Teaching Young People About Personal Finance
Financial literacy organizations aim to teach young people about finance and credit before they get into debt. Transcript of radio broadcast: 09 April 2009
This is the VOA Special English Economics Report.
April is National Financial Literacy Month in the United States. As the country faces a deep recession, Americans are paying closer attention to personal finance. Some critics partly blame the crisis on Americans’ low savings rate and high personal debt.
But efforts to increase financial knowledge have grown in the last ten years. Government, community and business leaders have pushed for teaching young people about the importance of saving, budgets and the true cost of credit.
The Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy is based in Washington, D.C. It is an organization of about one hundred eighty groups, government agencies and businesses. Its goal is to provide financial knowledge to children and young adults before they get into debt.
Jump$tart’s Executive Director Laura Levine says many young people misuse credit cards without meaning to. She says they often start by making the lowest payment required. Over time, their credit limit is increased, but they do not pay off their debt. Laura Levine says young people can take on more debt than they can deal with.
The government says forty-five percent of college students have credit card debt. The average amount owed is more than three thousand dollars.
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