National Consumers League

Student financial literacy competition opens 2014-15 season

September 9, 2014

Contact: NCL Communications Ben Klein, benk@nclnet.org, (202) 835-3323

Washington, DC – Today marks the official launch of the 21st season of LifeSmarts, with a new competition going live at the online home of the program, LifeSmarts.org. LifeSmarts, a program of the National Consumers League (NCL), is a national competition for middle school and high school students that tests knowledge of real-life consumer issues and aims to create a future generation of savvy-consumer adults.

“We are very excited to launch our 21st season of LifeSmarts,” said Program Director Lisa Hertzberg. “LifeSmarts gives students the skills they need to succeed as adults. The knowledge they gain will help them make smart decisions and avoid financial pitfalls when they hit the real-world.”

LifeSmarts focuses on five main content areas: consumer rights and responsibilities, personal finance, technology, health and safety, and the environment. Students are quizzed on their knowledge of these subject areas during online competition. Top-performing teams then advance to statewide competitions, and state champion teams advance to the national championship held each year in a different American city. The 2015 National LifeSmarts Championship will take place April 17-20, 2015, in Seattle, WA. Winning teams receive scholarships and other prizes.

Last year, students answered more than 3 million consumer questions about credit reports, recycling, nutrition, social media, state lemon laws, and everything in between. By being consumer savvy and quick on the buzzers, the LifeSmarts team from Valley Regional High School in Canaan, NH, took home top honors last April at the 20th anniversary national event at Walt Disney World.

“We are excited to continue to grow the LifeSmarts program into new states and regions, to educate students about financial literacy and being responsible consumers, and to create a new generation of savvy, market-ready consumers and workers,” said Sally Greenberg, executive director of NCL. “Too often traditional high school curriculum fails to teach students vital information that will be crucial once students go to college, get their first job, or move out of their parents’ house.”

In addition to hosting the official LifeSmarts competition, LifeSmarts.org provides resources for teachers to supplement existing lesson plans. These include daily quizzes, educational videos, social media competitions, focused study guides, and scholarship opportunities. LifeSmarts lessons closely align with courses taught in Family and Consumer Sciences, business, technology, health, and vocational education. Math and English teachers have also had success with LifeSmarts, as have homeschool and community educators.

“The information is so practical,” says Lois Johnson, a Minnesota teacher who has been coaching LifeSmarts for 17 years. “You can take algebra or geometry and learn some stuff, but I tell my students, ‘I’m going to be teaching you things you’ll actually be using.’ It’s survival.”

Major LifeSmarts contributors include: UL, Visa, Experian, Western Union, Google, McNeil Consumer Healthcare, Comcast, Microsoft, Toyota Financial Services, Amazon.com, American Express, CBM Credit Education Foundation, and others. 

Visit LifeSmarts.org for more information. LifeSmarts: Learn it. Live it.

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About the National Consumers League and LifeSmarts

The National Consumers League, founded in 1899, is America's pioneer consumer organization. Our mission is to protect and promote social and economic justice for consumers and workers in the United States and abroad. For more information, visit www.nclnet.org.

LifeSmarts is a program of the National Consumers League. State coordinators run the programs on a volunteer basis. For more information, visit: www.lifesmarts.org, email  lifesmarts@nclnet.org, or call the National Consumers League’s communications department at 202-835-3323.