You surely know all about our big annual Foolanthropy drive, right? You know that it's under way right now, and that it's focused on financial literacy, and that you can read about five impressive organizations right here, and even chip in with us by giving them a few dollars -- right?
But hold on -- perhaps you're not wowed by the issue of financial literacy. Maybe you just envision it as running youngsters through drills until they can identify the world's currencies or know how to make change from a dollar. But it's so much more than that, and so critical, too.
For some evidence of this need, consider the recently released results from the 2007 Financial Literacy Certification Test and survey. It's based on the work of Working In Support of Education (w!se), a nonprofit that offers a financial literacy curriculum to schools and that has reached more than 40,000 students so far. The organization was happy to report that its 2007 results "demonstrated a significant change in students' personal financial behavior as a consequence of participating in the Financial Literacy Certification Program (FLCP)." (Note that the FLCP is sponsored by the likes of Citigroup's
Specifically, the number of students who saved money on a regular basis by the end of the course increased by 14%. The number who established financial goals rose by 20%. In New York City, those who now report having bank accounts number 7% more than a year ago. The number budgeting their expenses rose 26%, and those who discussed finances with their parents or guardians jumped to a whopping 75%. In another promising sign, some schools offering the program are seeing higher performance levels from their student bodies, including higher math scores for female students.
Think about what this really means. Imagine starting out in life with budgeting already being a regular habit. Imagine having had frank talks with adults about money management. Imagine having financial goals, savings -- and even a bank account -- while still a youngster. These kids have a big head start in life.
Please join with us in helping spread financial literacy -- not just in the U.S., but around the globe. Imagine how many of the world's problems might go away if children learn some critical lessons early in life.
Longtime Fool contributor Selena Maranjian does not own shares of any companies mentioned in this article. Citigroup is a Motley Fool Income Investor recommendation. McGraw-Hill is a Motley Fool Inside Value recommendation. Try any of our investing services free for 30 days. The Motley Fool is Fools writing for Fools.