The sooner the better, says FICO on partnering with the US Soccer Foundation to enable teen financial literacy
- FICO and the US Soccer Foundation are organizing financial education workshops for students in five cities hosting Chelsea FC’s pre-season U.S. tour. A select number of teen soccer fans attending those workshops will get a free game day ticket.
- FICO's teen-focused program aims to tackle the financial education gap by equipping young ones with an understanding of basic financial concepts to kick off their credit journeys as they enter adulthood.
FICO is collaborating with the US Soccer Foundation and the Chelsea Football Club to incentivize middle and high school-aged students to gain financial education through a series of workshops, Score A Better Future Fundamentals, this summer.
What the program includes
[Video Source: FICO]
The hour-long workshops will be taught by a FICO credit education professional in all five cities of Chelsea FC’s pre-season U.S. tour in the States: Chapel Hill, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Landover, and Chicago. In a move to drive inclusion, the U.S. Soccer Foundation also aims to include teenagers belonging to traditionally underserved communities in these workshops. Chelsea FC will work with FICO and the U.S. Soccer Foundation to provide a free game day ticket to a select number of students who attend the Fundamental workshops in any of the five cities.
The workshops are free to attendees and will offer a preview of a comprehensive financial education curriculum. Educators can have those resources at hand to introduce them in schools nationwide.
When it comes to adults, a majority of Americans know the FICO score as a three-digit number that serves as evaluation criteria for creditors to qualify or disqualify consumers for credit cards, loans, or a favorable rate on a mortgage. Beyond that definition, a significant number of people either don’t understand how FICO credit scoring works or are presumptuous about their understanding of it, leading to misconceptions.
For the wider community on this tour, FICO will also host Score A Better Future credit education events which are free to the public. Like the Fundamental workshops, these events also aim to raise financial awareness among local residents of different age groups – on how to use various financial skills to meet their economic goals.
“We believe that knowledge is the best way to empower yourself and achieve your financial goals, and taking advantage of educational opportunities is a great way to gain exposure and awareness around the language of money,” said Nikhil Behl, chief marketing officer at FICO.
What financial illiteracy can cost
Financial literacy has a broad definition but a majority of students lack even the basic financial skills. Only 32% of grads claim they learned how to budget as part of their schooling, with very few students (26%) understanding need-to-know skills such as balancing a checkbook, according to a recent survey. This indicates that governments and institutions are missing the mark on foundational financial literacy.
The younger cohort is impeded by a lack of financial education about handling finances broadly. As a result, teens aren’t confident in their financial knowledge and more than half of them feel unprepared to finance the life they hope to have in adulthood.
The lack of financial literacy education options at a young age has created a gap in knowledge for consumers today. The National Financial Educators Council recently termed financial illiteracy as an epidemic and reported that the American adult population lost over $436 billion to personal financial errors in 2022.
The Fundamentals program aims to tackle this financial education gap by adding more younger people to the equation and equipping them with an understanding of basic financial concepts – mostly related to credit – to kick off their credit journeys as they enter adulthood.
“Our aim is to introduce this concept to young people earlier in life, so they can take this practical knowledge into early adulthood and be better set up for building a positive financial profile,” added Behl.
But building a credit history from scratch can seem like a catch-22 situation for teens who are new to credit or a credit score. A recent FICO survey found that 29% of Gen Zers either do not have a credit score or do not know if they have one.
To start building a credit history, the younger generation can engage with a responsible guardian/parent who has a healthy credit score and would be willing to add them as an authorized user on a credit card. The card issuer will typically report the credit card performance to the credit bureaus on both the primary cardholder (the parent) and the authorized user (the teen), which can eventually help establish credit history early on, explained Behl.