When It Comes to Building Youth Financial Capability, Just Say YES

Thousands of young people enter the workforce every week without basic money management skills, and the financial decisions they make when beginning their working lives can affect their financial success in the future. Developing healthy financial habits early on helps young people better access services and products that can help them save, invest and build credit.

That's why Prosperity Now is pleased to be working with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), MyPath and America Saves on YES: Youth Employment Success. YES—an initiative of the CFPB managed through a contract with Prosperity Now—provides targeted technical assistance to 24 municipalities across the country, helping them to integrate financial knowledge and skills-building services into existing year-round youth employment and training programs.

The goals of the YES initiative include increasing the number of youth who are able to open affordable transaction accounts, have access to age-appropriate financial education and can start saving for their future. YES also aims to get an assessment of the financial picture for youth who are part of our most vulnerable populations. The initiative seeks to help young people make financial decisions to reach their own life goals.

This work is so important to us at Prosperity Now because it contributes to our vision of creating an opportunity economy that works for everybody. Key to realizing that vision is building individuals' financial capability: the capacity, based on knowledge, skills, and access, to manage financial resources effectively.

To help build the financial capability of young people, the YES initiative:

  • Uses technical assistance materials from the CFPB's Your Money, Your Goals Toolkit, as well as FDIC's Money Smart for Young Adults.
  • Integrates best practices from CFPB's 2014 Summer Workforce Development initiative into year-round youth employment programs in 24 selected communities. Each participating municipality has an individualized community plan outlining how that community will integrate financial capability services into its youth employment program. The plan includes strategies for engaging youth, training staff, and engaging financial institutions and other community partners.
  • Will deliver training on how to access free annual credit reports and how to correct inaccuracies found on credit reports. This training prepares municipalities to teach approximately 4,000 youth how to pull their report, identify errors and take steps to correct them.

We look forward to working with the CFPB on this effort. Prosperity Now has enlisted MyPath, the only youth financial capability organization in the country with proven models and best practices, to deliver specialized technical assistance around youth financial product design, integration and evaluation. We will also be working with America Saves, a national initiative to improve savings behavior of all Americans, which offers a digital, 10-minute program to help youth learn the most effective way to save, encourages them to choose a savings goal and pledge to save a certain amount each month, and allows them to use their own savings and/or checking accounts or to open up appropriate accounts, if needed.

As our work on the YES initiative progresses, we will be sharing our findings and insights, so stay tuned for more.

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