About Money-Mind 101™

about Money-Mind 101My name is Christopher Bayer and welcome to Money-Mind 101: Financial Management Training for Young Adults,TM a program I developed that can benefit all U.S. high school students and college freshmen, as well as their parents.

Speaking from personal experience – as a former young adult, a parent, and a professional psychologist – I know the value that such training can provide to unsuspecting young people in avoiding the severe consequences of money mismanagement. I only wish such a course was made available to me when I entered Clark University as an undergraduate.

I also know that I am not alone. A study released earlier this year by Sallie Mae, the nation’s leading provider of student loans and administrator of college savings plans, indicates some disturbing trends. “How Undergraduate Students Use Credit Cards: Sallie Mae’s National Study of Usage Rates and Trends, 2009” is the fifth survey in a series conducted since 1998 through the company’s affiliate Nellie Mae, which analyzes credit-card usage among U.S. college students.

Not surprisingly, 84 percent of undergraduates had at least one credit card, up from 76 percent in 2004. On average, students have 4.6 credit cards, and half of college students had four or more cards. The average (mean) balance grew to $3,173, higher than any of the previous studies. Median debt grew from the 2004 level $946 to the current $1,645.

On the surface, these statistics are not too alarming. However, what is particularly unsettling is the increasing number of students recklessly using credit cards to live beyond their means. Specifically, the study found that 60 percent experienced surprise at how large their balance had grown, while 40 percent admitted charging items knowing they did not have the money to pay the bill. Lack of awareness and denial promote mismanagement.

Meanwhile, only 17 percent said they regularly paid off all cards each month, and another 1 percent had parents, a spouse, or other family members paying the bill. The remaining 82 percent carried balances and thus incurred finance charges each month.

Sallie Mae published the report to underscore the importance of educating college students about using credit effectively, weighing their spending decisions, and considering their sources of borrowing.

In fact, 84 percent of undergraduates indicated they needed more education on financial management topics and 64 percent would have liked to receive information in high school and 40 percent as college freshmen.

Money-Mind 101: Financial Management Training for Young AdultsTM represents the opportunity for teachers and parents to provide guidance to high school students and  young adults. It is a not-for-profit platform. The course is delivered on a pro bono basis as a community service.

Money-Mind 101TM does more than just focus on the mechanics of proper money management. I delve deeper and provide an invaluable primer on the psychology of money to better equip young people to make the difficult decisions that lay on the road ahead.

This program provides  an opportunity to help young people avoid making serious mistakes with far-reaching consequences. And build in effective, smart management systems which put one in charge of their financial life. When coupled with an emotional understanding of money behavior, Money-Mind 101 can provide invaluable guidance.

This course consists of seven modules, each two hours in duration, and can be offered to students as an optional, extra-curricular activity either after school, or on weekends, based on facility availability and other logistical considerations. The course structure can also be customized accordingly as a function of time, age group and class size.

Christopher Bayer, Ph.D.
Founder, Money-Mind 101