Financial Education

Knowing Your Stuff - Money Edition

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By Hannah Moore

How financially literate do you think you are in comparison to the rest of the general American public? Take this simple yet revealing quiz to find out. Don't feel bad if you fall short. Statistically, most people do. Even folks with a post secondary education do. The numbers show that 55.7% of Americans with college degrees answered at least one of the three questions incorrectly. The point of this quiz isn't directly about being right or wrong though - it's about how the results reflect what's not known on average, even when it arguably should be. And if that is telling of anything, it's that financial literacy has to be sought after, because it's not usually readily available to the masses. At Andson we aim to make this knowledge readily available for students and their families, because knowing how to handle your money is essential for every age and life situation. We teach these concepts through classroom worksheets, homework assignments, and take home reviews to explain to parents what is being taught and how they can assist in the learning process. Andson curriculum strives for not only a 3 out of 3 score on this quiz, but a more prepared generation of Southern Nevada.

Most Americans Fail This Simple 3-Question Financial Quiz. Can You Pass It?

Dear Friends, (Jan 2014)

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Dear Friends: All of us at Andson, Inc. would like to take this opportunity to wish you all the Very Best for 2014.  We are so very proud of the many milestones we reached in 2013.  And we thank all of our Supporters and Partners who helped us accomplish each of them.  We are looking forward to continually working together to deliver our much-needed programs to students across the valley.

We kicked off the New Year with the most amazing party for our team of Board Members, Tutors, Admin Staff and our Community Partners on January 11, 2014.  A heartfelt Thank You to Southern Highlands Golf Club and Southern Wine and Spirits for their incredibly generous contributions, support and partnership.

On New Year’s Eve 2013, we launched our new website powered by Larym Design.  Please do take the time to visit and re-visit it, as it is being continually updated with additional details of our activities and services in Las Vegas, Henderson, and Boulder City.

Throughout the month of January, our Academic Team will be busy conducting our very own Aims Web Testing for our hundreds of registered students, while continually streamlining and structuring the Homework Help and Tutoring at our eleven locations in Clark County.

At the same time our Financial Literacy Team will be delivering January’s Financial Literacy Lessons to all 25 classrooms at Bracken Elementary School.  We continually strive to utilize the most current materials, so lessons are revised on an ongoing basis. We thank our partners, United Way’s YPS, Silver State Schools Credit Union, and Bracken Elementary School for this successful collaboration.

Additionally, the Team is gearing up to start the second series of our Financial Literacy Workshops at Desert Oasis High School in the latter part of January.  Approximately 1,200 juniors and seniors will benefit from these lessons.

Early February, the Academic Team will launch our Homework Help and Tutoring Program at Sunrise Acres Elementary School through the City of Las Vegas.  We are eagerly looking forward to launching a new pilot of our supplemental after school assistance to the students at that location.

Taking on yet another challenge, we are currently developing a GED preparatory curriculum, which will be deployed early this spring.  Through a partnership with St. Jude's Ranch for Children, this program will serve young adults currently in transitional housing and/or aging out of the foster care system.

Again, thank you all for continued support, and for making 2013 an incredible year of success.  Together we will make 2014 an even better year!

 

Fondly,

Sonia

Andson gets big in Texas

It's always a dilemma - the work we do in Financial Literacy is great, why not take it national? Our answer is usually "No," followed by a statement on how you would lose the aspect of mentoring, the quality will be diminished, curriculum less effective etc. But what if we were approached by a group that was willing to recreate the culture of mentorship, and not attempt to use volunteers or one-time teachers for a lesson?

We have had the amazing opportunity of licensing our curriculum to a passionate group of educators. The Comal Independent School District approached Andson to use the Andson Money Curriculum at the Fourth Grade Level for 18 schools. (Aside - how in the world would Andson be known in Texas, you ask? The introduction was made by way of friends at St. Jude's Ranch for Children - they operate campuses both in Boulder City, NV and San Antonio, Texas. Without The Ranch, we would have not been prompted to visit the Lone Star State). Andson co-branded and developed the materials, lessons and presentations to work for the demographic of Comal ISD - a district roughly the size of New Jersey.

What we've realized however is that our goal of supporting Southern Nevada doesn't mean our products and services just stay in Southern Nevada.

Look at this opportunity: First, there is a licensing cost - which means that Andson can have a stream of revenue that goes back to help us develop further products and services; Second, with the right partner, our commitment to mentorship and small, strong quality programs can continue. Comal goes above and beyond to pick the best instructors possible for our curriculum - we went down in early October to train 17 instructors. Some were long time substitutes that have been assigned to a particular school (and know that school's students well), some worked for the local Communities in Schools program, two were even school principals. Needless to say we were able to checkmark the criterion for passion.

Thirdly, and most importantly is the feedback and development opportunity. We have just opened our curriculum up to a feedback loop including 1,250 new students - something that would take a massive staff on Andson's part to facilitate locally. Comal ISD and Andson will continue expanding till we are able to blanket the Elementary level, hopefully developing a feeder alignment and carry these students through their entire schooling with targeted lesson on Financial Literacy.

Exposing our curriculum to new bodies of students means we can move exponentially faster to make our products and services even stronger - nearly impossible to match solely with local staff. Andson, for example, will monitor the Pre and Post Test assessments and will have access to feedback on Parental Engagement via homework assignments. These pieces will go back into Research and Development here locally, and then get rolled out to any licensees we may have in the future.

This may be small win for other organizations that are built with revenues and licensing in mind. But for Andson, the idea that we can build a culture and climate in Financial Education from 2000 miles away, and retain some control, is an empowering concept. We are so excited to open up the doors for licensing and for our new counterparts in the Lone Star State.

Thanks to our friends at St. Jude's Ranch for making the connections, and we hope that Andson will get as big as everything else in Texas!

And of course, if interested in licensing, feel free to contact us via the website - we'd love to explore a new relationship.

Financial Literacy Update

With the new school year off and running, it's time to shift Andson's gears back into our Financial Literacy Programming.

The Piggy Bank Project at Bracken Elementary School enters its second year and the Andson team will be back in the classrooms delivering financial literacy lessons. New this year, there will be four tiered curriculums differentiated by grades and age groups - this is another example of Andson's flexibility and adaptability to the needs of our students. In tune with this philosophy, Andson has also developed a web-based school banking application that will simplify deposit tracking and reporting.

Promoting financial literacy at an early age will now become a reality in Comal County, Texas. As part of a pilot program for 4th graders, the five-lesson curriculum developed by Andson will be used at 18 different schools and will teach 1,500 fourth grade students the basics of personal finance. Andson is eager to share our passion and expertise with other communities and school districts.

Financial literacy lessons will also continue at Chaparral and Desert Oasis High Schools. Once again, Andson will be tailoring the lessons based on the socio-economic needs of the students and aiming to build mentoring relationships. We are excited for these locations, as well as adding new sites and partners for our High School curriculums this year.

Financial Literacy is at the heart of this organization. This summer was a very special time for us as we were awarded the Pinnacle Award by Treasurer Kate Marshall. Andson was one of three in Nevada to achieve this prestigious award!

Andson Receives Pinnacle Achievement Award

Just in time for the new academic year, we are elated and honored to be recognized by State Treasurer Kate Marshall and the National Association of State Treasurers for our efforts in fostering Financial Literacy.  We have worked, and continue to work tirelessly to develop and deliver innovative curriculums that encourage students to think critically about personal finance.  The new school year brings new projects for Andson in the Financial Literacy front and we look forward to expanding our partnerships to give more students access to the knowledge they need to improve their quality of life.

“The Andson Orgaization, in part through the efforts of Matt Hirsch, has been a great community partner, complementing the Treasurer’s Office efforts to drive and foster financial literacy education in the Clark County School District.  ‘The Piggybank Project’ has served as a model program for helping kids and parents to understand financial concepts, and to encourage money saving habits, while building decision making skills regarding money."

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Are we the new Life Coach for kids?

When we go out and promote Andson to a possible partner or client (aka parents and kids) we try to convey the dynamic of mentorship in all our activities. The reason we are so good at what we do is because there is no off-the-shelf program for our youth - we must connect with them in 2013 and meet them where they're at.  

That said, more and more parents (and adults in general) are extremely aware of the lack of life skills that our students and youth receive these days. It's enough to spark the conversation of where these skills can be best curated - home or school, parents or teachers. That's a different article entirely, however.

 

What I am realizing more and more is that Andson, through providing academic support and performance programs, financial literacy programs etc., isn't just about facilitating curriculum - it's about motivation of young people through our passion.

 

What we're building here for Southern Nevada is a whole lot more than any program. I'm starting to feel that we are life coaches for K-12. That is, we can inspire, motivate, reward and see how many of the 4,000 students we've impacted this past year succeed through the seeds we plant.

 

Just look at what we're doing at the Back 2 Class Bash with Raising Canes and the TEAching stand. Yes, it's a beta program - this is the first run at it. We're not looking at this simply as an entrepreneurial lesson, however. Andson is teaching the concept of volunteerism and taking the money smarts you learn through business back to your own personal finances. This lesson is geared toward middle schoolers to learn through immersion.

 

Whether it's receiving a letter that a high school student is now teaching their mother about banking, or having an elementary student run into one of our tutoring locations to show us their report card, our programs are creating an element of motivation in young people that really parodies what you see out of these adult life coaching programs.

 

This is a service economy, and we certainly provide a service. Through our continuing passion, however, we are providing more than any single program ever can.

Learn, Act, Learn - Financial Literacy gets rethought for High School Students

Andson Academics has become our flagship service - a tutoring program that scales well, serves our communities, and creates partnerships and collective impact. The Academic Assistance model is constantly attended to - we take pride in the tweaks that make the program better and better.  

That said, Financial Literacy has really taken off as a core component of what we do here at Andson. This past year was absolutely pivotal in the way we view and develop our Financial Literacy curriculums.  Nearly 2,000 unique students in 2012-2013 have already been directly reached by our Financial Literacy programming.

 

What we learned from the Piggybank Project at Bracken Elementary was that it's not about just one workshop of programming - not a five to eight week period. Rather, Andson's role in 2013 is to carry a student through multiple iterations of curicula. We start at the Kindergarten grade level and work our way through 5th grade. It was an amazing program that will really prove its effectiveness as we see this year's 1st graders all the way through their elementary graduation.

 

So, we started thinking, how can we accomplish the same at the High School level? How do we start with tiered curriculum, one that strengthens impact with every year until graduation?

 

What we've developed is a new way of looking at our high school students' needs. This is no longer a few weeks of interaction - this is about implementation over 3+ years.

 

At the Sophomore level, we explain the importance of grades, volunteerism in our community, and understanding needs vs. wants.

 

At the Junior level, we begin to plant the seed of the importance of education on future earning potential, and how to creatively fund your college education.

 

At the Senior level - we give them the full Andson curriculum, working with them for a greater understanding of personal finance.

What we estimate is that nearly half of the students we start with, we get to work with in their Senior year. For the others (due to transiency rate, etc) they will have seeds planted that they would not have otherwise experienced. This model is a complete work in progress - we've written some grant requests and hope to start this with Communities in Schools in the 2013-14 school year at Chaparral High Sschool.

Andson is committed to the idea of "Learn, Act, Learn" - no two schools or years should ever be exactly alike. Our materials have always, and will always cater to the student. This is how we personally can guarantee the greatest possible impact through our Financial Literacy workshops.

600 Desert Oasis High School Seniors' Debt Workshop

Desert Oasis Highschool, Check.Andson lesson built on Debt, Check. 600 High Schoolers, Check (gulp). 1 Day. (Wow!)

 

We had the opportunity April 23rd to teach 6 sessions to Desert Oasis Seniors on Debt, Credit, and Creative Funding of College education.

 

While this was a bit different for Andson, it was an awesome day! Not only were students informed on the concept of interest rates, predatory lending, and to "think outside the box" in regards to funding college, but we also had 5 individual students looking for mentoring relationships through our program.

 

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This was one of those days that put a smile on our faces - not only can we make a positive impact on so many students in one day, we can engage with a handful of students to achieve short-term and long-term goals through budgeting and planning.

 

Here is the lesson we taught:

 

Thanks to Desert Oasis for having us. Word is, they want our whole course for seniors next year.

Never too early to teach children financial resposibility

As we continue to focus our efforts on behavioral finance, we like sharing stories that are worth reading and can help us put into perspective the real challenge of financial literacy. The following article, written as a letter to parents, not only provides insight on how to teach children financial responsibility at various ages, but it also reiterates the importance of early education and parent engagement. Parents and culture will definitely influence the way children understand money and the habits they will develop and continue into adulthood.

Dear Parents,

The long-term key to improving America's overall financial literacy quotient is to get to the kids. What's important is to establish good financial behaviors early because those behaviors will carry over to adulthood. As a father of four, and grandfather of nine, I've seen it work firsthand. Start early, insist on consistency in behaviors, and set a good example. Monitor your saver's progress and celebrate the successes. With that mantra, here's how to get started:

When kids can walk, it's time to start saving. Establish the first behavior of saving by teaching your child to drop coins in a piggy bank or a jar. Explain the meaning of the word save.

Show the money. Periodically, show the child that consistent saving adds up by regularly tallying up your savings.

Take it to the bank. Make a ceremony of taking the child to the bank to deposit the jar of money. Teach them that the bank will give them money (interest) to "store their money."

If there is an allowance, it's time to budget by putting savings first. No matter what the size of the allowance is, break it down between what they can spend, and what they have to save. Note: this may be your first financial "negotiation" with your child - start with saving 50%, and settle for 25%.

The first large purchase. As your child ages, he or she will inevitably want to spend their entire savings - on one item. The answer is "no." Modify budget into more line items - discretionary spending, mandatory saving, and "saving for the large item." This is where the behavior of "buying within means" is established.

"But, I want it now..." This may be the time to develop a new financial concept - borrowing money. That's okay as long as the rules are set, and the "borrower" adheres to them. This is where the behavior of "borrowing within means" is established.

"Can I have a credit card?" Response: No, it's too early. We're sticking to the plan above. However, let me teach you about credit cards - after the "eye roll," stick to your game plan.

"My friends have credit and debit cards." Response: I'm happy for them. We're sticking to our financial plan, and here's why. In my own experience, my children were grateful for instilling financial responsibility at a young age. Start early, consistency, monitor progress, and celebrate success - I'm convinced that's the formula for increasing America's financial literacy quotient many times over. Get to the kids.

Proud Grandfather, Carl George, CPA

Note: This letter first appeared as an e-Wealth Coach article from America Saves. Carl George is the Senior Executive Partner at Clifton Gunderson LLP, a national CPA firm; past Chairman of the National CPA Financial Literacy Commission of the AICPA, www.360financialliteracy.org and www.feedthepig.org; and the proud grandfather of 9.

Education + Personal Finance are the foundation of Andson's April workshops

Andson is constantly committed to teaching students Personal Finance skills. It's April! That means it's Financial Literacy MONTH! We have identified a few key areas that we can really have an impact for students in just one short lesson. Education is an investment that students NEED to make - whether trade school or college, students with a secondary education will have more opportunities than those who only graduate high school. So how can we make sure students have a foundation to understand that debt can hurt a student fresh-out-of-school faster than any other force?  

In April, Andson's Financial Team will work with the following institutions to inform students about the pitfalls and positives of credit - as well as provide ongoing support to these student bodies.

    • Desert Oasis High School - Seniors will go through an intense Debt and Financial Aid seminar on 4/23. We will be working with over 600 students!

 

    • Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth ⁃ Nevada has a serious issue with teens that are homeless. However, given the right resources, they can go on to be successful. These students, more than any other, need to be made aware of the resources they can use to fuel their mission of independence and success.

 

    • Nevada State College is an amazing school in the southeast of Henderson. NSC and Andson are partners in so many activities, so it seemed only natural to bring a seminar on pitfall and installment credit to their student body. We are so happy to provide this as a resource to students in Southern Nevada.

 

We are so proud to be a part of Southern Nevada - let's give our students the resources they need to succeed!

Behavioral Finance and Andson - worksheets alone don't work

A statistics professor in my MBA program made a statement on the first day of class, "I can train you how to be a $10 calculator, or I can train you how to think."  Obviously, gone are the days of living without smart phones, auto-correct and calculators.

 

So why are we still teaching personal finance as textbook terms and definitions?  Why are we spending time on the things that students will inevitably forget; more importantly the things that they can easily look up on their phones? (Please Note: We do worry about many students' capability to spell and do simple math, but that's why we created Andson Academics).

 

We need to teach them that knowledge equals power. When faced with questions about IRA accounts, APRs or the details of an annuity, do some research on Google, instead of believing the salesman.  We need to be able to instill that delayed gratification and PYF (pay yourself first) gives them spending choices and spending power.

 

Behavioral Finance is the term that is gaining ever-so-much momentum right now in this field.  That is, instead of teaching a student about textbook definitions, let's teach them how to think about finance.

 

  • What should I be leery of?
  • When does an interest rate raise a red-flag?
  • What are the fees that will be involved?
  • Where can I go for help outside of a payday loan?

 

All of these are examples of teaching young people how to think about their money.  Time Business & Money has a great article right now on the concept of changing behaviors instead of just teaching facts.  We couldn't agree more and in fact pride ourselves and our programs on providing more than just a workbook or worksheet.

 

Roth, who runs the infamous blog Get Rich Slowly admits that he himself learned all the "basic financial literacy," in his senior year of high school, but was no better because of it.

 

Roth goes on to say that personal finance is something internal for most people - though for many there is definitely a cycle of poverty they need to overcome.  What needs to be taught is that in order to make a change, it needs to happen within us.  Otherwise it's just like a fad diet - you always end up back at square one.

 

I myself cannot begin to count the amount of times that we see young people that just don't want to end up in the same debtor situations they've seen friends or family end up in.  Many times that's enough and it works.  More often than not though, one is the sum of their surroundings; so bringing a fresh way of thinking and perspective into the classroom is more important than ever.

 

Let's continue with a mission to change behavior in our students, and not just make them calculators and dictionaries when it comes to personal finance.

 

Sources:

Time Business & Money

http://business.time.com/2013/03/11/why-financial-literacy-fails/

JD Roth

http://business.time.com/author/jdroth/

Get Rich Slowly

http://www.getrichslowly.org/blog/

Helpful Tips to Paying off Your Student Loan

When it comes to college, most people find the biggest struggle is being able to pay for it. Some people do not even go to college because of high tuition and other extra costs like books and parking passes. It seems almost impossible to attend college without having to take out  a student loan. But once school is over and you get your degree, student loans are dropped on you and it is up to you whether or not you will successfully pay them off.  People are defaulting more than ever because of the unexpected high monthly payments. People do not consider the interest of a loan, how long it will actually take to pay it off, or that maybe their career will not be as successful as planned. The best way to avoid the unexpected feeling and stress of student loans is planning. The sooner you start planning for college and researching different types of tuition plans, the more control you will have of your future. You never want to accept the first plan that a person hands you. Researching and talking to advisors will help you decide. Advisors can be anyone from a financial advisor to a friend that you trust.

Be prepared to start paying off your student loan as soon as possible. A big way to put a dent into your student loans is to pay more than the minimum payments. Even an extra $20 can make a difference. The extra $20 can come from budgeting your money properly.

These are just a few helpful tips for you but there are several different ways to help you with your student loans. Again, planning is key! Prepare yourself for a more successful future!

To obtain more information, read:

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/6-tips-paying-off-student-132815610.html

Silver State Schools Credit Union College Scholarships!

Are you a senior at a Nevada High School looking for college scholarships? Deadlines are coming up pretty fast but you can still apply for one of the six college scholarships that Silver State Schools Credit Union is offering. Be one of the six lucky students who will receive a $2,000 one-year scholarship that is renewable to up to four years. The deadline is March 16, 2013. Do not wait until the last minute to take advantage of this opportunity. To fill out an application, visit the Silver State Schools Credit Union website: http://www.silverstatecu.com/news/news-details.aspx?newsid=36

More Funds For Clark County Schools!

Ask yourself, what can children benefit the most from in school? Now, do those benefits need funding? Well, Clark County students will be receiving more funding to help them increase the benefits of their time spent in school. According to the Las Vegas Sun, the Clark County School District received extra federal funding in 2012 after it received $72 million in the previous year. This funding was received through the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of Title 1, which provides more federal funds to private and public schools that have a high number of low-income students. The additional funding is focused on closing the gap between the financial stature of students. Each student will receive $314 on top of the $7842, which is already received.

The Elementary and Secondary Education Act of Title 1 can really benefit the children of Clark County. Many children from low-income areas feel that there are more challenges they have to overcome in comparison to those that children from middle or high income areas do. Many cannot even see the light at the end of the tunnel because of the struggles in school. The hope is to change the mindset of these children and allow them to see a brighter future. We, at Andson, want to support these children and hope that the gap between the financial stature of students can truly be closed and every child gets the opportunities that he or she deserves.

To read article, click on the link:

http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2011/aug/03/number-schools-high-percentage-low-income-students/