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Study Finds Few U.S. Teens Financially Literate; Oklahoma's TTCU Doing Its Part to Help
Friday, July 11, 2014 6:25 AM

In an increasingly global economy, just one in 10 teenagers around the world is able to make some key — but complex — financial decisions, including choosing among various loans or analyzing invoices and pay slips.

The picture is no better in the U.S., where only 9.4 percent of 15-year-olds were able to answer the most difficult questions on an international test of their financial knowledge and skills. More than one in six U.S. students did not reach the baseline level of proficiency in financial literacy. At best, those students could make only simple decisions on everyday spending, said a report released this by the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Recognizing that more effort needs to be made to ensure our young people have the skills to be financially successful, credit unions like TTCU and others are doing their part to help. Tulsa, Okla.-based TTCU works with local schools to offer a program called Foolproof Financial Literacy. The FoolProof Financial Literacy curriculum is a highly interactive, self-grading group of online lessons called "modules." The modules teach young people about money, financial responsibility and the realities of the free enterprise system. WEOKIE CU in Oklahoma City, Okla. also offers FoolProof.

In 2007, the state of Oklahoma passed the Passport to Financial Literacy Act, which requires students in Grades 7-12 to learn basic concepts of handling their finances. The 14 different topics designated as standards for instruction are intended to provide students with the basic skills and knowledge needed to effectively manage their personal finances. FoolProof is one of the approved curriculums.

According to Georgia Steele, relationship management director with TTCU, the high school graduating class of 2014 was the first to have to complete the financial education requirement. 

“Our credit union was established by teachers in 1934, so we are ardent supporters of our schools. We recognized that meeting the new state mandate would be a hardship for our schools, so we wanted to help,” Steele says. “By making FoolProof available to students and teachers, we are empowering young people with essential financial skills that will help them be more financially responsible adults.”  

TTCU says it is offering a webinar on July 23 for area teachers interested in learning more about FoolProof. The webinar will be offered two more times in September.

Helpful Resources:

The Cornerstone Credit Union Foundation’s free FOCUS “Train-the-Trainer” workshops, designed to arm credit unions, educators, non-profit organizations and community leaders with the skills they need to motivate young people into adopting positive savings and spending habits.