Financial Literacy Skills Are Key to Students’ Futures


Blog Highlights:

  • Why is financial literacy an important skill that should be taught early in life?
  • Did you know that only 50% of U.S. adults are financially literate?
  • How will increasing financial literacy help our economic future?
What Youth and Mentors Say about Lemonade Day


Foreward by Debbie Nazarian, Lemonade Day National Director

According to Gallup®, college and career readiness are among the most common goals listed in U.S. public school mission statements. The 2015 Gallup Student Poll suggests that real-world experience is lacking for many students, but now more than ever, it is important for a student’s long-term success in post-high school work and life. That experience needs to happen as early as possible.

I am so pleased to share this blog from Joe Daly. Lemonade Day and the venerable Gallup organization have partnered for many years to study youth entrepreneurial aspirations and students’ readiness for success in the future. 

Joe often states that kids are born with lots of yeses and a lot of entrepreneurial energy from birth but, what is alarming is that over a child’s educational career, that energy starts to diminish. I asked Joe to share an update on financial literacy and what steps adults can take to provide the knowledge and concepts necessary to  keep kids engaged through their high school and college years and better prepare them to  enter the workforce.


Why is Financial Literacy Important? – by Joe Daly

Joe Daly

The 2016 Gallup-HOPE Index presents answers to some of the most important questions for our nation’s future:

  • Is America’s youth financially literate enough to solve the country’s economic and jobs problems?
  • Do young people possess the spirit of free enterprise?
  • Are students getting the opportunity to match their aspirations with the experience they need to boom America’s economy?

I believe it is vitally important that financial literacy be taught as early as possible to give our youth the best possible outcomes in their adult lives. A 2014 Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services Global Financial  Literacy Survey tested adults’ knowledge of four basic financial concepts: risk diversification, inflation, numeracy and compound interest. The survey concluded that in the United States, fifty seven percent of U.S. adults overall are financially literate with the country ranking 14th in the world in financial literacy.

Can we expect to teach our five-year old about risk diversification and compound interest? No, but we should be taking the time early to start teaching a desire for lifelong learning of financial and business terms. There is a gap in our education system that financial literacy is generally not included in the academic curriculum. Just like teaching kids how to tie their shoes, be polite, and share things, we need to teach the concepts of saving money, expenses, what is a profit, how to pay back investors, and the value of watching your savings increase through compound interest. That model of saving early creates independence and a high level of self-efficacy.

After college, I pursued my MBA so that I had a stronger understanding of the vocabulary associated with running a business. This enabled me to have a “seat at the table” with C-suite executives and participate in the conversations with sound data, opinions and advice.

Lemonade Day kids have an “above and beyond” comprehension of the concepts of running a business including creating a business plan, understanding customer demand, marketing, marginal unit costs, and revenue, to name just a few business concepts. They are further ahead of their cohorts and show a 35% higher interest in entrepreneurial aspirations of starting their own business.

I’d like to share just one powerful moment, and there are many, since I’ve been involved with Lemonade Day. I had the opportunity to attend an event at the Chamber of Commerce in Corpus Christi, Texas where a fifth grade Lemonade Day participant was going to receive the Lemonade Day Corpus Christi Youth Entrepreneur of the Year Award. Attending with his mom, I watched this young man dressed in a suit and armed with business cards introducing himself to adults in the room and having meaningful conversations with each of them. He closed three deals on the spot. But what was even more significant is that during this celebration to recognize him, he brought one of those giant checks and presented it to the Chamber. We wrote it out to his grade school so that the school could purchase new shoes for the children in his class. He noticed that so many kids were wearing worn out shoes and wanted to solve a problem, so he used some of his profits to help his fellow students. What an amazing moment for everyone in attendance and his mother was just beaming with pride.

Mentors and caring adults participate in Lemonade Day for many reasons but mostly to have a bonding and shared experience with a child and give them a chance at a better life. Every child should have this opportunity to learn financial literacy early to prepare them to be active and productive participants in the economic vitality of their communities.

Lemonade Day has impacted over one million kids! That’s a huge accomplishment but the need is still huge, and we are looking for more people who are as passionate as we are about financial literacy to help fill this need. Let’s get involved and teach the concepts and values that will help kids navigate through life and put them on a path toward a successful future.


A Few Last Words from Debbie

Thank you, Joe for the many, many ways you support Lemonade Day.  Your leadership on the national board has made it possible for us to give over a million children a chance for a better life through the knowledge and critical life skills they learn through Lemonade Day!

Teaching financial literacy to our kids is a worthwhile investment in our country’s economy and outlook. At Lemonade Day, we have watched kids blossom through our program and go on to achieve incredible things. So many of them are teenage and young adult business owners today.  There are many more stories like the one Joe shared with us and it is so rewarding to see kids use the knowledge they learned from Lemonade Day and go on to create something that is uniquely their own.

Registrations are now open at Lemonade Day cities across North America. Visit for more information.

Thanks for reading and please feel free to share this blog with others and share my contact information, with anyone who would like to know how to help us provide our program to more children and youth or start Lemonade Day in a new city!

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