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UVM Theses and Dissertations

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Format:
Online
Author:
Kristiansen, Eileen Gertrude Cammilla
Dept./Program:
Education
Year:
2022
Degree:
Ed. D.
Abstract:
There is a growing concern in this country that the middle class is disappearing and not in the way one would hope. Instead of families moving into a higher socio-economic class and being able to provide richer life experiences for themselves and their children, vast numbers are shifting to a lower socio-economic status level. The gap between the affluent and those barely eking out an existence is increasing at an alarming rate. This trend will directly affect who can successfully attend college and who will be available and capable to perform the blue-collar jobs that are vital to the continuation of our economy. Many of these jobs are becoming increasingly complex and sophisticated. While they may not require a college degree, they do require additional post-secondary training and expertise. Longer reaching concerns are that a dwindling middle class equates to a smaller tax base and contributes to a larger segment of the population that needs financial assistance. The productive management of money is part of a concept known as financial literacy. People that have money take this knowledge for granted. Somewhere along the line, whether it was at home, in school, or from personal experiences, successful people learned the value of earning money and using it thoughtfully and intentionally in order to achieve a future goal. No one disputes the fact that personal choices and discretion are parts of the picture. Imagine, however, that the environment in which you grew up did not contain earning possibilities. Perhaps you had to work without pay caring for your siblings, leaving no time to go out and earn your own money. Maybe your family was in the situation where everything that each family member earned was required to try to make ends meet. The result can be a feeling of ignorance and powerlessness around financial literacy and a lack of understanding the difference it could make in your life. This dissertation examines these issues. As a Scholarly Personal Narrative, it will also relate the story of my own journey of acquiring financial literacy and how that knowledge has affected my life. It concludes with a proposal that I created for teaching the concepts of financial literacy to underserved members of our society living at the lower socio-economic level. This education is important because understanding financial literacy can build self-confidence, empowerment, and purpose. This knowledge can also set an example that parents can pass on to their children and future generations. I believe this is one possible route toward breaking the cycle of poverty.