Last night, I
dragged took Mirror Image to a Financial Literacy Workshop put on by the local area delegate.
I had us attend because want my kiddo to be much more educated on personal economics and financial consequences than I was at her age (or even 10 years ago). I also wanted to attend because I was nervous that the attendance would be low and I didn’t want the host to feel bad.
I needn’t have worried. The place was packed. In fact, even with 3 false fire alarms going off before and during the event, more people kept coming into the room each time we were allowed back in.
The event was broken up into 3 parts: panel, trade show and door prize selection. I went for the panel. Mirror Image wouldn’t let us leave before the door prizes were awarded. Seriously, she had me waiting there trying to win a flat screen television that we didn’t need.
The panel was composed of several professional speakers directly or tangentially related to the youth/finances market. 2 were from banks, one from the state insurance agency, one from the financial aid office of the local community college and one was an accountant from the area. They discussed topics such as mortgage payments and how to minimize interest payments, identify theft; personal budgets; college financing and the importance of the credit score.
All of it was good information, if not a little breezily given. I know this… had I sat in a workshop like this, or 10, when I was a youth, I would have made some seriously wiser choices.
It is a shame personal finance education or heck, even home economics, isn’t taught in school. We spend so much time saying you need to go to school to learn to have a career to make money but then, our youth are not adequately savvy when it comes to finances to best manage the money.
A couple of things I disagreed with during the panel:
The accountant spoke at length about the credit score and what the interest difference is between excellent, good, fair and poor scores are for several examples including car and house. The car example was a new $33, 000 Toyota, financed.
Nope, nope, nope.
If I were on the panel, I would have
required suggested, that all the youths in the room save, save, save the full amount for a gently used vehicle paying around $8,000. No credit score needed, no interest paid.
Also, I would have added the value of using electronic banking and aggregate site to monitor transactions and net worth during the talks by the banks. Regularly monitoring finances, tracking spending and cutting out paper are key points when responsibly managing finances.
All in all, it was a good event with a great purpose – teaching our young folk how to make purposeful progress in their current and future finance. Hurrah!
And the cherry on top? Chick Fila chicken nuggets. Food and education. There is nothing better!