While Americans have access to more information about personal finance than ever before, many still admit that getting a handle on their money is one of their top stressors. According to a 2014 Gallup survey of Americans’ well-being, 61 percent admit they’re “suffering” or “struggling” to manage their economic lives.
The fact is that personal finance can be a source of stress and insecurity for virtually anyone if they haven’t formed positive habits for making financial decisions and dealing with money. The Better Money Habits partnership between Bank of America and the online learning experts at Khan Academy aims to change that.
Launched in 2013, Better Money Habits is a financial education resource that provides online lessons and resources to help individuals and families chart a course toward long-term financial stability.
In explaining the need for the program, the site points towards Americans’ top financial concerns, as revealed through surveys and poll results:
- Sixty-nine percent of people cite money as a top stressor.
- College graduates today are averaging nearly $30,000 in student debt.
- Thirty-two percent of U.S. adults recognize their lack of financial knowledge has led them to make poor financial decisions, and
- Forty-three percent feel they have missed out on good financial opportunities for this reason.
“While we recognize that there’s no silver bullet to address the issue of financial understanding in our country, more innovation is clearly needed in this area,” Andrew Plepler, Bank of America Corporate Social Responsibility executive explained. “To help address this, we partnered with Khan Academy, a non-profit with proven success in making historically difficult topics easy to understand. Our partnership aims to help people build practical financial expertise by making financial education more engaging, accessible and easier for people to understand.
Khan Academy is a leading provider of web-based education on the mission to provide a free world-class education for anyone, anywhere. The founder of Khan Academy, Sal Khan, developed the concept for Khan Academy after providing online math tutoring to his cousin; convinced there was a broader demand for accessible lessons, he quit his job as a hedge fund analyst in 2009 to launch the nonprofit.
Khan Academy now has a wide-ranging curriculum that includes courses in math, chemistry, physics, finance, history, economics, computer science, biology and more. Today, Khan Academy’s website is fully available in 6 languages with much of the content available in over 40 additional languages, giving the site worldwide reach.
The Better Money Habits site offers short, accessible lessons—in engaging videos, infographics and tools —on key personal finance topics like:
- Creating a budget
- Checking your credit report
- Managing credit
- Reducing student debt
- Making large purchases like buying a home or car
- Refinancing a mortgage, and more
For example, one six-minute video focuses on the importance of having an emergency fund as a “safety net for life’s unexpected events,” and walks the viewer through the steps they need to get started. By providing simple, straightforward explanations of key personal finance concepts, Better Money Habits helps to demystify the process for people who want to improve their financial lives but aren’t sure how to begin.
The initial response to Better Money Habits has been promising – in its first 18 months, the site attracted 5 million visits. Participants are able to track their progress in the new site – keeping track of content they’ve completed to serve as motivation for continued learning.
“Our purpose is to make financial lives better—the beauty of this partnership for us is that it brings that purpose to life by empowering consumers to take small steps that can make a big difference,” Plepler says of the partnership.
Check out Better Money Habits powered by Bank of America in partnership with Khan Academy for yourself