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Money Matters

Money Matters

Financial literacy for millennials

A love of money might be the root of all evil, but knowing how to confidently handle your funds is a good and necessary life skill. The Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service is adding its two cents to the state’s efforts to educate youth about solid money management.

“Lacking basic money know-how can affect everything from grocery shopping to saving for retirement,” said Sissy Osteen, OSU Cooperative Extension resource management specialist.

Oklahoma is one of 46 states with stand-alone personal finance standards for school children. Per the Passport to Financial Literacy Act of 2007, as of the 2013-14 academic year, every 7th through 12th grader in the state is required to complete 14 financial literacy standards before graduating.

A cumulative record of completing each standard will follow students through their secondary school career, even if they transfer to a new district.

Extension offers multiple resources to help educators and students fulfill those standards, which range from earning an income to renting and buying a home, to understanding insurance to charitable giving.

One of the most notable programs, Reality Check, is an interactive, hands-on experience that meets eight of the 14 financial literacy standards.

During the 90-minute to 2-hour program, students assume the roles of typical 25 year olds with jobs and family responsibilities trying to meet financial obligations on a monthly budget.

Additionally, teachers can tap into the Financial Education Toolkit, which includes multiple games and activities, and is available for checkout from local county Extension offices. Upon request, Extension educators can present the lessons.

Through Extension’s partnership with the National Endowment for Financial Education, high school teachers, students and parents also can access free educational materials associated with the High School Financial Planning Program. This program addresses 11 of the 14 standards. For more information on how to get materials, contact your local county Extension office.

Osteen noted Extension has long supported youth personal finance education and will continue to do so.

“With schools facing challenges such as lack of qualified teachers; insufficient classroom time; and lack of funding for materials, training and other needs, Extension is excited about the opportunity to use our resources and expertise to support our state’s educators and students in this crucial effort,” she said.

– LM

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