The Massachusetts Financial Education Collaborative (MFEC) had one big reason for targeting its video contest to middle school kids: advertising.
“Hey, you gotta have a cell phone. You gotta have these jeans. The contest seemed like a great way to bring awareness” to the issue of kids and our consumer culture, said Andrea Wrenn, mother of five, education consultant, and the MFEC volunteer who oversees the contest.
Two Massachusetts middle schools submitted videos exploring kid consumerism in the first year of MFEC’s contest: the Norwell Middle School and the Hill View Montessori Charter Public School in Haverhill.
Squared Away encourages readers to support the new effort by clicking here to vote for your favorite video! The voting deadline is April 27.
The contest is among the creative ways communities are encouraging children and teenagers to learn about the money issues they deal with – a play recently staged by Cambridge high school students was another.Learn More
New research adds a dash of spice to our understanding of how people handle their personal financial matters: families who dine together grow wealthy together.
Three professors at the University of Georgia have discovered that families who commit to gather regularly around the dinner table – or, presumably, dine out or cook together – are better prepared financially and will accumulate more wealth faster.
As with any statistical analysis, their research can’t prove cause and effect. Is it that dining together causes wealth to go up, or is that families who know how to handle their finances also tend to be the type of people who enjoy meals together?…Learn More
A top official in the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) said educational outreach to four vulnerable populations – college students, seniors, members of the military, and low-income earners – will be integral to the bureau’s research, regulatory, and legal enforcement efforts.
CFPB’s consumer division will “work with regulators to make sure people know what they are signing” and to help “clean up the marketplace” by ridding it of abusive products, Gail Hillebrand, who heads the consumer division, said at a Massachusetts Financial Education Collaborative conference held Friday at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
Citing the subprime mortgage crisis, Hillebrand said it began “one mortgage at a time” – in large part due to poor disclosure by salesmen or on mortgage forms. Many borrowers who ultimately went into foreclosure failed to realize that their payments would rise sharply after the period of the initial, discounted interest rate ended. … Learn More
Most people think they’re above average when it comes to financial knowledge. And it’s not easy to educate people who think they know more than they actually do.
But hubris – or something like it – is what financial educators are up against, indicates research by professors Annamaria Lusardi at the George Washington School of Business and Olivia Mitchell at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. Their paper used data from 1,200 respondents to a survey they conducted for the Investor Education Foundation or FINRA, the self-regulatory agency for the securities industry. It may be the most comprehensive study on Americans’ financial literacy.
Seventy percent of the survey’s respondents believe they know more about basic financial concepts than most other people. But they scored poorly on the survey’s three rudimentary financial literacy questions. One-third to one-half of them answered the questions incorrectly or indicated they didn’t know the answers.
The results “paint a troubling picture of the current state of financial knowledge in the United States,” the authors said.
Further, this low level of knowledge, when combined with overconfidence about that knowledge, does not bode well for attempts to educate people about money and their personal finances.
Before I provide more detail about Lusardi and Mitchell’s findings, take the quiz yourself. Here are the questions1: Learn More
Paul Solman, a business reporter in Boston for the NewsHour on PBS, put together an excellent piece about educating preschool children about saving. In it, Solman interviews Grover and the children of behavioral economist David Ariely of Duke University, among others.
The piece discusses a research study on self-control among young children, which was covered recently by Squared Away.
The secret to D2D’s success in luring players to its financial video games starts with the $150,000 it spends to design each game with MIT researchers and an award-winning Web designer.
But the Boston non-profit puts just as much emphasis – and an undisclosed amount of funding from The Wal-Mart Foundation – into distributing the games.
D2D has used an e-mail blitz to 100,000 community college students in Indiana and hosted game competitions in city neighborhoods in Massachusetts, Florida, Texas, New York, and Maryland. It partners with large employers, financial companies, state governments, and the military – organizations it recruits to promote the games to its employees, clients, or members. New products aimed at distribution include Spanish-language games and apps for the iPad and Droid.
D2D’s five games have attracted a combined total of 106,000 unique visits since the first and most popular one, Celebrity Calamity, came out a year ago. That’s not quite in league with, say, Disney, which has had 750,000 visitors to its Great Piggy Bank Adventure and an Epcot exhibit in Orlando backing it up, according to T. Rowe Price, the mutual fund company that collaborated with Disney on the game. …Learn More
Consider these grim outcomes for financial educators:
One study found that the seniors who had the least financial knowledge were most confident about their knowledge;
The most successful educational tools – stock market games – send the message it’s okay to gamble;
When Illinois required consumers to attend a workshop for certain types of mortgages, homebuyers avoided those mortgages;
Scores for national financial literacy tests administered to high schools by the JumpStart program declined between 1997 and 2008;
Soldiers exhibited worse budgeting behaviors after taking a financial course than before.
In the past decade, foundations, governments, and non-profits have poured millions into financial literacy efforts in grade schools through college and among low-income neighborhoods and specialized groups, such as homebuyers and the military.Learn More