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“Everything you learn in school is important, but nothing is more important than how you and the family you will have will live your lives,” State Treasurer Todd Hollenbach told a group of high school seniors Monday.
Hollenbach was on hand at the Shelby County Area Technology Center to kick off a pilot program that teaches financial literacy to high school seniors.
“The importance of financial literacy can’t be overstated,” he said. “How can we send young people out in the world when they don’t understand the importance of a good credit score or how to select a bank?”
Monday’s session, attended by 34 seniors, was led by Dee Maynard, a board member of Junior Achievement of Kentuckiana, and used an interactive computer program called Financial Football, which operated similar to an academic team tournament.
“Our goals are to make sure when students walk out of Shelby County High School, they can function productively with money,” she said. “We are discussing issues such as buying a car, taking out student loans responsibly and a variety of other issues. We want to teach them to be more astute.”
Susan Wiley, principal at the technology center, said the idea is to offer students more information than they can receive during normal curriculum.
“Any opportunity like this can only benefit our students,” she said.
Hollenbach pointed out that a person who makes $50,000 a year can live just as well or better than a person who makes $100,000 a year.
“It’s not what you make, it’s what you keep,” he said. “We are talking to them about how to make money, how to spend money and how to invest money.”
Shelby County Judge-Executive Rob Rothenburger, who was on hand to observe the class, said he was impressed.
“This is a fantastic opportunity to give them a better awareness of the financial world,” he said.
Maynard holds a doctorate in college administration from the University of Kentucky and has been teaching economics for 25 years. A second class was held Tuesday, and more will be taught Thursday and Monday.
Ann Ellerkamp, information officer for Hollenbach, said, the program also would be held in Madison and Daviess counties and that Hollenbach plans to bring the program back to Shelby County next year.
“We hoping next year to be able to reach all the seniors in Shelby County,” she said. “This is such a positive thing for them.”