By Nathan Keyworth
In today’s world, there is an overwhelming number of students who are financially illiterate. It’s not something to be frowned upon and should never be used as an insult. Instead, it’s a topic that students need to educate themselves on. Most practice the basics of it already: budgeting money, saving it up for different purchases, making those purchases… Everyone who is mixed up in the world of finances knows what it’s like. Several Stratford teachers and alumni have come together to try and teach you some of what you will need to know about financial literacy heading into your life as an adult.
Stratford alum Caleb Oliphant had the drive to earn a full-ride scholarship to Texas A&M called the Brockman Scholarship.
“The spending money for this scholarship comes in the form of a cash stipend that is deposited to your checking account at the beginning of each semester,” Oliphant said. “Because of the biyearly installments of this stipend, it essentially becomes a pseudo-salary that I can budget with. With this money, I can pay for my personal expenses and then some more fun stuff without much difficulty. However, if I start saving over the next 5 years of the scholarship, I will slowly accumulate enough stipend money so that I could afford a big purchase, like a decent car, right out of college. This long term incentive is teaching me the importance of saving money.”
Stratford alumni Franco Grimoldi Calo wanted to make sure that students know how a scholarship works.
“Get started with scholarships as soon as possible,” Grimoldi Calo said. “Apply to many scholarships while in high school, and do activities that will broaden your scholarship range. Many scholarships want essays about community service, so having that community service experience will help you while you’re in high school.”
Financial Math teacher Scott Elmore drew from his knowledge on the subject he teaches.
“Financial Math helps students learn tools they will need in adulthood,” Elmore said. “This course covers managing your income; managing your expenses and how to pay for them (cash, credit, loans); financial decisions (purchasing a car, home, insurance, investments), among other things. Also, students should know that a four-year college experience is NOT the only option for them to consider. Technical and trade schools are also available and important opportunities to consider; they can offer good, satisfying careers in less time than it would take to get a job and start earning money if you went the four-year college route.”
When asked about any extra words of advice he would give students on financial literacy, Economics teacher Jack Wigginton had this to say:
“Make wise credit decisions. Don’t overextend yourself with credit cards or take loans out unless you can pay them back. Only use credit cards when you know you can pay off the balance at the end of the month. The difference between having good credit and having bad credit could end up costing you hundreds of thousands of dollars over your lifetime.”