“We believe learning money management techniques right from the start is the key to developing smart, life-long financial habits.”
Recently John Pelletier, director of the Center for Financial Literacy at Champlain College, penned an op-ed about the need for financial education for our youth. At MasterCard, we couldn’t agree more. For several years, we have worked to help students acquire important financial management skills. It’s part of our broader commitment to empower consumers at all life stages to make smarter, more informed financial choices to help them achieve financial independence.
Financial education programs should provide easy access to information, training, tools and resources that help consumers improve their financial know-how, so that they can manage their finances intelligently and with confidence. We aim to achieve these objectives with specific programs that help young adults, in particular, embrace a cycle of life-long financial education.
Financial Education for Young Adults
MasterCard pioneered Are You Credit Wise?, a peer-to-peer financial education program, on college campuses. Now in its 13th year, the program has reached more than 530,000 students, operating on nearly 80 college and university campuses. Because we believe learning money management techniques right from the start is the key to developing life-long financial habits, we have also led and supported efforts in states across the country to enact legislation that establishes financial literacy programs for high school students.
We believe these programs are an important step in the right direction. But they are not enough.
Teaching Our Youngest Students
To do more, working in collaboration with Operation HOPE, MasterCard designed a Framework for Financial Literacy and Empowerment that uses community-based organizations to help teach basic personal financial management skills to K-12 students. The national campaign, directed mainly toward at-risk youth and low-performing schools, shows kids how to build upon their financial literacy, entrepreneurship and academic training, to create a more prosperous future for themselves and others. In support of this campaign, MasterCard’s Noah Hanft recently participated at an event at the NYSE with other industry leaders. The panel, moderated by John Hope Bryant, discussed the importance of financial literacy and what can be done to ensure everyone receives financial education.
Additionally, we support the work of the National Center for Teaching Financial Literacy (NCFTFL), which helps teach financial literacy concepts to teachers through sustained professional development merging critical money concepts into everyday subjects already taught in our nation’s schools. MasterCard’s philanthropy group also recently partnered with the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE), an organization that teaches business basics to students both in and out of the classroom.
Our Continued Commitment
There is no substitute for a solid foundation in financial literacy. At MasterCard, we will continue our commitment to helping people at every stage of life in every part of the world become more financially literate and able to prudently and thoughtfully craft their own financial futures.