Financial education makes students confident decision makers

The National Endowment for Financial Education High School Financial Planning Program is an effective curriculum and is free for educational use.

Teaching financial education to young people has been found to be crucial to their attitudes towards financial decision making. The National Endowment of Financial Education (NEFE) recently documented an in-depth program evaluation of the NEFE High School Financial Planning program. Sharon Danes, Ph.D., conducted the research with nearly 4,800 students and several hundred teachers across the United States during the 2009-2010 school year.

The results found that, before the program, only 40 percent of students reported feeling confident about making financial decisions. Immediately after the program, the percentage rose to 66. Three months later, 79 percent reported that they felt confident in their decision making in regards to their finances. Having young people feel more prepared to tackle the financial decisions in their future is important in ensuring we have a fiscally-responsible generation.

Topics covered in the NEFE High School Financial Planning program include financial planning, budgeting, savings and investing plans, credit and debt, financial services, insurance and careers. While the program is geared towards high school students, it can be adapted for older and younger audiences. The program is not only proven to be effective, it has an added bonus of being free to educators and instructors to utilize in non-profit settings such as schools, groups and outreach efforts.

Michigan State University (MSU) Extension and Michigan Credit Union League (MCUL) partner with NEFE High School Financial Planning program to train instructors in the use of this curriculum and support financial education that takes place around the topic of financial education in the state.

In the past year, more than 100 adults have been trained in the NEFE High School Financial Planning program curriculum by MSU Extension and MCUL staff. Information on the curriculum can be found on the NEFE High School Financial Planning program website.

More information on the NEFE High School Financial Planning program trainings and other financial education resources can be found at the MSU Extension 4-H Youth Development program website.

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