Academic journal article Journal of Financial Counseling and Planning

Financial Literacy and Adult Education

Academic journal article Journal of Financial Counseling and Planning

Financial Literacy and Adult Education

Article excerpt

Financial Literacy and Adult Education Barbara O'Neill1 Editors: Karin Sprow Forte, Edward W. Taylor, and Elizabeth J. Tisdell Publisher: Josey-Bass, Wiley Periodicals, Inc. (2012) ISSN 1052-2891

Financial Literacy and Adult Education is a publication of New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education, which is part of the Josey-Bass Higher and Adult Education Series published quarterly by Wiley Subscription Services. Short in length compared to many scholarly books reviewed for the Journal of Financial Counseling and Planning, and, thus, a great read for a short flight, it packs a lot of useful information about teaching personal finance to adults within its 104 pages. The book begins with a two-page introduction and contains nine chapters written by leading scholars in the fields of financial literacy and adult education, several of whom are AFCPE members. The book also includes an index and extensive lists of references at the end of each chapter.

The purpose of the book is to explore the interrelatedness of these two fields and how concepts and knowledge about adult education can provide insights for adult financial education. The ultimate goal is to help learners put new personal finance knowledge into action for improved financial well-being. Anyone interested in evidenced-based findings about the impact of personal finance instruction on adult learners' lives will want to read this book from cover to cover and incorporate its insights into their professional practice.

In the introductory Editor's Notes section, the three book editors describe the origins and chapter content of Financial Literacy and Adult Education. The book followed a fouryear research project, funded by the National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE), that involved an in-depth search of adult education and financial education literature and a survey of financial education interventions used by financial education professionals (see http://www.nefe.org/ what-we-provide/primary-research/penn-state.aspx). In the process of completing this work, the editors "found that there was little overlapping empirical research or conceptual work in the two fields of adult education and financial literacy education" (p. 1). They also discovered that the influence of learners' life circumstances was rarely addressed in financial education literature and that increased interest in financial education within adult education circles had not occurred. The book was written "to bring together scholars from both the fields of adult education and financial literacy, to explore financial education from a sociocultural context" (p. 2). All three editors are faculty members at Penn State University- Harrisburg, the recipient of the NEFE research grant to study effective financial education pedagogical strategies.

Chapter 1, Sociocultural Issues in Adult Financial Education, was written by one of the three co-editors, Karin Sprow Forte, the English as a Second Language (ESL) Program Director at Penn State University-Harrisburg. She begins the chapter by describing a financial education program for Latinas that considers not only their financial knowledge, but also their families, jobs, educational backgrounds, and language skills. The program sponsors work hard to build community in the classroom. By acknowledging sociocultural aspects of learners, they can connect with audiences more effectively and help them learn more. The chapter goes on to explain, "Culture and society influence what we see, how we speak, how we think, what we think about, and, therefore, how we learn and experience the world" (p. 5). Nevertheless, when it comes to financial education, sociocultural factors are rarely discussed and standardization of program content is common. Examples of problematic teaching practices and results of the NEFE-funded research are provided. For example, financial literacy courses are predominately taught by educated, white women. Key take-aways for practitioners are: meeting life needs of learners (e. …

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