According to, “financial illiteracy is more common among low-income individuals because they typically do not have wide access to accurate financial information (Facts about Youth Knowledge & Capability, nd.)” Lack of access to information in the following key areas may contribute to youth’s inability to make sound financial decisions to and through adulthood:
  • Predatory lending practices;
  • Public and work-related benefits;
  • Banking practices;
  • Savings and investing strategies; and
  • Credit use and interest rates (Facts About Youth Knowledge & Capability, n.d.)

In the fall of 2016, the Department of Labor conducted a survey of YouthBuild grantees to learn about their financial literacy practices, including how young people were encouraged to save and what financial education programming was offered.

A promising result of the survey was that 100% of the YouthBuild grantees that responded to the full survey affirmed that some form of financial education was offered to their young people.  The education offered ranged along a spectrum of one-on-one money management conversations to implementation of a program-wide financial literacy curriculum such as “Money Smart for Young Adults” or “Junior Achievement.”

Considering the long-term impact of the lack of accurate access to financial information, it is important for YouthBuild programs to incorporate financial literacy into the program design. Promising YouthBuild programming practices highlighted in the survey were:

  • Inviting local banks and credit union representatives to facilitate financial education workshops at their program;
  • Conducting budget conversations during case management meetings;
  • Assisting students with opening savings and checking accounts;
  • Offering direct deposit option for stipends and depositing a percentage of stipend into savings; and
  • Partnering with banking institutions and/or community based organizations to open “Individual Development Accounts” for students with 1:4 match savings.

One survey question asked YouthBuild grantees ‘What do you think is the most important thing for youth to learn about managing money?’ Consensus emerged around three concepts:

  1. (credit, budgets, predatory lending awareness, taxes, and money management); Foundational Financial Education
  2. (building trust of banking institutions, wants vs needs, breaking paycheck to paycheck cycle, living beneath means); and Principles
  3. (budgeting for household, emergency funds, balancing bank accounts, tracking spending). Real World Application

If you didn’t get a chance to attend our webinar on Financial Literacy, Assisting YouthBuild Programs to Promote Financial Saving, the results of the financial literacy survey sent to 2013 – 2016 YouthBuild grantees, and Amelia O’Rourke-Owens of America Saves for Young Workers provided information and resources to assist YouthBuild programs in ensuring youth participants begin preparing for and practicing good saving strategies now., please click on the link to access a recording.  This webinar discussed

Here are some additional resources to help you build your financial education programming:

  • Building Your Money Skills: Taking Charge of Your Future - This seven-week, hands-on financial education program is designed for young adults, ages 16 to 24. The program introduces participants to basic financial planning concepts such as goal setting, making a spending plan, building an emergency fund, and the wise use of credit. In addition, each participant receives a 68-page youth guide. The chapters in the youth guide correspond to the seven units in the program.
  • Practical Money Skills for Life – This free curriculum for 9-12 graders features research projects, activities, discussions, tools and resources - created to engage students to navigate the important finance skills necessary to build a future after high school.
  • High School Financial Planning Program (HSFPP) - This curriculum, created by the National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE), offers a full suite of free instructional resources to teach high school aged youth in a classroom or workshop setting.
  • America Saves for Young Workers (ASYW) - utilizes direct deposit to help youth save a portion of their pay into a separate account. Youth can complete the simple, all electronic, 10 minute America Saves program near the start of their employment program. The program includes a video that tells them exactly how to save, and encourages them to choose a savings goal and pledge to save a certain amount each month. – This program

Reference: Facts About Youth Financial Knowledge & Capability. (n.d.). Retrieved January 23, 2017, from