Last week, rising seniors from Flagstaff high schools spent time developing their financial literacy skills at a boot camp hosted by Northern Arizona University’s WA Franke College of Business.
Last Thursday morning, about 25 students gathered for the first day of camp. The warm-up activity started with a series of questions.
Would you rather save money or invest it? Would you give a loan to a member of your family?
The students took turns discussing the answers, going into detail about simulated financial situations.
The activity was the first in a series of lessons students would participate in at the event, which this year took place July 28-29, and inance educators showcased practical financial skills such as budgeting, investments and the basics of banking.
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Nancy Baca, acting director of the NAU Institute of Economic Policy and teaching associate professor of economics, said the program grew out of discussions with local professors of economics and personal finance.
Seniors at public high schools in Flagstaff must take a combined semester-long economics and personal finance course — something Baca said he’s heard from local teachers is “just not enough.”
“It’s a really pivotal time in the lives of these young adults, and not all of them are going to go to college, so we won’t always have the opportunity to provide them with additional education in finance and economics,” said Baca said of the decision to focus. on the rise of seniors. “I think it’s important before they start making these really big financial decisions in their lives that they at least have a foundation.”
Baca said she heard stories of students who shared what they learned at camp with their families and taught their parents something about finances in the process.
“It breaks the cycle that the lack of financial education produces in our society, that there seem to be people who just don’t have access to this information,” she said. “I hope we break this cycle and just set them up for financial success, especially in a world where we have so much economic insecurity. lifestyle that can have a huge impact, not just now, but also in their retirement, by starting to think about some of these things.
The camp included lessons from Baca, as well as finance professor Kevin Aguas and teacher Julia Wright, on topics such as setting goals, understanding pay stubs, credit scores and time value. money. These often included hands-on activities such as making calculations based on an imaginary situation, reviewing sample tax documents, or taking a financial personality quiz.
The program organizers plan to continue it next summer and beyond. The college also continues to apply for grants and partnerships to add more financial literacy events and expand into more rural parts of northern Arizona.
The boot camp is in its second year and is part of Franke College’s growing series of financial literacy programs. He hosted two more this summer: the Fleischer Scholars program on entrepreneurship and a fun family finance event with introductory finance-related activities for a variety of ages.
“We’re just going to continue to spread our financial literacy awareness in the Flagstaff community,” Baca said. “We are also expanding our outreach activities in our tribal communities through financial literacy events and workshops. …I feel like this is an amazing way for Franke College of Business to reach out to our community.
Baca said she hopes students leave last week’s camp feeling “empowered financially and financially secure.”
“I hope they feel they can make choices now, small choices that can have a big impact on their future. That they understand that there is this cumulative effect of decision making, and that it really starts with good habits now and good decision making now,” she said.