Information Possibly Outdated
The information presented on this page was originally released on March 31, 2011. It may not be outdated, but please search our site for more current information. If you plan to quote or reference this information in a publication, please check with the Extension specialist or author before proceeding.
Programs target financial literacy of youth, adults
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Everyone agrees on the importance of reading skills, but many people neglect their own financial literacy.
Susan Cosgrove is a family resource management agent with the Mississippi State University Extension Service. She is also president of Mississippi’s Jump$tart Coalition, a national nonprofit organization that promotes financial literacy.
“Financial literacy enables people to understand finances and make informed and effective decisions about their money,” Cosgrove said. “These skills are always important, but they are even more critical when national or personal economic times are tough.”
Jump$tart and MSU’s Extension Service are partnering to promote April as national financial literacy month.
“During April, we are increasing our efforts to educate children, youth and adults about the right and wrong ways to spend money,” Cosgrove said. “We want to teach them how to budget, save and invest, and to warn them of the dangers of credit cards and scams.”
Bobbie Shaffett, Extension family resource management specialist, said several Extension programs will be available in April to promote financial literacy. Some of the sessions include a statewide videoconference component.
“Partnerships are the keys to getting information to the people who need it the most,” she said. “Extension is working with the Federal Reserve, the Mississippi Council for Economic Education and Jump$tart to offer financial training through videoconferences. Sites around the state will target high school teachers, who can earn continuing education credits at no cost.”
Shaffett said the Money Mentors Program, initiated in 2005, has been a valuable method of getting financial information to people who might not attend a meeting or videoconference. She will be leading a daylong training on April 15.
“Extension trains Money Mentors to help individuals and families increase their financial health and make wise consumer decisions,” she said. “The personal assistance and this training, which focuses on basic money management, are also free.”
Family resource management area agents provide a new program called Money Bunny to teach elementary school children about money and organize “Real World” programs to teach older students how to budget for life’s expenses.
“We want to introduce juniors and seniors in high school to realistic scenarios and the budgeting challenges life can bring,” Cosgrove said. “Most do not realize the financial obligations they will face in adulthood, such as insurance, healthcare, fees and expenses.”
Cosgrove will lead a free, one-hour program on summer savings that will be open to the public at noon on April 28 at Extension offices. Contact the local Extension Service for more information.