Working for Greater Financial Education

CASH KID

Nov 27 2023 • 14 mins

Should financial education be a graduation requirement? One organization is working to spread access to greater financial education for all students. Find out what they are doing, what age can kids start learning the stock market, and what opportunities await those who learn to invest early. Those topics and more are in this episode of the Cash Kid Podcast! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Transcript

SPEAKERS

The Cash Kid, Wanda McAbee

Welcome back to episode 7 season 2 of the Cash Kid Podcast. Whether your listening from Amazon Music, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, the cashkidpodcast website or wherever you like to listen from, we’re glad you are here!

Our focus this season continues to be on building super financial literacy skills, and today, we have a special guest who works every day to do that for kids across the entire state of Alabama. There are organizations across the US who are seeking funding and fighting for legislative measures to be taken to make financial education an educational requirement because of the impact it can have on our economy.

You don’t want to miss out on what she has to say. The Cash Kid Podcast is underway!

Intro tease:

So you’ve got some cash. Maybe from an allowance, or that money your grandma gave you for your 7th birthday. Here you go, sweetie. Thanks, Grandma.

Whatever it is, what are you going to do with it? Spend it, hide it away… or maybe invest it? Let’s start learning how to make that money grow.

Time to learn how to be a cash kid.

Who is advocating for us kids to have access to better financial education at a younger age?

How can real world events impact our investments and why should we understand that?

At what age can kids start learning about the stock market?

Joining me today is Mrs. Wanda McAbee who is the Executive Director of the Alabama Council on Economic Education.

Mrs. McAbee is a little like me. She was introduced to the stock market game which we discussed in season 1 episode 8. This game ignited her passion to have more financial education provided for not just her students but the entire state of Alabama. And that’s what she works to do now. Advocate for more financial education programs and requirements to set students up for greater financial success.

The Cash Kid

Welcome. And first off, tell us a little bit about yourself.

Wanda McAbee

Well, first of all, thank you so much for this invitation. I think I want to start by saying that I love learning, okay? I've loved learning my whole life. I spent over 47 years as a either a classroom teacher or an administrator in public schools in Alabama. And now it is my distinct honor to continue serving the area of education. As Executive Director of the Alabama Council on Economic Education. My journey began in stock market game being used in my classroom. It just sort of ignited a passion in me. So I'm just excited to continue this learning process.

The Cash Kid

So, what does the Alabama Council on Economic Education do?

Wanda McAbee

Okay, well, we are a nonprofit organization. And our purpose and mission is to provide economic and financial education in Alabama, by providing professional development and curriculum resources to teachers throughout the state, at no cost to them. And then through this work that we do with teachers, we have the opportunity to impact students. So that's our mission, working with teachers to help them equip their students to have a better financial future and an understanding of the decision-making process to become good informed  citizens in our society.

The Cash Kid

Why was an organization like this formed? And how does it help support schools?

Wanda McAbee

Okay, so this organization was founded in 1969. And we're very thankful for the group of individuals that saw a need in the state of Alabama to have another way that students and teachers could be impacted. We keep up with our data on a two year timeframe. And so over the past two years, we've impacted over 179,000 students, and we have had an involvement with teachers or students in over 70%, of the school systems in Alabama. So our goal is to make it 100%. We want every school system, public and private involved.

The Cash Kid

So what impact do you feel these programs have had on school systems in our state?

Wanda McAbee

We are continuing to offer a variety of programs. I mentioned that we do professional development for teachers. A lot of teachers who are like me, when I first started stock market game, I had no investment background. In fact, if you said the word economics, I probably would roll my eyes and say, Oh, how boring is that? I don't want to do that. But stock market game. As a teacher, I became totally engaged. And I realized that I had missed out on 15 years of compound interest. Oh my gosh. So I learned that myself. And so through that impact on me personally, it gave me this passion to continue to do this with the council. So the teachers that I work with when you're asked about the impact, they generally even today, tell me the same thing because they don't have the background coming up in schools that gave them and equipped them with this investment, education, knowledge and financial education knowledge. So so that's our goal. We want to reach out to all those teachers and help them help their students be more successful.

The Cash Kid

Yeah, so how important is financial literacy and learning economic skills?

Wanda McAbee

So we could talk about that for a long, long time. How important is it? Well, in terms of life skills, stock market game, I know this is how you became involved in it. But stock market game is the perfect example of finding a way to help students see the real world connections. So on your portfolio, when you're playing stock market game, and a stock goes up or down, sometimes, you know, you've done research about that stock. But a lot of times, it doesn't matter how much research you've done, what's going on in world events will cause it to go up or down, whether there's a famine, or whether there's a pandemic, or whether there's a war, or whether there's a presidential election. And so we see those real world connections. So it's very important that students gain the knowledge and are equipped with the skills to look at situations to make decisions, to see those real world connections, because that is what's going to impact them in their future as adults and present being productive members of society. So we think that that's, that's one of the biggest reasons is just, it helps not just in the financial future, but just learning how to make those informed decision making skills. Economics is life. When you stop and you think about the decisions that you make, everything that you make, comes back to economics, it comes back to scarcity. Scarcity is the driving force for everything. We can't have everything we want, we have to make decisions. And we have to learn how to make informed decisions. That knowledge is power. So programs like stock market game, and we have several other programs that we offer, throughout the state. Those are designed to help students learn to see decisions, make decisions, make informed decisions, and see how that impacts their life.

The Cash Kid

Yeah. So do you feel there's been a rise in demand for education like this, and why?

Wanda McAbee

In 2014, in Alabama, there was a push for making a financial education course, a required part of the graduation in the state of Alabama. At that time, in 2014, only five states required a graduation course in financial education to be part of the curriculum, only five states. Now, I just looked up these numbers today, there are 30 states that now have that as a graduation requirement. And I think that shows the importance that people are now seeing throughout the state and through advocacy groups and seeing that it's just it helps better everyone, when we have that kind of knowledge.

The Cash Kid

Yeah. So can you tell us about any initiatives that you are working on or goals of the Alabama Council on Economic Education?

Wanda McAbee

Ah, yes, ah, we continue to have goals to implement all of our programs. In addition to stock market game, we offer InvestWrite , which is an essay competition, that's part of stock market game that's optional for students to participate in. We love academic competitions. We think that we're competitive society, and its students get more involved when there's a competition. And we give really good prizes, too. But we also offer the Economics Challenge, and the National Personal Finance Challenge for students in grades six through 12. And those are online competitions, everything we do is at no cost to the teachers or the students. So we have these two online competitions, where students form teams, and they take online test, and the top teams at the high school level, are invited to a state championship. Those state champions then represent Alabama at the national competition. And I'm very pleased to report that at a national competition this past year, we had a second place in the nation from Alabama, in the personal finance challenge. So, we're really excited about that. And then we have another competition Rockonomix. And in Rockonomix, students take a song that they like, and they rewrite the lyrics, and do their own video. And the lyrics have to do with economics and personal finance. And we have some really, really cute, clever things that our students have submitted. And that's for grades four through 12. So we know that there are a lot of different ways that our students in Alabama can show their abilities and can show how smart they are, and how creative they are.

The Cash Kid

Is there anything we haven't asked you that you would like to share with our audience?

Wanda McAbee

Um, well, one thing I do just want to point out, it's never too early. Okay. Because I get this question asked several times from teachers. They'll say, Oh, well, ninth grade, sometimes our ninth graders that concept might be too hard or whatever. And I have a different view of that. I think it is never too early to start learning about financial education than the national standards for learning about stocks. The benchmark is at fourth grade, okay. It's never too early, we have programs that we offer for our elementary teachers that help them weave financial education into their curriculum starting in kindergarten. So it's never too early. We, that's something I really want to emphasize. And if we have teachers, or parents or anyone that's listening to this podcast, we just encourage you to reach out to us, you can go to our website, econ alabama.org. And we have many, many resources, and we have ways that we can connect you.  But I would just say, I want to just emphasize again, how important it is to make this a requirement in the home and in the schools, and keep this emphasis going and your efforts. let me commend you, your efforts. And what you're doing is helping to get this message across, and ultimately will help to empower your peers to have a more successful financial future.So congratulations to you!

Thank you Mrs. McAbee for all you are doing to fight for our generation’s financial sucess.

This episode was a little longer than most but whether you are a fellow cash kid, parent, teacher, educator, or grandparent listening, I felt it worthy to hear it’s never too early. If there’s not enough education options in your schools, get involved and seek to have more added.

Cash Kids, we have more terms, discussions, and skills to learn. Thank you for tuning in to this episode. If you have a question, please, reach out to me at cashkidspodcast@gmail.com and I’ll answer it in a future episode. You can also reach out via our website at cashkidpodcast.com.

Follow us on Instagram and wherever you are listening, leave a review! We need your help reaching a larger audience and building the financial skills of the next generation.

Cash Kid, out!

Disclaimer:

The information presented represents the views and opinions of the guests. This show does not intend to provide personal investment advice through this podcast. This content has been made for informational and educational purposes only. To make a full and informed investment decision, we advise you to speak with a financial advisor and for kids, definitely your parents first before investing.

To learn more visit Alabama Council on Economic Education:

https://www.econalabama.org/