by Dana Adcock, HSFPP Teen Guest Writer
Dana Adcock created 12 Financial LITeracy Films for teens and young adults for her Girl Scout Gold Award Project.
Money doesn't buy happiness, but money management does. Debt is one of the biggest pitfalls for young adults, and their financial mistakes can follow them for the rest of their lives. To make matters worse, many students do not learn about personal finance — a practical and necessary topic — in school. When they turn 18 and leave for college, they will need to know how to manage their finances.
Credit card companies are popping up on campuses, specifically targeting young adults. How can they succeed if no one informed them and gave them the proper tools?
With the Girl Scout Gold Award, I decided to address the social problem of financial ignorance among teenagers and young adults. My project centered around financial literacy, directed towards high school and college students. I created a YouTube channel entitled Financial LITeracy Films, which addresses topics like scholarships, credit and budgeting.
Keeping my audience in mind, I strived to make the content engaging for teens and young adults, incorporating rap, songs, skits and other antics into my videos. One of the films is even formatted like a Buzzfeed video, comparing financial aid terms to high school archetypes. Financial information does not usually appeal to that age bracket, so presenting the information in a creative manner was crucial. YouTube was my chosen platform; it allowed my videos to be accessible, self-sustaining and free to view. This eliminated any advantages or disadvantages presented by income disparities; low-income students, who need the information the most, should be able to obtain it.
I am proud to partner with the National Endowment for Financial Education to help reach students with relevant videos for this age group. However, the process of creating and sharing these videos also impacted me. I am fortunate enough to attend a school that educates students about college-related finances, like financial aid and scholarships, but I was clueless about personal finance.
Since I was the sole script writer, I constantly absorbed knowledge through research. While creating a reference database for my peers, I was developing skills and assimilating tips that would directly translate to my everyday life. Here are my top five personal finance habits that I think all my fellow teens should know before graduating high school:
- Form a weekly budget. Pay special attention to what you really need versus what you want.
- Start building a good credit score. If you are careful enough, credit cards can be used for good (but proceed with caution).
- Be knowledgeable about finances for your college/university. This includes student loans, scholarship opportunities, financial aid and grant money.
- Save money. If you put your money in a bank account, it will be safe and secure. You might even grow your money.
- Protect yourself against identity theft. It will save you time and energy and prevent long-term damage.
In my hands, I held the secret to a better path ahead, one devoid of tremendous debt and housing foreclosures. I could not keep this secret to myself and translating dull finance language to exciting content for my peers became a necessary task — because everyone deserves happiness.
Check out these videos!