There is no question that poor levels of personal financial literacy contributed to the mess in which we now find ourselves. Too many people did not understand how to manage their finances. They did not understand the true cost of maintaining credit card balances. They took on too much mortgage debt. They did not plan adequately for the possibility of a job loss (or two) in the family. In my view, financial literacy begins with how we teach our children at a very young age about spending and saving money. At the university level, we can take concrete steps to help improve our students' financial literacy as well.
With that in mind, I was very glad to see this article in the Wall Street Journal about the National Foundation for Credit Counseling's recent efforts to promote financial literacy among young people. NFCC ran a wonderful poster contest (Be Money Wi$e), which challenged young people to develop creative posters that completed the statement, "I am going to be a millionaire because..." Congratulations to 11th grader Leah Ellyson of Farmington, West Virginia, who won this year's contest.