Barbara Emery of UD's Center for Economic Education and Entrepreneurship presents a financial literacy program to a class at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in Wilmington.

Common cents

CEEE, Osher offer lessons on financial literacy

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10:05 a.m., Oct. 17, 2013--“Personal finance: Ages 9 to 99.” That wasn’t the title of the presentation delivered by Barbara Emery of the University of Delaware’s Center for Economic Education and Entrepreneurship at a recent Osher Lifelong Learning institute class – but it could have been.

Emery’s presentation, “Why Financial Literacy Requires More than Common Sense,” was the first of 13 that will occur throughout the semester in the “Current Issues” class at Osher in Wilmington. 

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“The goal of the ‘Current Issues’ class is to provide current information so students can become better informed about a variety of topics,” said Diana Stevens, a volunteer instructor of the course at Osher. “The class planning group decided to have a program on personal finance because we thought the program would provide relevant information for students to use and/or share with family members.”

And while the CEEE aims at providing K-12 economics, personal finance and entrepreneurship educators with the opportunities, resources and programming to engage students, the center also recognizes the relevance of personal finance content to people of all ages.

“Recent research says attitudes and habits regarding money are being formed by the age of seven, mostly through observation,” said Emery, “but we can’t stay complacent when technology is changing.”

Emery covered the same personal finance categories offered in other CEEE presentations, like goals and decision making, career choices, budgeting, savings, investing, credit, banking products and services and risk protection, but she also spoke to the Osher students about changes in technology.

“Fewer people are going to brick and mortar banks and products and services keep changing,” said Emery, who noted for the Osher students, continually updating knowledge about financial products and services can be key to helping with things like comparing cell phone plans and contracts. “Knowing the kinds of questions to ask is one of the biggest issues.”

Some students appreciated the common sense approach.

“Don’t buy stuff you can’t afford. This is easier said than done,” said one student. “For many Americans, the buying temptation is often too great to resist. Keeping up with the Joneses causes many to be in debt.”

Added another, who acknowledged the course would be an opportunity to help young adults and, in turn, the future of the nation: “Though I don’t have kids, I have noted the lack of financial knowledge among young people. In this very complex and complicated 21st century our young people need a well-rounded education and Barbara’s presentation would be a great step.”

Other students enjoyed the presentation, but hoped for a follow-up.

“There were important points, like who is responsible for cosigning a loan, but Information about seniors finances – helping grandchildren, education help, retirement formulates – would be even more interesting,” said one student. 

Emery would be glad to comply. 

“These individuals will at some point, whether through family, friends or the general economy, feel the impact of the debt burden on the younger generation and how we are educating K through 12 students,” she said. “Knowledge is power, and you’re never too young or too old to learn about personal finance strategies.”

Article by Kathryn Meier

Photos by Evan Krape

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