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A conversation with Kelsey Havemann, Senior Manager, Youth Financial Education  

So tell us, what’s new at the ABA Foundation…

Here at the ABA Foundation, we recognize that the latest research from TIAA and TransUnion indicates that financial literacy among Millennials and Gen Z is markedly lower than their generational predecessors, with the majority lacking basic financial life skills.  To help bridge that gap, we are excited to announce our first of several lessons in a new suite of materials, part of our national Get Smart About Credit campaign, focused on “Financial Firsts” for 18+ year olds beginning the journey of adulting.  Our newest resource, “Paychecks to Prosperity,” is designed specifically for people entering the workforce and obtaining their first position with benefits.  The lesson is a high-level gamified conversation helping participants establish their own prioritized financial plan that comprises realistic spending, saving, and investing opportunities. Subsequent lessons will focus on helping people understand their pay stubs, deductions, and key terms; navigating student loan forgiveness and payments; understanding aspects of credit and credit scores; and more to complement existing resources on budgeting, paying for college, and protecting your financial identity.

What’s the impact this has had/or you hope it will have on moving financial literacy forward?

This past January, the ABA Foundation launched a three-year commitment to help 5 million Americans access pathways to prosperity by the end of 2026.  As part of that effort, we’re partnering with banks of all sizes and charters across the country to lead personal finance lessons. Bankers live and raise their own families in the same communities in which they work, and they understand, from teller to CEO, that they play a critical role in fostering financial well-being in their neighborhoods.  However, bankers are neither teachers nor lesson planners and that’s where the Foundation steps up.  We create lessons aligned with the Jump$tart Coalition National Standards for Personal Financial Education and coach bankers on teaching pedagogy so that they can support consumers as people of all ages navigate their financial journeys.  Since January 2023, we’ve reached 1.2 million people, and we’re well on our way to achieving our goal of 5 million.

How do we learn more?

Accessing our website is the easiest way to learn more.  Consumer groups can visit to request a presentation from a participating bank, while banks can go directly to to register for any and all of our free programs.

What else are you working on? 

We are excited that our annual Lights, Camera, Save! contest is open and banks are actively accepting entries through December 1 for this year’s challenge.  Lights, Camera, Save! enables teens ages 13-18 to submit a 30 second video to educate their peers about a financial topic for a chance to win prize money!  First place winners can win $5,000, second place gets $2,500, and third place wins $1,000!  It’s an amazing opportunity for teens to share their knowledge and to learn something new.  More banks than ever are hosting a contest this year, and teens do not need to be a specific bank customer to submit an entry.  Winners will be announced in late February via our Instagram @AmericanBankersAssociation #lightscamerasave. To find out more, teens can visit for contest rules and to find a participating bank.

The ABA Foundation is also in the process of expanding and updating our Teach Children to Save (TCTS) program.  TCTS is designed to educate kids Kindergarten through 8th grade and is highlighted by the national Teach Children to Save Day in April, during Financial Literacy month. We are updating all of our existing lessons to match the 2021 Jump$tart Coalition standards and adding a specific focus on financial inclusion for all.

In addition to our youth programs, the ABA Foundation also works with banks across the nation to help engage and inform older people in their communities through the Safe Banking for Seniors program. Through this national initiative, ABA Foundation provides banks with turnkey materials to share information about elder financial exploitation and financial caregiving. We’re currently working on designing new materials to help older adults recognize and address elder fraud, particularly when it stems from close relationships, like friends, relatives, caregivers, business associates, and others.

Tell us more about your organization.

The ABA Foundation is the non-profit arm of the American Banking Association.  We support banks across the United States and its territories by providing outreach resources that both member and non-member banks can access for free to support the financial well-being of their customers and their communities.


We would love to connect directly with your readers – please contact us at for answers to questions, connect with members of the Foundation or to learn more!

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