The recent U.S. government shutdown reminded us of the importance of financial literacy by highlighting how unprepared many U.S. households were to weather the month-long storm.
According to a survey by Prudential Financial, more than a quarter of federal employees missed a mortgage or rent payment, while nearly half fell behind on bills during the shutdown.
Ensuring that girls and women, in particular, understand the basics of personal finance and economics — not just to be ready for rainy days but also to plan for a successful financial life — is critical for at least two key reasons: American women often live longer than men and more frequently manage their household's finances.
Educated girls and women increase the odds that families will be able to manage costs such as college, health care and retirement. Financially secure families, in turn, improve the outlook for the broader U.S. economy.
There is work to be done. A study of 8- to 17-year-old girls and their parents by the Girl Scout Research Institute found nearly all girls surveyed wanting jobs and expecting to take care of their families, but having little confidence around personal finances.