When we first started, I did not even consider millennial women my target market. I mean, this is a group of highly capable young women, a group which has more information literally at the tips of their fingers than any other in mankind’s history! Surely, I said to myself, these women must be pretty savvy on the financial front. And with this assumption, we began our financial literacy workshops which were then called “Ladies Learn about Money”.
Our first term had women who were mainly in their mid 40s and had financial horror stories I had heard multiple times before. In our second term, we had a number of younger girls. At first glance, they looked totally with it. I remember wondering if I should skip the basics and just move straight to the more advance money management topics.
Then, we started to talk. I can tell you that I was gobsmacked! How could a group of women who had so much information available and who spend so much time accessing information, yet be so clueless about money? This scene was repeated in so many classes, that I have now become really concerned about the future of this generation.
Let’s understand the statistics first, only 39% of Canadian women have a basic sense of financial literacy. Basic means being able to answer questions such as “What does mortgage term mean?” or “ Do you need a licence to buy and sell stocks?” The only group that did worse than women were millennials who scored only 13%. If you put both these numbers together, you get a statistic that literally keeps me awake at night — only 5% of millennial women have basic financial literacy!
Let me put that another way, 95% of millennial women cannot manage their money, balance their household budget or even figure out how to pay for the new iPhone they purchased. My anxiety is further heightened, by conversations I have with mothers whose daughters fall into the “female millennial” category. They just nod their head and agree!
So, knowingly we have allowed the future of this country to be unprepared to manage their own finances (leave alone the finances of someone else or the country!) Schools have shoved responsibilities to parents, parents who were also challenged with financial literacy have shoved the responsibility to some point in the future.
Never before have we had a young generation that is so deeply in debt because of the previous generation’s inability to provide free quality university education and an economy which employs them, and never before have we had a generation that is so ill equipped to deal with the financial problems handed down to them. What a complete tragedy! If we do not guide, educate and provide a medium through which these young women can become empowered and financially literate are we not doing a disservice to everyone?
Over at Explorer Hop, once we saw how dire the need was for women to learn about money in a way in which makes sense to them, we structured a program that was fun, student driven and provided practical applications. Teaching a young woman how to read a balance sheet of a company, is for most people a tedious and frankly useless task. We took an approach to teach them how to use money in real life. How to make choices with their money, understand their risk profile, how to figure out an investment and how to make sense and play in the stock market.
Empowering women with financial education changes their entire future. It removes a lot of stress and it gives them the confidence to reach higher and do better. As a company that is founded with the vision to empower, educate and enhance people’s financial literacy, this is what we find most rewarding.
If you know of a woman who could benefit from learning about financial literacy, please share this link.