Decoding financial literacy

Accounting student Autumn White creates material to illuminate money matters.

Autumn White headshot

Autumn White

Aug. 5, 2022

As a middle schooler in University City, Missouri, Autumn White knew she wanted to be a businesswoman. She associated a “business career” with personal wealth and began saving money at a young age.

Now a senior at the Trulaske College of Business, White has gained clarity on what she wants to do as she works toward her master of accountancy degree through the college’s five-year, 150-hour accounting program.

Instead of focusing on her personal financial gains, White has turned her attention to helping improve the financial literacy of her fellow students by creating a program composed of easily digestible money-management information.

“It was shocking to learn that students didn’t even know their credit scores,” White said. “Financial literacy and ‘money mentality’ have been big for me, so I wanted to find a way to shift the idea of finances for people who look like me and are underrepresented."

Last summer, White gave a presentation on her financial literacy program to her Hillman Scholars group, a St. Louis organization that has provided scholarship support for her studies at Mizzou. Since then, she has been jotting her vision inside a notebook as she continues to edit and form the material.

"Most people don't think of poor people when it comes to money management,” she said. “But actually, those are the people who really need to manage money to afford to get food on the table and determine which bills they are going to pay that month."

Ultimately, White would like her financial literacy education program to serve overlooked, urban neighborhoods. Although the program’s content is paramount, White’s grand vision includes a physical, brick-and-mortar presence akin to community centers in the neighborhoods that they serve. White believes St. Louis would be a great place to start such a grassroots effort.

Read more from the Trulaske College of Business

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