High schoolers from Germantown and beyond head to the Fed to learn the value of a saved dollar

True or false: Most millionaires work in glamorous jobs such as sports, entertainment or high tech. Give up?

The answer is “False.”

That question was among many others which left more than 50 high school students stumped when they visited the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia’s Financial Education Youth Summit for a game of “How to Really be a Millionaire” on Friday morning.

During the three-and-a-half-hour summit, students from Jules E. Mastbaum Vocational School, Murrell Dobbins High School and Germantown High School learned the importance of budgeting, saving and investing.

Out-of-classroom learning

In small groups, the students worked through questions and case studies. Sometimes, they stumbled and guessed, but Germantown High businesses education teacher Sharon Daniels said it was good practice.

“When they graduate and start looking at buying cars and houses, making career decision and using credit cards, they won’t be stumbling and falling flat on their face,” said Daniels. “Hopefully, some of this will resonate with them when they actually go to make these real like experiences.”

In addition to dispelling some myths about millionaires, the summit also focused on the need to make sound financial decisions. This was addressed through a round of “Sharp Financial Advisors,” where they helped four fictitious clients decide the best way to use credit.

Lessons for adulthood

Theresa Singleton, vice president of community development studies and education at the Fed, said she realized there was a need for lessons like the summit when she saw homes built for people whose credit made it impossible to take on. The moral of those stories was that it was “too little, too late” when the lesson was learned.

Coshae Torrence, a senior at Germantown, said she hopes to build upon Friday’s lessons so that she and her son can have financial stability.

“I hope to learn how to manage my money and budget it the right way so I could have something to fall back on when I am ready to retire or just to get my son through college and be able to help him,” she said.

For her part, Chequarii McDonald said she was excited to learn how small investments add up and was already planning to open a bank account saving $50 from each paycheck.

In addition to receiving a shredded $100 bill, the students also toured the bank’s lobby exhibit “Money in Motion” before heading back to their respective schools.

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