Finance Park teaches students keys to money management

In Nevada, it’s easy to be an eighth-grader and get a mortgage loan and just as easy to get a car loan.

But with these things come financial responsibilities — paying them off on time and protecting one’s credit score.

It’s all part of the Junior Achievement of Southern Nevada’s Finance Park, which is set up at 833 Las Vegas Blvd. North, where the Lied Discovery Children’s Museum once sat.

This year, 4,000 students are in the 3-year-old program, coming from various middle and junior high schools, including Becker, 9151 Pinewood Hills Drive; The Alexander Dawson School, 10845 W. Desert Inn Road; Sawyer, 5450 Redwood St., and West Preparatory Academy, 2050 Sapphire Stone Ave.

The students spend 12 weeks in classroom study, learning about the financial responsibilities they will face as adults. Lessons include how to balance a checkbook; the value of saving; investing; risk management; and budgeting, among other skills that increase their financial literacy and business skills. The students received a debit card loaded with mock money to “spend” as they saw fit.

The end of the course included sending students to the Finance Park. On this day, Oct. 12, the first day that students would visit the park, approximately 60 were bused to the facility. They were seated at tables with an adult, a volunteer from partner Capital One, as their guidance monitor.

The presentation began with interesting facts about how location affects one’s earning power. An elementary teacher in the Midwest, the students were told, could expect to make $55,000 a year. But if that same person lived on the West Coast, their salary average was $70,000.

The type of industry could also affect one’s wages, as could the amount of schooling they had.

In 2011, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for a college graduate was $41,000.

The students were given tablets, each preloaded with an occupation and an annual salary.

Angelo York, a student at Smith Middle School, 1301 E. Tonopah Ave., was given a profile as a deli worker who made $36,000 a year.

He said that in real life he wanted to be a rapper. Barring that, he said he would join the military for a four-year stint and follow that with college to study law.

“The most important thing I learned here is how to handle my money,” he said, “because even if you have plans in life, knowing how to budget will always come in handy, knowing how much you can spend and how much you can save. … What shocked me is how much money you waste just paying bills and all that stuff.”

Virginia Reyes, who also attends Smith, wanted to work in law enforcement.

She said her parents taught her “to only spend what’s needed and keep to a budget.” When they showed her their budget, she said she was unaware that they had to pay taxes, both local and federal.

She was given a life scenario as an analyst who made $64,500 a year.

Other details of student profiles included whether they were a parent, their credit score and if they had attended college using student loans. According to studentdebt.org, the total student debt in the U.S. is currently $1.2 trillion.

The fun part was when the students got to “shop.” They visited booths set up to address various aspects of an adult’s financial responsibilities, including groceries, transportation, clothing, gas and other utilities, housing, insurance, education, childcare, investments, health care, banking, entertainment and home improvement. One booth was called “That’s life” and spelled out different scenarios: the car needs a new transmission; your daughter’s baseball smashed out a neighbor’s window; the dishwasher broke; Billy needs braces.

At the transportation booth, the students looked at what types of vehicles they could buy. The monitors spoke of other considerations such as whether a luxury vehicle or a more modest car cost more to insure and what kinds of vehicles got the best gas mileage.

“What type of person would consider buying a minivan?” a monitor asked.

“Someone with a family,” a student called out.

At the entertainment booth, one monitor pointed out that Las Vegas has plenty of free concerts on Fremont Street, which could save money. Another suggested that instead of eating out for one fancy dinner, that money could buy a week’s worth of groceries instead.

Christian Dennis, with Capital One, was one of the monitors and said she learned the kids didn’t get a lot of financial instruction in school.

They need to “learn about checking and savings; of course, nowadays they have debit cards,” she said. “But when you tell them they need to balance their checkbook, they go, ‘What’s a checkbook?’ “

Since the program debuted in 2013 in Southern Nevada, the number of participating students has more than doubled from the initial 16-day program with 1,899 students. Across the country since 2006, more than 130,000 students have participated in JA Finance Park, assisted by more than 12,000 Capital One associate volunteers.

Michelle Jackson, president of Junior Achievement of Southern Nevada, said the course was also about making school a priority.

“It’s critical to teach them at this age because they haven’t gotten to high school yet,” she said. “There, your grade point average is critical. … A 3.0 GPA and a 4.0 GPA; the difference could determine which college you get into or what scholarship you receive. So, we focus on eighth grade because we want them to get an idea how important their education is, to make it a priority. With their life scenarios, they see very quickly that the kids who stayed in school longer stand to make more money.”

An open house is planned from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Dec. 10 for the public at the park. Along with food, a brief presentation is planned, along with time to observe and interact with students visiting the park. Visit jalasvegas.org/programs/finance_park.

— To reach Summerlin Area View reporter Jan Hogan, email jhogan@viewnews.com or call 702-387-2949.

ad-high_impact_4
Local
Lights FC coach Eric Wynalda lost his home in California wildfire
Eric Wynalda, coach of the Las Vegas Lights FC soccer team, talks about losing his home in the deadly California wildfires during an interview in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Nov. 17, 2018. (Ron Kantowski/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Women face issues from Essure birth control implants
DeVonna "Kat" Normand said she had complications from the Essure birth control implants. Normand uses her Sin City Heat show at 22.3 TakeOver Vegas Radio internet radio station in Las Vegas as a platform to raise awareness about Essure and connect with other women who have used the device. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Truancy And Clark County Schools
North Las Vegas Water Meters
Randy DeVaul shows off the new water meters that the city is installing.
Project 150 Thanksgiving 2018
About 100 volunteers for Project 150 box Thanksgiving meals for high school students and their families in Las Vegas on Wednesday, Nov. 14.
Three Square’s Maurice Johnson Talks About Food Waste
Three Square’s director of operations Maurice Johnson talks about food waste.
Parade preparation nears completion
Downtown Summerlin prepares for its annual holiday parade.
Clark County Wetlands promotes 2019 Wetland Walker Program
This year the park will be celebrating the Northern Flicker. The program is designed to teach about that bird, and encourage people to visit the Wetlands and walk the same distance the bird migrates each year.
Poet’s Walk Henderson introduces storytelling
Residents enjoy a storytelling activity.
Downtown Summerlin hosts its annual Festival of Arts
People crowd to Downtown Summerlin for the 23rd annual Summerlin Festival of Arts in Las Vegas, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018. (Caroline Brehman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Clark County educators debate alternative grading systems
Spring Valley High School principal Tam Larnerd, Spring Valley High School IB coordinator Tony Gebbia and retired high school teacher Joyce O'Day discuss alternative grading systems. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Grandparents on the fire that killed three family members
Charles and Doris Smith talk about the night an apartment fire took the lives of three of their family members. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
New York artist Bobby Jacobs donated a sculpture to the Las Vegas Healing Garden
Bobby Jacobs, an artist from upstate New York, has spent much of the past year creating a sculpture of two separate angel wings. He donated the sculpture to the Las Vegas Healing Garden. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Weather will cool slightly through the end of the week
The weather will cool slightly through the end of the week., but highs are still expected to be slightly above normal for this year. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Mayor announces new public-private partnership
Mayor Carolyn Goodman announced the creation of the Mayor’s Fund for Las Vegas LIFE, a public-private partnership that will allocate money to the city’s neediest.
Fremont9 opens downtown
Fremont9 apartment complex has opened in downtown Las Vegas. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Fall fairytale gets cozy at Bellagio Conservatory
Bellagio Conservatory introduces its fall-themed garden titled "Falling Asleep." (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
What the house that Ted Binion died in looks like today
Casino heir Ted Binion died in this Las Vegas home in 1998. Current home owner Jane Popple spent over $600,000 to restore and modernize the home. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Rescue Mission employees terminated
Don James, a former employee for the Las Vegas Rescue Mission, talks about the day his team was terminated. (Erik Verduzco/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Raiders Cupcakes at Freed's Bakery
Freed's Bakery will have Raiders-themed cupcakes available in store and for order during football season. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
51s fans say goodbye to Cashman Field
Las Vegas 51s fans said goodbye to Cashman Field in Las Vegas, Monday September, 3, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
51s owner Don Logan's last weekend at Cashman Field
Don Logan, owner of the Las Vegas 51s, gives a tour of Cashman Field before the team's final weekend using the field. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like