The transition from being financially dependent to financially independent can be a slippery slope for anyone, but especially seems to affect millennials. This struggle comes from young people’s lack of financial literacy. What exactly does it mean to be “financially literate”?
Basically, financial literacy is the understanding of how money works in the world. Succeeding at tasks such as budgeting, managing loans, and investing all must come from a basic understanding of financial principles — an understanding that millennials don’t always have.
Why is it then that our generation struggles so much with this idea of financial literacy? The answer is simple—we were never taught about finances.
Millennials don’t have enough access to education on financial literacy. Most high schools lack curriculums that promote financial literacy. Classes such as Economics are no longer considered “essential,” though the principles introduced can help students get a head start on understanding finances. When these students are expected to be financially independent they struggle because they never acquired the financial knowledge needed to succeed in the real world.
Beta Alpha Psi is looking to tackle this issue, one student at a time. Beta Alpha Psi is a business fraternity that helps build leadership skills and creates a clearer path for life after college, career wise.
Jaclyn McCoy, the Treasurer of Beta Alpha Psi, describes how colleges are trying to tackle this issue. “I know learning communities now have a whole section of their class dedicated to learning these tips and skills,” she said. “I believe this is because in a college town, such as Athens, spending money here or there on food or alcohol doesn’t seem to be a big chunk of money, but if students understood how much a month they actually spend on such categories, they would be shocked.”
Beta Alpha Psi takes a hands on approach in solving these issues with their Financial Literacy Program. They have implemented a program to discuss financial literacy with students from all parts of campus.
“We make presentations and also have a table at Baker Student Center frequently so students can stop by to learn how to get these skills to better manage their money,” McCoy describes.
They don’t stop there though, making visits to Greek houses, dorms, and learning community classrooms to give an overview on how students can be more financially literate not only in college, but in the future. Volunteers train their members to answer questions that students might have on financial subjects. In these sessions students learn essential skills such as managing a budget, investing well, and even saving up for retirement.
McCoy doesn’t think that the education should stop there, in fact she believes that Beta Alpha Psi’s Financial Literacy program is just the start. “I think there should be a class that is mandatory for every student maybe once every week, no matter the major, to help students create budgets and understand how to invest, etc,” she said.
“I would have loved this as a freshman because being on my own, I went a little crazy with my money.”
These sort of situations often occur for students when they’re out on there own, but with just a little bit of financial education students will be able to become financially independent.
Have something to add to this story? Comment below or join the discussion on Facebook.
Header image: Google reuse