In the last column I outlined the history and history of CARE’s National Financial Education Program, which I founded, in our struggle against the national epidemic of financial illiteracy.
I also included some quotes from students and Tami Franz after a recent visit to the Canandaigua Academy.
Before I leave my high school CARE presentations, I’d like to include the ten most important lessons I cover, with three goals in mind. First, reinforce what students have or will learn about personal finances in class or at home. Second, teach students some additional personal finance lessons, tactics, and techniques. Third, activate students to realize that they have to learn more about finances and never stop learning, so that they are not taken advantage of by the financial industry, and thus also realize the importance of always having a financial plan in life, and develop good financial habits, so that they can achieve All their professional and life goals.
In order to reinforce the top 10 lessons, the presentation includes videos, as well as stories of real people in and around the bankruptcy courts and the mistakes they’ve made.
Here are the lessons. Don’t use credit cards to buy “things” you can’t afford. Criticism is king. Budget to control your spending or it will control you. You need a good credit history or there will be consequences. Save if you want to do priceless things and live richly. Financial issues; Be frugal, not cheap. Don’t make desires, wishes, luxuries, and comforts “false needs.” Don’t make expected expenses “false emergencies.” The only “good debt” is debt that you can pay off and have a plan to pay off. Get the best value for every dollar you spend or borrow to get an education, and reduce your student loan debt.
Before we move on to some pre-pandemic visits to Canandaigua Middle School (I’ll be back there in late November), I wanted to leave you with Nathan’s story, which regular readers may remember. Because of the unique combination of classes he took, after listening to three presentations over the course of two semesters, even though we told him after the first class that he could go to the library and take a classroom, this senior said: I don’t regret sitting in three presentations , because “I learned something new every time, and kids like us can’t hear these things well enough.” Wonderful!
Before we also move on to some middle school experiences, I wanted to share a quote from Carolyn Chapman, the District Communications Manager, who, as far as I can remember, is the only person in any school district who sits in both high school. School and middle school show.
“Judge Ninfo lessons for our students prepares them for life after middle and high school. I have visited and participated in the lesson many times and found the tips and explanations useful to anyone. Understanding the value of money, interest rates, being frugal and thinking about the value of money in combination with the hard work required to earn it will be lessons that our students can carry to the world and hopefully share it with others.”
I’ve been to Canandaigua Middle School to talk about Kim Connal’s Family and Career Science classes every semester for a number of years now. The students were incredibly attentive, interested and enthusiastic about learning. We talk about more basic topics, such as unit pricing and comparative shopping, and have a monthly dinner with your family to discuss and learn more about personal finances. Then, downsized somewhat, we’ve covered some of the top 10 lessons – money is about hard work, cash is king, the need to start saving now, knowing the difference between needs and wants, interest payments break up your hard work and wealth, and the need to avoid debt Credit cards when you grow up.
In the previous attached photo of the epidemic, you will see the famous “money tree” in Kim’s class, and an expensive red Ferrari.
Thanks to Tree, I always say in my presentations, “Money doesn’t grow on trees or come from ATMs, it comes from hard work.” For Ferrari, I always say, “Avoid debt and reduce it as much as possible so you don’t make all the unnecessary interest payments to my friends in the financial industry, so they can buy better cars, etc., keep it for you and your family.”
Here is a quote from Kim: “It is a huge benefit to our students that Judge Ninfo comes into our classroom to talk about financial management and being a frugal shopper. Through his passionate dialogue, Judge Ninfo engages the students so thoroughly that they “sit and listen” to his wise advice. It is clear from the students’ reflection that Judge Ninfo sessions are highly valuable and are something students will take with them after graduation.”
I want to finish with my favorite middle school stories. In fact, it’s one of my favorite stories, period.
I usually only attend seventh and eighth grades, though it’s never too early to start talking about these things, but one year, Kim said “I have a really exceptional class in sixth grade that I’d like you to talk to.” I did, and eventually asked what I always ask in all of my presentations: Does anyone know anything today, do you think other kids should hear this, and do you have any last questions? A somewhat puzzled sixth-grade boy raised his hand and said, “Judge, isn’t that all that makes sense?!”
If all Americans could say that, we wouldn’t have a national epidemic of financial illiteracy.
John Ninfo is a retired bankruptcy judge and founder of the CARE National Financial Literacy Program. Find his previous weekly columns at http://www.mpnnow.com/search?text=Ninfo.