Theodore R. Daniels
Theodore R. Daniels

Financial literacy skills are a key to economic health, yet too few Americans have even a basic knowledge of how to manage their finances. This is especially true among African Americans, Hispanics, women, millennials, and individuals without a high-school education. 

According to a financial capability study by FINRA Investor Education Foundation, only 46% of Americans have emergency funds.  A TIAA survey indicates that only 54% of African Americans have retirement savings needs.  The survey also reflects that African Americans are likelier to use non-bank borrowing, such as payday lenders and pawn shops, than other ethnic groups.  The study states that nearly half of all respondents with a high school education or less could not come up with $2,000 in 30 days in the event of an emergency.

Americans want to live a comfortable life at each stage of their lives, regardless of race, gender, age, or education level.  But whether we are young, middle-aged or seniors – we must learn financial knowledge and tools for economic success. A lack of financial understanding can be a serious roadblock to a healthy financial life and has a negative impact on our economy and our citizens, including those who are most vulnerable. 

Americans often wait until it is too late or when a financial crisis occurs before they seek help for financial problems. This is especially true in underserved populations, who have limited access to financial education, training, and resources. 

But there is good news. Higher education institutions committed to teaching financial literacy are making a tremendous difference by including such education at the undergraduate and post-graduate education levels. 

I have taught financial literacy classes and held seminars for divinity students, pastors and ministers at the Howard University School of Divinity in 老澳门开奖网, D.C. The classes and seminars were structured to increase the financial and stewardship knowledge of the participants by teaching them practical money management concepts and skills. The program was designed to train religious leaders who will be able not only to use their own financial resources wisely, but also to teach financial literacy in their communities and places of worship. They became better informed to make leadership decisions regarding the facilities and finances of their congregations. 

Enhancing the financial literacy of religious leaders and instructing them with the 鈥淓ach One, Teach One鈥 curriculum training model to implement in their own faith communities was a powerful tool to reach African Americans and others who would not otherwise have access to this knowledge. This education model also has the strong potential to impact thousands of individuals in African American communities and elsewhere.  

Imagine if financial literacy courses were a mandatory requirement at all divinity schools across the nation, and if churches and places of worship made a promise to host financial literacy training for their communities each year. 

In nearly 25 years of running an education nonprofit organization dedicated to financial education, I have discovered that people want to learn personal money management concepts and their applications.  Financial knowledge and skills of these kind help individuals make smart decisions so that are able to maximize financial resources and achieve their personal and financial goals. 

The financial topics that I taught at Howard University, School of Divinity which focused on practical issues relevant to faith-based groups, include: 

  • Personal Financial Planning for Ministers and Pastors
  • Credit and Debt Management
  • Maximizing Financial Blessings through Investing

The feedback from divinity students who have taken the 鈥淧ersonal Financial Planning for Ministers and Pastors鈥 course was tremendous and participants were eager to share what they have learned with their congregations.  

Innovative and comprehensive programs to teach divinity students financial literacy, so they can in turn instruct their church members about useful financial concepts that can be applied in everyday life, can be a real lifeline for African American communities and other groups.  

I urge other divinity and theology schools to expand their offerings to include financial literacy instructions in their curriculum and offer subject specific seminars and workshops to enable ministers and pastors to empower their congregations to become fiscally healthy. This can also play a key role in the financial sustainability of the churches they serve.聽 We don鈥檛 have a moment to lose if our goal is growing healthy and robust communities and providing tools for all our citizens to have a chance to improve their financial well-being.聽

Theodore 鈥淭ed鈥 R. Daniels is the founder and president of SFEPD, an award-winning nonprofit teaching financial literacy to people of all ages and backgrounds, with an emphasis on communities of color. In 1998, Daniels founded SFEPD to teach individuals, especially first-generation college students, critical financial skills they might not otherwise receive or learn too late. He is a global financial educator, author, and lecturer. A leader in the financial literacy movement, Ted Daniels has 40 years of experience as a financial and investment advisor.

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