a smarty pig

i know i already posted a picture of this smart pig, but it's actually PERFECT for this post. read to the end to see why.

it’s all over the news right now; ben bernanke just spoke at at news conference on the release of a survey by the Jump$tart Coalition about financial literacy in high school students. as the AP reports, he said:

in light of the problems that have arisen in the subprime mortgage market, we are reminded of how critically important it is for individuals to become financially literate at an early age so that they are better prepared to make decisions and navigate an increasingly complex financial marketplace.

yes. yes. YES! financial literacy for all ages is critical and wholly necessary. but did we need this financial crisis to remind us? and did we need the abysmal results of the survey to worry us? apparently, high school seniors scored lower on this survey than they had in the previous six surveys, only answering 48 percent of questions on personal finance and economics correctly. college seniors scored a little better, answering 62 of the questions correctly.

because of this, a bunch of organizations are declaring april "financial literacy month." get rich slowly has a fantastic list of resources for those wanting to dip a toe in the pool of personal finance. as happy as i am to see something i’m so personally passionate about getting a proliferation of press (how’s that for a tongue-twister?!), i’m a little worried that this all might be forgotten about come may. i’m reminded of the letter from the editor from this month’s ReadyMade, a magazine about environmentalism entitled, “what happens when what you’ve always believed in becomes a fad?” i don’t want to be debbie downer, but i firmly hope this won’t just be a fad and we can move financial literacy from something that receives attention one month a year to a nationwide mainstream education program. the economist has a great article about people who are trying to do this.these people are my heroes.

financial literacy is something we need to be teaching in elementary school, high school and college, and talking about with our friends and families. when i try to talk to people about money, their eyes glaze over and they try to change the subject, but would this be the case if money language was demystified in elementary school?

on that note, i'm taking my first reader poll. all you lurkers, please come out of the woodwork for this. i'm considering starting a financial literacy workshop for young twenty-somethings who work in the public sector or art. if this is you, would you be interested in taking this class? more importantly, if you have any ideas (ANY AT ALL!) about how to get the word about financial literacy out to the masses you know, please please please leave a comment. i feel like this is really ripe time to disseminate financial information, because people are scared about the economy, but i don't know the best way to do it. help!

if you read this far, here's your reward: Smarty Pig

smarty pig is a dedicated online high yield savings account (remember those?) that your family and friends can also contribute to. so if you're saving up for a new computer, you can open a smarty pig account and let your family and friends know. then, you, as well as your family and friends, can contribute to the account. when you have reached your goal, you receive a gift card with the amount plus interest. an added bonus is that smarty pig has relationships with major retailers, like amazon, best buy and bloomingdales and you can often get an additional 5% off your purchase. smarty pig is the best savings tool i've seen in a long time- use it!!

johnnn said...

I bet Todd P would be down to circulate info on DIY financial literacy workshops for musicians

Heddy said...

yes! i'd be all for attending and spreading word about such a workshop to my network. also, what would be really awesome is how to help young people in the public sector sustain themselves for the long-term on a non-existent/meager salary to help prevent burnout and financial stress. it's always something i get asked on career panels - how do you make it on a non-profit salary? and i dont know how to answer that other than what i do - which is either to sacrifice material things i want while working for my ideals or... ? go into debt? i would really like to work with you on creating such a program in the future

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