Michigan 4-H educates more than 1,500 youth participants on financial literacy topics

Money management education helps youth save for their future.

July 18, 2018 - Author: Laurie Rivetto, Michigan State University Extension

Knowing how to handle money is an important life skill youth should develop for their future. Michigan 4-H seeks to meet that need through money management education. Last year (2017) held a special focus on financial literacy for Michigan 4-H related to gift funding to the Michigan 4-H Foundation from Chemical Bank. In 2017, 1,719 youth were engaged in 123 workshops addressing youth financial literacy. In addition, 386 adult participants were trained to work with youth directly, expanding outreach efforts. These adults were often trained to utilize the National Endowment for Financial Education’s High School Financial Planning Program.

Michigan 4-H financial education sessions sought to achieve the following outcomes for youth:

  • Youth participants will have a basic understanding of financial management.
  • Youth participants plan to apply the financial skills learned to their everyday lives.

This important work was done with a variety of audiences including foster care youth, youth from family court, military family youth, juvenile transition centers and youth from community-based organizations as well as through 4-H clubs and school programs. Because the range of financial education topics can be broad, education took place in different methods and ways to meet youth needs. For instance, youth participated in saving and budgeting simulations at a camp or learned about balancing accounts during an in-school program.

4-H members also learned financial literacy skills as part of their officer role of treasurer and as part of livestock or market animal education programs. Community financial resource fairs, Money Smart Week-themed program week and events such as Grandparents University or 4-H Exploration Days featured money management sessions. In addition, many youth experienced financial literacy components as part of a career education or workforce preparation series of education.

Evaluation results demonstrated an impact from this education. Of those participants surveyed:

  • 98 percent understand they are responsible for their financial future.
  • 97 percent are confident about making future money decisions.
  • 92 percent have the skills to successfully manage their money.
  • 86 percent practice self-control when making purchases.

Many youth plan to practice good financial management practices after participating in this program, including:

  • 82 percent plan to “pay themselves first” by saving a portion of the money they earn.
  • 83 percent plan to buy their “needs” first and limit buying their “wants.”
  • 80 percent plan to track the money they earn and spend, and look for the best deal when buying things.
  • 52 percent plan to write down their savings goals for things they want to buy.

As one youth shared in a six-month evaluation, “In the past six months, I have given greater attention to my spending habits. I plan ahead with my money and attempt to stay on track with my plan. I’m more alert with how much money I have and where it goes.”

These Michigan youth are better equipped to make important decisions about their professional future, ready to contribute to the workforce and able to take fiscal responsibility in their personal lives.

Tags: 4-h, 4-h exploration days, life skills, money smart, msu extension, youth money management


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