Harvard University Employees Credit Union recently held its “J-term” financial literacy class aimed at providing Harvard undergraduates with information related to personal finance.
The optional class, which was held for the third consecutive year, ran for three days for four hours each day. Enrolled students received information on consumer credit, credit scoring, budgeting, planning, insurance and taxes.
HECU Director of Student Services Tom Murphy said less than 20 percent of college students ever receive formal training in personal finance, which he said can lead to potentially serious financial mistakes in college and in the future.
“Though most students have been using and managing money since before they were in kindergarten, a significant portion of their financial education has been self-taught,” Murphy said. “We live in an increasingly complex financial world, and the better we prepare them now for that reality, the more successful they’ll be when they come face-to-face with it.”
The first day of the program featured information to build a financial plan based on the case study method. During the second day, the program featured a panel of recent Harvard business graduates, and the final day, the program covered wealth management, taxes, risk mitigation and insurance.
“Historically it has primarily been the responsibility of parents to teach their children the basics of personal financial management,” HUECU President and CEO Gene Foley said. “The problem with that is the financial products now offered in the 21st century are not the same as the ones that parents grew up with.”