Peer-to-peer financial education enhances youth learning

Engaging youth in peer education around financial literacy topics can greatly enhance the depth of knowledge developed. Gain strategies to implement peer education in your program.

Receiving tips and ideas from peers can be a great way for anyone to learn a new subject and help achieve change in our lives. Peer-to-peer coaching or mentoring is an effective method to help individuals, at any stage of life, relate to the content.

In particular, when it comes to money matters, youth can help each other build positive financial behaviors through group encouragement and reinforcing conversations. The peer-to-peer education process can strengthen a youth financial literacy program in any setting. Michigan State University Extension 4-H Youth Development has many resources to help adults engage youth in peer-to-peer activities and discussions to foster learning this important life skill. Many of these activities are hands-on learning opportunities and provide prompts for follow-up discussions, in the form of reflect and apply questions, to assist youth in taking their learning and sharing to a higher level.

In addition to Michigan 4-H resources, there are also a number of free website resources that can help support peer-to-peer education. These include:

  • On Your Own, created by Smart About Money (SAM). SAM is a free, unbiased resource sharing tips, articles, resources and tools to help with financial basics and decision making for different life situations. Topics are written by different people, most of whom are young adults sharing things they wished they had known or ways they became successful. The stories are varied and there is no one path or decision highlighted over other choices. Themes range from health insurance, love and money, freeing oneself from debt, being a young entrepreneur and moving up in a career path. Have youth select a theme that interests them, read the story and share the key points with their peers.
  • Spendster. Spendster is a place where users can share their stories on how impulse buying has wasted their money: this can provide inspiration and reminders to youth to engage in mindful shopping. The youth-focused site holds discussion boards, user-created videos and blogs with helpful strategies to help youth control impulse buying. Have youth create their own videos to submit to the Spendster site and share their strategies to avoid impulse buying. Youth-generated videos and advice can also be shared within the local program to expose other youth at the school, community center or club to the idea of impulse buying and strategies to shop smarter.

For adults who wish to enhance their financial literacy skills, MSU Extension has many articles about financial management topics. Visit MI Money Health for financial tips and tools on money management, homeownership and other financial education resources including upcoming trainings to enhance financial knowledge on a personal level.

Engaging youth in peer education around financial literacy topics can support the efforts of an adult facilitator and greatly enhance the depth of knowledge gained. Using a variety of techniques, including hands-on activities, discussion questions and online peer resources, you can help take your youth financial education program to the next level.

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