Summit prepares teachers of financial literacy

Johnny Morgan, Tucker, Jeanette A.

News Release Distributed 09/20/11 

Teachers, bankers and other community leaders met at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Baton Rouge on Sept. 15-16 to “Prepare Louisiana for Real Life” at the 2011 Financial Education Summit.

The summit, which is sponsored by the Louisiana Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy, featured a range of speakers that included Rachel Ramsey Cruze of the Dave Ramsey Organization, who discussed money management for children.

The summit provided educators with tools to deliver high-quality financial literacy education to youth and adults, said LSU AgCenter family economist Jeanette Tucker, who chaired the summit committee.

“We wanted to provide the latest resources to inform students and adults how their individual choices directly influence their occupational goals and their earning potential,” Tucker said. “We also wanted to provide a foundational understanding for making informed personal financial decisions.”

Tucker said Louisiana high school seniors scored 45.3 percent on a nationwide survey of financial literacy in 2008, which represents a 1.9 percent decrease from the 2006 study.

“This is disappointing when you view the fact that only 14 percent of teens have taken a personal finance course in school, and a 2010 Capital One survey of graduating seniors revealed that 45 percent were unsure or unprepared to manage their own banking and personal finances,” Tucker said.

Rachel Ramsey Cruze was the opening speaker for the summit. Cruze is the daughter of Dave Ramsey, personal finance guru, New York Times best-selling author and radio show host with over 5.5 million listeners on 250 radio stations.

Cruze spends a great deal of her time talking to young people about how to manage their finances. She said her information is especially geared toward college students.

“My main message is for young people to stay out of debt,” Cruze said. “There’s such a lack of knowledge among young people. I want to educate them in the right way to handle their money.”

Growing up as Dave Ramsey’s kid, you can imagine she learned quite a few things about money, she said.

“We were never given an allowance. We were given a commission – you work, you get paid; you don’t work, you don’t get paid,” Cruze said.

American culture has become obsessed with having stuff, she told the group. “Not just stuff, but nice stuff.”

Cruze blamed credit card companies for much of the problem, by hooking college students and bogging them down with debt before they even graduate and have a job.

“I advise students to stay away from credit cards because they normally make your situation worse than it was before,” Cruze said.

She explained that financial literacy has improved in the past 20 or so years because a number of states are now mandating financial literacy in the classrooms.

“With the downturn in the economy, money is an issue with lots of people,” she said. “So, now is really a good time for teachers to provide information about money to teenagers and college students.”

The goals of the Louisiana Jump$tart Coalition include providing resources for K-12 and post-secondary students, to educate those who are not using banks and to use media to inform the public of resources available that are not trying to scam you, said Ken Uffman, founder and state coordinator of the group.

Laurie Brown, a Baton Rouge teacher, attended the summit last year and found the information so beneficial that she returned again this year.

“We are currently discussing taxes, and the students have a lot of questions about how taxes work. And I knew I could get the answers for their questions at this summit,” Brown said.

In addition to teachers, people in business, industry and non-profit organizations benefit from the information provided at the summit, Tucker said.

“This is the third summit where we bring in distinguished speakers, state and nationally recognized, to deliver a take-home message to help improve the financial literacy of youth and adults in Louisiana,” Tucker said.

Johnny Morgan

9/20/2011 1:27:26 AM
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