A solid financial foundation is necessary for making smart money management decisions later on in life. A financially literate child has a much better chance of becoming a financially literate adult. Unfortunately, many adults do not get an adequate financial foundation, resulting in poor money habits. Roughly 60% of adults who took the National Foundation for Credit Counseling and Nerd Wallet’s 2015 Consumer Financial Literacy Survey said they spend without a budget. Approximately 28% are worried they don’t have enough emergency savings.
This is why financial educator Brian Page is on a mission to teach financial literacy to America’s youth. “I believe every student deserves to understand how to be financially healthy, and by teaching financial literacy skills, I knew I could make a difference,” Page told The Cheat Sheet.
The Reading, Ohio-based high school economics teacher is a personal finance adviser for a financial education curriculum that will be taught to more than 90,000 students this year. The curriculum, Budget Challenge, instructs teens in budgeting basics such as paying bills and establishing an emergency savings fund.
“The Budget Challenge allows students to road test their money management strategies, compete with classmates and students across the country for college scholarships, and learn without the real world consequences,” says Page.
Lending a hand
Page also works with teachers to assist them with incorporating personal finance into their curriculum. The educator goes above and beyond to make sure his students understand basic financial concepts. His classes not only include traditional instruction but also talks given by CEOs and financial experts. In addition, Page used his knowledge of personal finance to co-create a personal finance board game (along with former professor John Morris) called Awesome Island.
Page’s passion for financial literacy has not gone unnoticed, as he has been widely recognized for his efforts within the financial education community. He was selected to be a member of the President’s Advisory Council on Financial Capability working group, where he served as a K-12 financial education content expert. Page has also won several awards and was named 2011 National Educator of the Year by the Milken Institute and the Ohio Department of Education.
Increasing financial knowledge
Page says Americans’ level of financial literacy needs some improvement. This is not shocking, considering the fact that roughly 35% of teens do not know how to manage a credit card and 31% do not understand what a credit score is, according to Charles Schwab’s Teens & Money survey.
“I’m surprised our country has yet to fully commit to helping our next generation become personally responsible and financially healthy,” says Page. “The key to increasing financial literacy is teaching financial literacy concepts within engaging, hands-on learning activities such as H&R Block Budget Challenge,” he continues.
A passion for financial education
When asked what inspired him to become involved in financial education, Page notes his desire to impact young lives. He says he finds helping others with their financial literacy to be very fulfilling, calling it a crucial 21st century survival skill.
“One of my students mentioned on camera in an interview with PBS that she was using what she was learning in my class to help her mother avoid bankruptcy. It reinforced my passion to prepare every student to be financially healthy, and opened my eyes to the positive ripple effects of financial literacy in our classroom,” recalls Page.
Throughout the year, The Cheat Sheet will be highlighting individuals who are making an impact on the financial education community. Stay tuned for more financial inspiration.