“An investment in knowledge pays the most interest.” — Benjamin Franklin
Business owners: Are you continuously curious and committed to attracting good customers and employees? The ones who know the difference between a good product and a bad product when they see one? The ones who see the full value of the benefits package you are offering?
Parents: Are you wondering how your children will navigate the financial maze of life? Are you concerned they might make the same money mistakes you did?
A sound financial education is the key to addressing these issues. This is particularly true for our children. They are our future consumers, employees, and leaders. It is critical to the success of our economy, and our children’s success in life, that they leave school with a solid foundation for their financial futures. An uninformed consumer is a risk to our economy. An uneducated student is a risk to himself or herself.
If you think our children are already getting this education, think again. According to the Council for Economic Education’s 2016 Survey of the States: Economic and Personal Finance Education in Our Nation’s Schools, only 20 states require high school students to take a course in economics, and the number of states that require high school students to take a course in personal finance remains unchanged at 17 since 2014. Some schools in Delaware offer these courses, but not all.
One of the strongest partners for these programs locally is the Center for Economic Education & Entrepreneurship, which offers the Keys to Financial Success personal finance curriculum being taught in many of Delaware’s high schools. The program helps Delaware students learn valuable financial lessons from kindergarten to college. These include how markets work; how conscientious spending, saving and investing can lead to financial security; and how innovation through entrepreneurship is a possibility for all.
The center has been a terrific partner with Bank of America, where our mission is to make financial lives better through the power of every connection. With their leadership and together with many partners and talented teachers across the state, we’ve been able to effectively double the number of students in Delaware who are receiving financial education. We’ve also co-sponsored the Personal Finance Challenge and provided personal finance education to more than 600 University of Delaware freshman students annually.
But, there is still work to be done for thousands of students. We plan to continue this work, and we encourage other businesses, partners and parents to influence the money movement. Many tools exist, including bettermoneyhabits.com, a free online education resource Bank of America developed in partnership with the nonprofit Khan Academy. It is part of Bank of America’s commitment to helping everyone understand more about money one decision at a time. Local nonprofit partners include Delaware Money School, DCRAC, Junior Achievement, and Stand by Me.
Let’s be a money mentor to others in the business of life. Our community and economy will be stronger, and we will all benefit.
Connie Montana is a Bank of America vice president working as the community relations manager for Delaware.