Library teaches teens finance basics

Graduating high school students of the class of 2014 will be the first group in Ohio that is required to learn financial literacy.

“So many teens were graduating high school without basic knowledge of financial literacy, like avoiding high-interest credit cards—scams that are so present on college campuses,” says Jennifer Korn, TeenSpot manager at the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County. “And there have been a number of studies that say students who don’t have the basic knowledge are likely to end up in serious debt as very young adults and are unable to get ahead and unable to save money as they go into adulthood.” 

To fill that void and to encourage more teens to be conscious of their finances, the library is offering a series of workshops for teens between the ages of 12 and 18. The workshops will teach the students how to create a budget and open a savings account. 

Thanks to a grant from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Investor Education Foundation, PLCHC is one of just 14 public libraries nationwide to offer the workshop.

“I think a majority of teens across the board don’t have a very good understanding of the importance of saving or of budgeting your money, so maybe they get an allowance or have a job or babysit, but it’s mostly for entertainment purposes,” Korn says. “But there’s not a lot of consideration for the future and the long term—that if you start saving your money now and that money starts to build, then in 15 or 20 years, you can be in a much better position than if you would not have started saving.” 

Korn says all the activities in the series are teen-focused and engaging, so students might be given a sample scenario where they have a set amount of money and want to go to the movies, but also need to consider the fact that their best friend’s birthday is coming up. 

“Anything that reinforces what they’re doing in an interactive or a social way,” Korn says. “The hope is that once they graduate high school and enter their postsecondary education or the real world, they feel confident, can handle their money and are savvy consumers and savvy savers.” 

Do Good: 

• Learn about the financial literacy workshops, and sign up to attend

• Keep up with teen programs at the library, and attend an upcoming event.

• Like the PLCHC on Facebook.

By Brittany York

Brittany York is a professor of English composition at the University of Cincinnati. She also edits the For Good section of SoapboxMedia.
Signup for Email Alerts