COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on basically every part of our society. Unemployment is soaring, the market is down, and schools are shut as many places in America are still under some kind of lockdown restrictions. But while many are passing the time watching Netflix, hedge fund heavyweight Citadel and market maker Citadel Securities wants to offer young adults something more constructive to do with their days: spending them learning how to invest for their futures.
Back in 2018, Citadel and Citadel Securities teamed up with digital education platform EVERFI to create a course called MarketWorks that takes participants through a curriculum that teaches them essential financial principals and abilities, including how financial markets work and the fundamentals of investing. Since its launch, the MarketWorks curriculum has been used by more than 13,000 students in high schools from Dallas to New York.
But now due to continued school closures across the country, Citadel has decided to make the MarketWorks curriculum free to all high school students, teachers, and families in America.
According to Citadel, the step-by-step course covers topics ranging from understanding financial markets and stock exchanges to financing a startup. Along the way, users will learn the fundamentals of investing, gain an understanding of how the global economy works, and discover the path startups take from inception to IPO. The final module in the course even lets students see how they do investing with a simulated stock portfolio.
Announcing the availability of the program to the public at large, Gerald Beeson, COO of Citadel and the program’s executive sponsor, said:
We are passionate about providing educational opportunities in finance that open pathways for success. We believe all students should have access to this curriculum that will impart critical knowledge and empower them with stronger financial decision skills in their everyday lives. MarketWorks has already expanded financial understanding for more than thirteen thousand students, and we are proud to bring this program to students, families and schools across the country, especially during this time when it is needed more than ever.
The free MarketWorks course cannot come too soon for Americans stuck in lockdown–but not only because it’s something for them to constructively fill their time with. Americans, on average, lack basic financial literacy understanding. Matter of fact, deficits in financial literacy cost the average American $1,279 in 2019, according to a study conducted earlier this year.
What’s even more frightening is that though America has the largest economy on the planet, it only ranks in 14th place when it comes to adults who are financially literate, according to Standard & Poor’s. That ranking is due to the fact that only 57% of American adults are financially literate.
It should be no surprise that the more financially literate a person is, the more financially stable they are throughout their lives. So until financial education is mandatory in all schools, it’s a good idea to take whatever free financial education you can get.
“What happened here with [my students] was that what they learned in the classroom spread into their homes,” says Jane Viau, a high school teacher at Frederick Douglass Academy in Harlem, New York–one of the schools MarketWorks has been in use at. “[One student] had a conversation about investing and money with her mom that she had never had before . . . [Another student] thought that her dad would know more than her, but she taught him a thing or two about saving for his retirement, and he is an accountant. She felt very proud that she had that knowledge that she could share at home. The learning went beyond the classroom and spread out into the community.”
To access the free MarketWorks course, simply visit the EVERFI Remote Learning Portal, select your state and the student’s school, and create a user profile and password. Once that’s done, users can log into the free MarketWorks course to begin working through the various modules.