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.




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, and; 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!

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:

Bridger Middle School Starts After-School Tutoring Program!

Children’s Education is top priority at the Andson Organization. At the beginning of this semester of school, we had the privilege if being a part of Bridger Middle School and the after school tutoring program. When we started the involvement in the beginning of January, we met with Kalah Washington who took charge. In October 2012, the Las Vegas Sun wrote an article about the amazing job that Kalah does, and the impact she makes as an employee of Communities in Schools. When Kalah walks through the halls of Bridger, the students cannot help but to say, "Hi!". Everyone knows who she is and what she does. The Communities in Schools program is designed to help underprivileged children get the support they need whether it is in school or at home. Kalah offers schools supplies for any child that needs it, including backpacks. If a child needs a new shirt or pair of jeans, Kalah is able to supply it. If the child needs food, Kalah is able to supply canned food for the whole family. Not only does she provide the children with physical goods but she also provides them with emotional support. Kalah counsels the children from school issues to personal issues.

Every Monday through Thursday after school, you will find Kalah inside the school library helping tutor the students. She provides discipline and a nurturing environment for these students that volunteer to be in the after-school tutoring program.

All of us here at Andson have been excited to be a part of what Kalah and Communities in Schools is doing. We hope to keep up the good work and be able to support the community like they do!

Article Information: 

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:

A very different group takes over the Strip - NV DECA.

On Monday, February 11, I went to judge the Nevada DECA Competition at the Flamingo Hotel and Casino.  Not knowing much about DECA, I had no idea that this day would mean as much to me as it did to the students. DECA is an organization that is co-curricular - meaning they are in the classrooms (like us).




DECA has core areas such as

  • Civic Responsibility
  • Leadership
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Understanding of Free Enterprise.

Did I mention these were High School students?  Some were only Sophomores!  The day was amazing.  These students had 10 minutes to prep their case, and come present it to one of the hundreds of judges that volunteered that day to facilitate the competition.

Students I judged competed in areas such as:

  • Financial Repercussion of showrooms vs. trade shows, regarding startup remodeling company
  • Financial Benefits of a stock buyback program for a security company
  • Marketing and Research for the rebranding of a boutique hotel chain

These were mock situations, of course, but the energy and enthusiasm was overwhelming.  Many thanks to Nevada DECA for doing the amazing work of preparing young people for the adult/business world.  It inspires me to keep Andson innovative, and not to forget our mission:  empowering through education.  Remember, if education is about fun and opportunities, STUDENTS PARTICIPATE!


Image from Nevada Deca website

Nevada DECA

Having Fun While Learning About Money!

What can we do to make it fun for children to learn about money management? How about add music? That is exactly what the Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) and the Charles Schwab Foundation are doing, and children are jumping at the opportunity to learn and be apart of the experience. The Boys & Girls Clubs of America and the Charles Schwab Foundation are making an impact on teens that are learning about finances in a fun way. The two organizations have worked together to start the Money Matters Music Mogel (M4) contest that incorporates the Money Matters: Make It Count programs with music, allowing teens to have fun while learning. The Money Matters program teaches teens about money managing skills at more than 2,900 Boys & Girls Clubs across the country. The contest has teens take what they have learned in the program and allows them to incorporate the knowledge into original lyrics that are accompanied by beats created by Grammy-nominated Kevin “Khao” Cates.

Once the songs are created, they are put to a vote and the winner receives $1,000 in scholarship funds and $1,000 to his or her BGCA club. Also, the winner will have the opportunity to create a music video to go with the song. Four finalists receive $500 each.

The previous winner was from our very own town of Las Vegas! Syretha Shirley of the Boys & Girls Club of Las Vegas won with her song, “Time is Money”. Congratulations Syretha! I wonder who the next winner will be?



youtube video


Missing School Can Have A Huge Impact On Students

Your child has been sick for a few days and now he or she is feeling better, but you think that missing one more day will be no big deal. Think again! Missing school can make an impact on a child's education in the future. Of course, a child can always make up work but will that child really be getting the proper education that he or she will need for the future courses and material learned.

Of course parents are aware that missing school is not a good thing for students, but often times parents do not even notice how many days their child is really missing. And it is not their fault for not knowing.

According to new studies found in a recent article done by USA Today, 90% of students come to school. Though that percentage looks desirable,  where are the other 10% of students? Approximately 7.5 million students miss a month of school each year. These “chronically absent” students become at “high-risk” of dropping because of the challenges they face academically as a result of missing school for long periods of time.

Many parents often do not recognize the issue because they are not presented with an overall report of absences. Each parent receives a report card four times a year. The quarterly report shows the individual, quarterly absences, but there is no summary at the end of the year with all the absences on one report. Perhaps making parents aware of the effect of absences on academic performance might result in an increase in the success rate of graduating students.

Children are bound to get sick, and will have to miss school for sick or personal issues, but there must be a way to keep track of how many days a student will be missing. It is important for students to learn the lesson of the day in the classroom environment where he or she will be able to ask questions and get the help he or she needs when struggling with learning. We want our children to overcome challenges in the future.


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:

BizKid$ is changing the way Andson does Financial Lit!

While we believe that materials put out by NEFE (National Endowment for Financial Education), as well as the Money Matters Curriculum by Charles Schwab's Foundation can really make a difference for the Junior and Senior High School students - we have struggled on how to fill the gap for Middle School and High School Freshman. BizKids is changing all that with their amazing television programs and content-filled website.

April 18th - got your taxes done? Here's a list of celebs and athletes that didn't...

During Unit 2 ( Budgeting) of our workshops, we like to take a moment to talk about how even the rich and famous need to budget.  Often times we mention Hollywood actors that have lost all their wealth just because they couldn't budget.  Most of the time, taxes are a major problem for these stars.  The only reasonable explanation that seems likely is that these celebrities don't pay taxes each paycheck like the rest of us - and they spend it faster than it's coming in.


MSN has put together a list of 15 celebrities that didn't make their deadlines for tax day in the past.  It's a great read that will likely get incorporated into future workshops for Andson.  Here's the highlights:


  • #14 - Rapper Xzibit owes nearly $1 million dollars.  He claims money problems began due to the cancellation of "Pimp my Ride."  The clencher - Xzibit's Range Rover was a lease...
  • #11 - Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne owe $1.7 million in back taxes.  The saddest part of this story is that their daughter, Kelly Osbourne, already owes $34,000 herself.  If that isn't motivation for what the Andson Organization is trying to do...
  • #7 - Marc Anthony owes $3.4 million in taxes.  This after a 2007 settlement of $2.5 million in taxes.
  • #6 - Rapper Lil' Wayne may owe as much as $5.6 million after a recent $1.13 million dollar payment to the IRS.
  • #1 - This one comes all the way from Australia - Crocodile Dundee star Paul Hogan allegedly owes Australia approximately $37 million in taxes!


There's more detail in the article.  Go straight to the source at the bottom to read the whole thing - it's definitely an eye-opener.


So, remember that even though your tax bill may be high today, someone almost always has one higher.  Who knows, maybe some of these stars will actually make the deadline since we got 3 extra days in the U.S. this year (sorry Mr. Hogan).

Edit:  Wow, just a few days after the celebs list - looks like CNBC has put out a list of star athletes that has gone a similar route - 15 Athletes Who Have Gone Broke.


Celebrities Source:  Wonder Wall via MSN

Athletes Source:  via CNBC

Andson Workshops in Central Florida - Altamonte Christian Schools

Friday, April 15th we had the opportunity to go give a workshop at Altamonte Christian School, in Altamonte Springs, FL.  We had a great time with the Senior Class, and were able to spend the entire day with them - we may have even got them out a little early (you're all welcome).  It was nice to see that this group is headed in the right direction - they had a good understanding of personal finance, most were even good savers!

As always, we really stressed Investing as well as the Credit Cards lessons.  Time Value of Money is definitely an area that gets young people thinking about interest rates and returns.

We also got some feedback on the presentations, which was definitely helpful and greatly appreciated - hopefully we can just keep making them better and better for future workshops.

Thanks to all the students and faculty for making the day a success!

Andson Workshops in Central Florida - Sanford and Tupperware Clubs.

We recently finished up 2 workshops in Central Florida for March 2011.  These took place at the Sanford and Tupperware Boys and Girls Clubs.  Overall, they went very well.  It was fun to be able to use Prezi for the first time in the workshops - they seem to keep the students more interested, and add a little something to what can be "just another class" for teens.  Next up is Altamonte Christian School, in Altamonte Springs, FL - that is coming up April 15th.  Hope you enjoy the photos, and feel free to work through all our Prezis yourself at

Financial Aid FAFSA- What you need to know

What are two ways that students can develop debt before they ever even graduate college?  Student Loans and Credit Cards!  Andson could not provide Financial Education without talking about Student Loans - that is, how to avoid them.  There is a lot of information for students regarding Grants, Scholarships, and Financial Aid.  The problem is, like most other information found on the Internet provided by Government offices, it's a real pain to find, and even harder to apply for.

With that, we decided that a main part of our site will be dedicated to collecting information on Grants, Scholarships, and Financial Aid.

First, you MUST get started with the FAFSA form  This is required for many schools, and for any chance of qualifying for government financial aid, and many private programs require a FAFSA filing as well.  FAFSA is the US Dept of Education's Federal Student Aid program.  This form should be your starting point.  In other words, fill this out first!  Assuming your parents are helping you with the filing process (and you're under 18) you will need the following from your parents:

Collect the documents needed to apply, including

  • Income tax returns and W-2 forms (and other records of income) Tax return not completed at the time you apply?  Estimate the tax information, apply, and finalize information later. The important thing is to meet the earliest deadline.
  • Your Social Security number and your parents’ Social Security numbers if you are providing parent information.
  • Your Alien Registration Number if you are not a U.S. citizen.
  • Federal tax information or tax returns, including W-2 information, for yourself, for your spouse if you are married, and for your parents if you are providing parent information, using income records for the year prior to the academic year for which you are applying.
  • Information on savings, investments, and business assets for yourself (and parents if you're providing parent information).

Here is the complete Dept. of Education's Checklist for students

Filling this out won't take long, but it doesn't mean you're done either...Andson will be gathering more information on Grants, Scholarships, and Financial Aid for students in the next few days.  The deadlines are coming up quickly, so expect to see a lot of information from us and a new category for Financial Aid on our site.

ATTENTION!  View Deadlines FAFSA filings at

CashCourse by NeFe - brush up, or get an idea of what the program is about.

NeFe is the premier financial education resource out there, and what Andson chooses to use for our workshops.  We just discovered this amazing resource by NeFe called CashCourse.  Basically, it takes the key ideas from their materials and puts them into an interactive web format that may be more accessible to Internet savvy teens.


We didn't want to just post it in the "Helpful Resources," section of our site, but it will be there for easy access as well.


If you've taken the course via Andson or otherwise, this is a great way to brush up on your financial skills.  If you haven't, this is a great way to see what it's all about.  Keep in mind, the course gives some great insight and some one-on-one time with instructors, so this isn't a complete replacement by any means.

Completing the NeFe program could score you $5000 toward college!

Attention Students!


If you ever doubted what the Andson's financial education could get you, doubt no more! We use the materials supplied by NeFe (The National Endowment for Financial Education), and they just announced that just by completing the HSFPP (High School Financial Planning Program) students may be eligible for up to $5000 in college scholarships.

This is an amazing opportunity for many teens, and we hope that some of the students completing the program with Andson over Spring Break will apply.

Contact Andson for more details -

via NeFe's Facebook

Khan Academy is changing the way we learn.

A friend just recently introduced me to - in a nutshell, Sal Khan is on a mission to educate the world through his short lessons.  There is a tier structure that he uses - you need to complete A before proceeding to B.  His current goal is to complete basic to advanced mathematics.  I have already contacted Khan Academy, and hope that in the future we may be able to assist with a Personal Finance section on the site.

What really gets me excited about this methodology and concept is that there is a huge barrier to teachers reaching students through traditional methods. Parents and Teachers alike often complain of teens' attention spans - which may be in part to the bombarding of media and instant gratification. Sal Khan doesn't worry about this - instead he decided to approach teaching from a method that DOES work. The truth is, attention spans of adults and students alike are getting shorter; this means methodologies must change. We've seen this in everything from coffee to advertising to shopping, even banking - but education as a model remains wholly unchanged for the better half of a century.

Check out what he is about in this video - it's absolutely a revolution in thinking about the way people will be educated in the future.

I'll be working through the banking sections. Since it's Open Source information - Khan Academy has no problem with me linking to their videos and resources, so plan to see more from them here in the future.

Source: Khan Academy

Students! Are you ready? U.S. News & World Report hints that some high school students may not be.

The September 2010 issue of U.S. News & World Report takes a heavy focus on college in 2010. Let’s be honest- this is not the best time in our Nation’s history to be attending college; budget cuts and unemployment aren’t helping, and students are going to be the ones to suffer. What may be even more disturbing than the budget cuts to our major universities, however, is the quality of student attempting to attend. Students are not coming in with the preparation and analytical ability they once had. Carol Frey writes in her article “Crash Course in Preparedness,” Many students are arriving on campus with few tools to succeed. Of the high school students in the class of 2009 who took the ACT test, for example, fewer than one quarter met each of the benchmarks for college readiness in math, science, English, and reading. Just over a quarter met none of them. The cause? This is a harder one to determine. Frey suspects it is from a lack of quality reading: books that give an analytical approach, essentially taking the reader through the motions of forming an argument and actually seeing it through. More and more often, students are citing Wikipedia instead of scholarly journals- a possible sign that all this fast access to information may be moving students to be poorer thinkers than in previous years of entering freshman. The internet is an amazing resource, but that doesn’t mean students don’t need the classics that parents and older siblings were exposed to. Furthermore, some students are needing full refresher courses in the core classes such as math, reading, and even science. It is suggested that students begin brushing up on these topics during the summer before their freshmen year of college, so they enter their undergraduate studies at the level they’re supposed to. With more and more colleges turning away perfectly good students, it will be important for all those applying to be prepared- and we’re not talking about cool laptops and tons of ramen noodles! Read article: A Crash Course in College Preparedness via U.S. News & World

PASS by American Express – A new way to give teens their allowance…

It is a wonderful feeling to be able to give your kids an allowance or spending money. It’s a little less wonderful trying to figure out how they spend your hard earned cash. PASS by American Express is trying to help both parents and teens by providing a reloadable credit card/atm card that you can give to your teens.

This card is a wonderful idea!  One, it allows both parents and teens to track spending habits, and gets them into an adult mentality of handling their money: balancing their account, being more aware of their spending, amongst others.  For parents, it provides all the safety that an American Express credit card gives, such as fraud prevention and 24 hour a day customer service; better than that- kids cannot overspend.  No more worries about sending a teen away to college with the family credit card- now you can give them a limit that cannot be exceeded.  Parents can fund the card by linking their bank account, and only they can authorize more funds to be added.

The card is also hip.  It may seem silly, but kids like a tailored experience when they go online – it keeps them engaged.  American Express has done an awesome job of trying to keep the site and the card very much about teens.  Teens will have their own login, and can monitor spending and balances- much like the typical online banking experience.  The card comes in a variety of colors and you can even add your own images to the card for free.

Now for some of the Cons.  The card, like most other credit card products, does come with fees.  It costs $3.95 per month to use the card (though those fees are waived for a year if you sign up now) as well as $1.50 per atm transaction (the bank may also charge a fee for using their atm).  Now although the costs are minimal in comparison to ever having an over-the-limit fee on a credit card, they still are monthly fees amounting to nearly $50 per year- similar to the annual cost of a credit card.  It seems like the card is also better suited for an emergency atm card, or the occasional withdrawal, versus using it as many use bank-issued atm cards – those fees can add up!

There are also a few states that the card cannot be issued in:

The PASS Card is not available for sale in Arkansas, New Hampshire and Vermont. The PASS Card is also not available in California at this time. Cards purchased by residents in other states cannot be shipped to these four states. In addition, American Express does not sell or ship the Card outside the United States.


More information is supplied in the PASS FAQ section of the site

Overall, I feel that if parents can afford the fees, the PASS by American Express could be a great learning tool to get kids to care about their finances in a more responsible manner rather than simply giving them cash each week.

Source: PASS by American Express PASS by American Express FAQ