What You Need to Know
- With the Moneywise America program, the firm intends to make free financial education available to every school and community in the U.S. by 2025.
- Financial education is unequal, and just 21 states require high school students to take a personal finance course, Schwab says.
- Moneywise America's educational materials were developed with teens in mind, coupled with Schwab’s financial literacy and education expertise.
Charles Schwab has announced the launch of Moneywise America, which aims to help close the financial education gap by making free financial education available to every school and community in the U.S. by 2025.
The program is designed to help level the economic playing field for teenagers across the country through high-quality financial education, with a special focus on reaching young people in under-resourced schools and communities.
Moneywise America’s two core components are a standards-based financial literacy curriculum and a corps of Schwab employee volunteers trained to facilitate it.
“Our vision is to prepare every teen in America to achieve financial freedom by helping fill the financial education gap most schools struggle to address,” Carrie Schwab-Pomerantz, president of the Charles Schwab Foundation, said in a statement. “The ability to make sound money decisions shouldn’t be considered a ‘nice to have’ or elective life-skill. Everyone needs it.”
Closing the Gap
Schwab-Pomerantz noted that access to financial education is unequal in the U.S., and Schwab wants to make free, high-quality financial education accessible to everyone.
In a survey conducted on Schwab’s behalf last year by the Harris Poll, half of Americans said they would experience financial hardship if they had to cover an emergency expense of $1,000 or less in the next 30 days.
Two-thirds of respondents chose financial education as the most important supplementary graduation requirement to math, English and science, compared with 43% who chose health and wellness education.
Sixty-five percent believed that schools should provide financial education, while 1 in 10 thought the government or employers should do so. According to Schwab, only 21 states require high school students to take a personal finance course.
Survey respondents understood the effect of financial illiteracy on the American public. Nine in 10 agreed that lack of financial education contributes to some of the biggest social issues the country faces, including poverty, lack of job opportunities, unemployment and wealth inequality.