The Finance Lab empowers students from economically disadvantaged communities with a personalized, hands-on financial literacy experience while coaching them throughout the process.
Our vision is to end cyclical poverty, one family at a time.
We do this by building financial awareness and practical knowledge within historically marginalized communities.
We empower families to sustainably improve their financial health, and in doing so, reduce the power that money may hold in their lives.
Our public education system in most U.S. states provides no equitable opportunities for students to gain personal finance knowledge and/or skills. We teach everything from health and physical education to language arts and math, but we leave our students to fend for themselves when it comes to everything from filing taxes and managing a budget responsibly to understanding debt and affording post-secondary education.
“Only about 1 in 20 students from low-income backgrounds (outside of the five states with mandated personal finance education standards) attend high schools with a personal finance requirement.” - Next Gen Personal Finance
“There is a sizeable difference in financial literacy between those with $50,000 or more in household income compared with those whose household income is less than $50,000.” - The Global Financial Literacy Excellence Center
This gap in education contributes to socio-economic, health, and occupational injustices related to poverty. It’s a social justice issue.
“Stress about money and finances appears to have a significant impact on many Americans' lives. Some are putting their health-care needs on hold because of financial concerns. Nearly 1 in 5 Americans say that they have either considered skipping (9 percent) or skipped (12 percent) going to a doctor when they needed health care because of financial concerns. Stress about money also affects relationships: Almost a third of adults with partners (31 percent) report that money is a major source of conflict in their relationships... Also troubling are the disparities in stress exposure: women, parents, younger people and those living in lower-income households all report higher levels of stress than others.” - American Psychological Association
It’s unacceptable for us to continue to neglect the financial needs of under-served and historically marginalized communities, leaving them continually susceptible to predatory lending and banking practices.
Studies have shown that students with between $1-$499 in a college savings account are four times more likely to attend college and three times more likely to graduate. Our fellows become named beneficiaries of 529 accounts during their 10th grade year. Access to a college education means access to a greater variety of higher wage employment opportunities.
In a field as complex as personal finance, students must have the opportunity to learn by doing. In The Finance Lab, our students are immersed in a curriculum of consistent reflection, discourse, goal setting, and financial analyses. Students learn to navigate through the financial community as they receive personalized advising in opening and managing checking and savings accounts, 529 accounts, brokerage accounts, (Roth) IRAs, credit cards (if desired), and filing tax returns.
Our fellows develop their financial acumen within a diverse financial community, both inside and outside of the classroom. Fellows develop personal plans with financial services professionals, visit with guest speakers, and engage with peer, parental, and community advocates. Our community focuses on engaging every student in honest dialogue about personal finance.