34 J. Soc. & Soc. Welfare 119 (2007)
From Financial Literacy to Financial Capability smong Youth

handle is hein.journals/jrlsasw34 and id is 555 raw text is: From Financial Literacy to Financial
Capability Among Youth
ELIZABETH JOHNSON
Washington University
George Warren Brown School of Social Work
MARGARET S. SHERRADEN
University of Missouri-St. Louis
& Washington University
Youth in the United States are facing an increasingly complex and
perilous financial world. Economically disadvantaged youth, in par-
ticular, lack financial knowledge and access to mainstream financial
institutions. Despite growing interest in youth financial literacy,
we have not seen comparable efforts to improve access to financial
policies and services, especially among disadvantaged youth. In-
stead of aiming for financial literacy, an approach widely promoted
in the United States, we suggest aiming for financial capability,
a concept grounded in the writing of Amartya Sen and Martha
Nussbaum. Building on research in the United Kingdom, the paper
proposes that financial capability results when individuals develop
financial knowledge and skills, but also gain access to financial
policies, instruments, and services. The paper addresses theoreti-
cal and pedagogical approaches to increasing financial capability,
followed by examples of programs in the United States. In the con-
clusion, we discuss implications for policy, practice, and research.
Keywords: financial education; financial capability;financial lit-
eracy; children; youth; savings
Although seldom a mainstream topic in either sociology
or social welfare, the financial functioning of individuals and
Journal of Sociology & Social Welfare, September 2007, Volume XXXIV, Number 3

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