New financial literacy program commits to close the financial education gap, help teens achieve financial freedom

Article

September 14, 2021

By Carrie Schwab-Pomerantz, president, Charles Schwab Foundation, and
managing director, Charles Schwab & Co., Inc.

In my work with Charles Schwab Foundation, I have seen first-hand the difference financial literacy can make in a person’s life by giving them a foundation for financial security and, ultimately, independence. But I’ve also seen how difficult it can be for teachers and parents, schools and nonprofits to teach this critical life skill to America’s youth.

The barriers are significant: socioeconomics, school budgets, expertise, time, remote locations, to name a few. The fact is access to financial education is unequal in our country. And those most in need aren’t being taught the financial literacy skills that can help improve their opportunities and economic mobility.

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"At Schwab, we’re putting a stake in the ground to help prepare every teen in America to achieve financial freedom by filling the education gap most schools struggle to address."

By Carrie Schwab-Pomerantz, president, Charles Schwab Foundation
Carrie Schwab-Pomerantz

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With the introduction of our groundbreaking new financial literacy program Moneywise America, Schwab will help level the economic playing field for teens, particularly those in under-resourced schools and communities. Moneywise America is one of four Board-approved diversity and inclusion programs announced by the Schwab Executive Council.

Moneywise America includes three core components:

  • Extensive employee volunteer training to give employees the competence and confidence they need to meaningfully engage teens in financial education.

  • A standards-based curriculum that was developed for and with teens in mind, coupled with Schwab’s financial literacy and education expertise and third-party experts, including PhD and master-level teachers.

  • An expanded volunteer infrastructure that offers employees virtual and in-person volunteer opportunities, and that will pair them with their favorite local nonprofits or schools, in addition to Schwab’s established nonprofit relationships, including Boys & Girls Clubs of America and DonorsChoose.

Learn more about Moneywise America by visiting www.moneywiseamerica.com.

 

Why every teen needs financial literacy

MWA-Yanely

Learn about the importance of financial literacy in one young person’s life by watching “The Life-Changing Power of Financial Literacy” video.

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I have eight brothers and sisters.

My name is Yanely Espinal. I'm number six in line.

I knew that we struggled financially but, in college it was different. Everybody around me was not like me anymore. Everybody around me had money. I didn't want anybody to find out that I wasn't at least middle-class.

To play that part, I had to come up with the money somehow. I was using credit cards to do anything and everything.

After college, I ended up with $20,000 of credit card debt. I realized if I didn't do something about this, I will continue to perpetuate the generational cycle of poverty in my family. But I didn't know anybody who could talk to me about it.

So, I found this book called, "Women and Money". I'm getting this book. 401k, my Roth IRA, my HSA, my brokerage account, inflation and expense ratios. This is basic information. It's just crazy that I went through kindergarten, through the 12th grade, an Ivy league school, master's degree, became a teacher, and never learned any of the things in this book.

You know, if I'm the quote unquote lucky one, I'm the one that got the college scholarship. If I'm struggling like this, what the heck is going on with all my friends who didn't make it?

This is about how my finances got wrecked and how I fixed it. And if I could do that as a regular girl from Brooklyn, you can do it too.

Everybody feels like it's their story. Everybody feels like, "Oh, I'm going through this." "I'm struggling through that." It's not I'm, it's we. By doing something, by becoming an advocate, we can open up that gateway to financial education.

There are these negative cycles in our society. So we have to change that. The root of this conversation is money. Basic plain and simple, we're talkin' about money.

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