kind of people who are good with money. And I used to believe that financial literacy was one of the keys to that—that if only we all took some kind of class about money and budgeting while we were young and impressionable in school, we would have been in a better position to avoid so many of the financial mistakes we make today. I've since changed my mind about the effectiveness of financial literacy classes.

April is Financial Literacy Month (But Financial Literacy Won’t Fix Everything)

Financial literacy doesn't prevent people from making poor choices.

What ‘DuckTales’ Taught Me About Inflation

The other night I was having a conversation with a friend about money, and we started talking about inflation. When my friend asked me where I’d learned about the concept, I think he expected me to say, "college." Instead I said, DuckTales.

A Conversation with Helaine Olen About the Dark Side of the Personal Finance Industrial Complex

A conversation with financial journalist Helaine Olen about everything that's wrong in the personal finance industrial complex.