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The FinLit Story of a DoughMain Financial Literacy Foundation Intern

By: Aya Fukahori

All parents hope that their children will have long-lasting, healthy, and peaceful lives. What does happiness mean to them? Traveling around the world? Building a business? Starting a family? We all value different things in life, but you may notice that the topic of “money” is always valued. While parents are their children’s first teacher, some conversations are harder to have than others, especially when it comes to money. Parents might be afraid that their financial mistakes will make them look bad, that they don’t know enough about money, or that they don’t have enough confidence to teach their children about finances. But is this true? Does teaching financial education to your children have to be so professional?

I remember when I first learned my family had debt. Going back to my childhood when I was around 10 years old, I had daily conversations with my mother, who informed me that we have debt. I was shocked at the amount and that it would take about 25 years to pay it all off. I still remember how astonished I felt at that time. When I was a kid, I had several after school activities which made me quite busy every day and had delicious meals that my mother cooked every night. I believed that we were living a “peaceful life”, and due to this belief, I could not understand why we had debt and, even worse, why it plagued my family.

Fortunately, my mother explained that this debt was a house mortgage and that my parents had constructed a financial plan to pay it off. She also explained that taking out loans is normal for people who have their own house; therefore, I needn’t worry about it so much. Looking back, I now realize that this was the most memorable finance lesson ever given to me by my family. Although, I still believe my mother didn’t intend on teaching me that lesson. That day I learned about the importance of taking financial loans for big purchases and how to handle your money to live your life. Now you can see how any topic related to your life can be the first step in learning personal finance for children and it is not that hard for anybody. All you need is to start talking with your children as early as possible.

Dr. Annamaria Lusardi, Denit Trust Chair of Economics and Accountancy at the George Washington University School of Business (GWSB). Moreover, she is the founder and academic director of GWSB’s Global Financial Literacy Excellence Center (GFLEC). In a recent interview she mentioned the importance of family discussions about money. She also discussed the importance of making financial literacy education available to everyone in the classroom.

Our inspired curriculum, called the FitKit, was created by Doughmain Financial Literacy Foundation for students and the larger community to prepare for a lifetime of financial literacy and responsibility. Most importantly, our financial literacy programs are offered at no cost to students or communities with the support of local businesses and organizations. The FitKit is a 60-hour curriculum and covers topics on the entire spectrum of personal finance, which includes Income and careers, Pay, Benefits and Deductions, Taxes, Budgeting, Banks and Banking, Savings and Investments, Credit, and Insurance.

Many of this post’s readers may, at present, be concerned about how it works and how effective it is for students. Our FitKit also includes standardized pre-and post-assessments, standards mapping, lesson plans and activities, videos, gaming, and much more. The curriculum is designed to be tweaked by every teacher to fit the specific needs of the students; it is this element of the curriculum that makes students not just sit in the classroom and listen to the boring financial lessons, but instead allows them to be more interactive and enjoy learning about financial topics to deepen their understanding.

The FitKit also touches on the common concern we hear from school leaders and educators regarding the adoption of financial literacy in the classroom; namely, the educator’s belief that they lack the necessary knowledge and confidence for teaching personal finance. The FItKit includes teacher guides, teaching materials such as powerpoints and videos, and additional financial literacy resources.

Thankfully, our FitKit has gained recognition as an “Innovative Educational Program” by the State of Pennsylvania since 2016. Moreover, it has reached over 5,750 students to date and, since its inception, has witnessed financial literacy scores increase by an average of 40% for students that participate in the FitKit Program. Our goal is to expand our reach to more schools and communities in the local region and on a national scale, including underprivileged youth and adults outside the school system. At present, we are working to reach 100,000 students over the next three years.

We really appreciate your attention and consideration to support us in this cause. To donate today, please visit our Donations Page.

Wallace, Kelly. “Why Don't Parents Talk to Kids about Money?” CNN, Cable News Network, 20 Sept. 2017, www.cnn.com/2017/09/13/health/money-talking-to-kids-parenting/index.html.

“Interview Annamaria Lusardi ‘Talk with Kids about Money as Often as Possible.’” Swiss Life Group, 9 Jan. 2019, www.swisslife.com/en/hub/interview-annamaria-lusardi.html?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=lusardi&utm_content=quote

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