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b&b78 Does financial literacy education actually work? w/ Andrea Ferrero

We have been out in CA this last October and November, teaching workshops up and down the coast that focus on financial literacy for kids and adults.

There are a lot of articles out there, from Time, to NY Times, to HuffPo, to the Economist, to Slate, who have evidence that it doesn’t work.

They say the financial institutions who fund or teach it have no incentive to make us smarter consumers. Even if you take them out of the equations, most experts believe that “just-in-time” financial education, i.e. when you’re about to take out a credit card, buy a home, open a bank account, is the best time to learn about it.

We just finished doing a hip hop + finance workshop with our friend and business partner, Andrea Ferrero, and decided to have a bit of an existential conversation about whether or not our life’s work actually, well, works.

Episode Highlights:

Andrea: I think that’s a big piece too, in education across the board. With literacy, with financial literacy, with mathematics, getting ready for college and career, we want that student ownership piece. We want the kids to come in and own where they’re taking their lives. To see things as a choice. That they have options. They have the ability to make decisions for themselves and reflect on those decisions, and move forward.

Andrea: I think when we’re starting with young kids, you know we’ve worked with early elementary school all the way up to kids that are going off into college, they have this openness to the information. I mean there’s definitely still some fear around different topics and there’s emotional connections and family values, but they feel more open in discussing those things. And they, for the most part, have less judgement around them, so they’re able to start to take in that information and make plans for their future, and they’re also thinking of a lot of things very aspirationally, and so that gives them this whole space to dream big and start to make plans within that.

Andrea: It’s all about building an open line of communication…Things about money are just gonna come up naturally…There’s lots of different contexts where money is just gonna arise, and so part of that just build a connection where the kids feel comfortable. It’s okay to ask questions. And it’s also alright, as an adult, whether you’re a teacher or a parent to say, “You know, I’m not quite sure about that, maybe we can come back to it and talk more about it later,” but not making them wrong for asking, and so a big piece of that is our three C’s. The first one is consistency. So, you’re giving them a chance to have this open dialogue. So we’re making money conversations a part of everyday life.