MoneySKILL® article published in Rebound Magazine

Just in time for March Madness, the AFSA Education Foundation was able to secure a full-page article in Rebound Magazine – a publication about basketball players for basketball players and their fans. This opportunity came through the Executive Producer / Director of Beyond the Game, www.beyondthegamefilm.com.

Entitled “A Team Sport: Improving Financial Literacy” and written by Angela Waugaman, AFSAEF’s Director of MoneySKILL®, the article focuses on some of the financial challenges that people face, the need for more education in this space and the value that MoneySKILL® can bring.

A TEAM SPORT: IMPROVING FINANCIAL LITERACY

The definition of financial literacy is the possession of skills that allow people to make smart decisions with their money that benefits them throughout their lifetime. Financial illiteracy affects all ages and all socioeconomic levels. A social issue so significant that April is National Financial Literacy month – and has been for over ten years!

Forbes Magazine ran an article last year outing four alarming stats and felt they could be drastically improved with the right education: 1) insufficient cash reserves; 2) student loan debt; 3) credit card debt; 4) zero retirement savings. Startling facts are reflected in various articles found in ForbesInvestment News, and the U.S.  Department of Education Statistics 2016-17:

·         44% of Americans don’t have enough cash to cover a $400 emergency.

·         43% of student loan borrowers are not making payments.

·         No one is surprised to hear that the average cost of college has increased over time at almost 6% per year.

·         At $1.4 trillion, federal student loans mark the second-largest debt segment in the country.

·         38% of US households have credit card debt at an average of $16,048 @ 16.47% interest.

·         33% of American adults have $0 saved for retirement.

Personal financial literacy is critical to succeed in today’s world, but study after study shows that many Americans need a deeper understanding of financial concepts. While an abundance of financial education exists, it is clearly underutilized. The simple truth is that we have not made it a priority in our homes, schools, or our workplace. From school-aged kids to baby boomers, financial literacy should be a lifelong course in continuing education.

Student loans, credit card debt, the feasibility of home ownership and having enough for retirement all come to mind when we think of financial challenges. For some, these might be temporary obstacles that can be overcome with sound financial management. For others, they may represent stark choices where staying above water requires sacrifice.

In the true spirit of the film, Beyond the Game, professional athletes and student-athletes reflected on their own financial literacy, in addition to other topics in the film. Some athletes even stated that their education started with “The School of Hard Knocks.” The media tends to single out those athletes who have gone broke and dramatized their story, yet financial hardships are not just limited to athletes.  Men, women, young and old, retired or working people…many have educated and surrounded themselves with good mentors and advisors to achieve financial independence and give back to their communities to benefit others.

Throughout the world, many programs are trying to advance the education of financial literacy. Rhonda Ashburn and Angela Waugaman have one such course that offers a comprehensive yet customizable online personal finance course at NO COST! Rhonda Ashburn leads the American Financial Services Association Education Foundation (AFSAEF). Angela Waugaman has over fifteen years of experience providing strategic communications counsel to management at large corporations, nonprofits, and coalitions in the financial services arena. Together they offer the benefits of responsible money management through their free financial literacy education program, MoneySKILL®. To date, more than 880,000 individuals from all fifty states and several countries have used MoneySKILL®.

The goal of the MoneySKILL® program, which is also available in Spanish, is to educate users on money management fundamentals and provide them with the skills and knowledge necessary to make sound financial decisions while avoiding the financial pitfalls.

MoneySKILL® was initially designed for teachers, which could include coaches and school administrators, but now the program has attracted the interest of parents, employers, community organizations and others. We cannot lay the responsibility for educating solely at the doorstep of any single entity. It must be a team effort – Together Everyone Accomplishes More! We must all commit to meeting this challenge, and in doing so, we will change our lives for the better in our homes, schools, and communities.