Financial education tends not to be a focal point in the curriculums at most American schools, and with only 57 percent of the U.S. population considered financially literate according to a Standard & Poor’s 2014 financial literacy survey, it shows.
That number drops even lower when you break it down by demographic with women, the poor and those less educated, for example, more likely to answer financial literacy questions incorrectly. Needless to say, there’s a lot of work that needs to be done in the financial education space to help close, or at least minimize, the various wealth gaps currently present in our society.
Fast forward to the present, where the COVID-19 crisis has led to millions of people who are struggling financially, while others have actually increased their savings during this time. One thing these Americans have in common, however, is that the pandemic has forced them to seek out resources to help them better understand and manage their finances.
Enter, “fin-influencers,” or as some prefer — financial educators and activists.
These educators are using their social media platforms to provide free financial education content and a growing number of people are consuming this new, more relatable way of learning with many ‘fin-influencers’ accumulating followings in the thousands and even millions, showing just how eager some are to advance their financial knowledge.
As this new way of learning becomes increasingly more popular, it may make you wonder: How could the financial education space evolve in, say the next five to ten years? So, we asked these six ‘fin-influencers’ how they hope to see the space change.
- Dasha Kennedy: @thebrokeblackgirl
- Kenya Imani: @Kenya.Imani
- Judith Jones: @BudgetingBrokeGirl
- Corey Paul: @LiteracyKings
- Marc from @BetterWallet
More empathy and cultural competence
For me, I think that shame and judgment have plagued the personal finance world. Given the current events and finance being a topic the whole world can relate to now, I would really hope that compassion, empathy, understanding and cultural competence will be the forefront and driving force of personal finance education.
– Dasha Kennedy, financial activist and educator
I really want it to be commonplace. I want the audiences to become larger because more people are on the bandwagon of, “I’m on my debt-free journey too,” I want it to be a part of the path. As soon as you get out of college, let’s immediately get on that journey of debt freedom.
I want it to be more diverse because we need more role models for the diverse population that we have in the United States and worldwide. I want to see more international finance influencers. And I really want to see more of what’s on the other side of financial freedom.
– Kenya Imani, financial coach
I want the space to become more diverse, more accessible and more elevated. When different types of people from different backgrounds talk about their experiences with money, it helps more people… it’s a fact. People relate more to, and in some cases, trust those who share similar experiences. So in order to reach more people, we need a more diverse group of people sharing and broadcasting the knowledge. The messenger is just as powerful as the message.
As far as elevation, I think personal finance and investing gets a bad rap as a snoozefest or not entertaining and not fun to learn about, but that’s totally not true. There are so many people on Instagram who do such a great job of not only making it fun, but informative. Let’s keep that same energy moving into the future.
– @ForBetterOrWorth, financial educator
Accessible for all
I hope to see more BIPOC [black, indigenous and people of color] and Queer folks be spotlighted and uplifted in this space. The time for unrealistic and classist financial education and advice to end is long overdue. I would like the financial education space to actually shift its focus to making these resources accessible to everyone. The personal finance industry is targeted at middle to upper-class individuals. The lack of accessibility to these financial tools, education and systems are intentional.
For those invested in providing accessible financial education and information for people, we have to shift from seeing “debt-free journeys” or personal finance journeys through an individualistic lens and how each of journeys impacts the other. Viewing our individual personal finance paths toward financial freedom as part of a larger movement toward creating economic justice, we can make strides toward collective financial freedom and liberation.
– Judith Jones, financial advocate and host of Paid Invoice podcast
Simplified and trending
I hope to see investing in my community more simplified and trending. I hope to see investing as a source to become normalized and attainable.
– Corey Paul, co-founder of the Literacy Kings podcast
The power of personal finance education
Thanks to social media, financial education has become an increasingly popular topic of discussion. While it’s great that these important lessons are becoming a part of everyday conversations, many would argue that they need to happen sooner and in the classroom.
Marc, a financial educator at BetterWallet, is one of those people and hopes to see personal finance become required learning for those in their primary school years, citing how money is commonly a leading stressor for Americans due to lack of financial literacy.
“Money management isn’t a mandatory part of a high school curriculum. Could you imagine the impact if children were taught basic personal finance?” said Marc.