Literacy as a Path Toward Individual Freedom and a Flourishing Society
Would you expect a child to be able to read without ever being taught how to read? In our information-driven society, how would rising generations fare without the ability to read and engage with written text? Literacy is fundamental to our well-being and it extends far beyond the skills of reading and writing – being literate enables us to learn and grow, fosters individual freedom and contributes to a flourishing society. At its core, literacy enables us to achieve our goals and develop our potential (6).
Financial literacy is just as fundamental to our individual security and well-being (3) and just like literacy, its effects extend far beyond the financial realm. Financial literacy encompasses both the knowledge of financial products and services, and the ability to act in ways which enhance our well-being (5). As we develop financial literacy, we become empowered to make informed choices (2), build self-efficacy (5), accomplish our goals, achieve economic mobility (1) and develop our unique potential. Studies have shown that individuals with chronic financial difficulties have less psychological well-being (4) and the effects of poor financial literacy are profound. Financial literacy, just like the ability to read, fosters individual freedom and contributes to a flourishing society.
Just as we wouldn’t expect a child to be able to read without ever being taught how to read, we cannot expect our youth to successfully transition into adulthood without financial literacy. Since the mid-1990s, there has been a rising interest in providing financial literacy education to youth (3) and financial education is increasingly being incorporated into curriculums at middle schools, high schools, colleges and universities throughout the United States (5). Over the past few decades, research has uncovered some key strengths in youth financial literacy programs and highlighted opportunities for growth. Our approach to developing financial literacy in youth utilizes these evidence-based methods, and is strengthened by our own experience in the financial industry.
At GROW Academy, we understand the importance of financial literacy in promoting well-being within the individual, the family and society as a whole. We also understand that nobody makes it through this life alone, and our approach to financial literacy draws upon the unique strengths of financial experts in the local community. We believe that together, we can achieve a brighter financial future.
(1) Friedline, Terri, and Stacia West. “Financial Education Is Not Enough: Millennials May Need Financial Capability to Demonstrate Healthier Financial Behaviors.” Journal of Family & Economic Issues, vol. 37, no. 4, Dec. 2016, pp. 649–671. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1007/s10834-015-9475-y.
(2) Gil, Esther L. “Leading the Way for Financial Literacy Education: A Case Study on Collaboration.” Journal of Business & Finance Librarianship, vol. 20, no. 1/2, Jan. 2015, pp. 27–53. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1080/08963568.2015.978710.
(3) Gutter, Dr. M. “Financial Management Practices of College Students from States with Varying Financial Education Mandates.” National Endowment for Financial Education, 01 Feb. 2010.
(4) Maurer, Trent, and Sun-A. Lee. “Financial Education With College Students: Comparing Peer-Led and Traditional Classroom Instruction.” Journal of Family & Economic Issues, vol. 32, no. 4, Dec. 2011, pp. 680–689. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1007/s10834-011-9266-z.
(5) Montalto, Catherine P., et al. “College Student Financial Wellness: Student Loans and Beyond.” Journal of Family & Economic Issues, vol. 40, no. 1, Mar. 2019, pp. 3–21. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1007/s10834-018-9593-4.
(6) Program for the International Assessment for Adult Competencies (PIAAC) - Literacy Domain. National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) Home Page, a Part of the U.S. Department of Education, nces.ed.gov/surveys/piaac/literacy.asp.