Personal finance course is a graduation requirement at CCA.
Managing money is an essential part of daily life, yet studies have found that nearly two-thirds of Americans can’t pass a basic financial literacy test. Many people never learn to handle their finances, but CCA gives graduates the tools to avoid these issues.
“I know of some schools that don’t even offer a personal finance class,” said Jordan Burke, who teaches financial literacy at CCA. “I was happy to hear it’s a graduation requirement at CCA.”
Learning how to manage money is a key life skill that can benefit anyone. Financial Literacy Month is celebrated during the month of April to help teach Americans how to establish healthy financial habits.
Burke, a CCA teacher for two years, not only teaches the personal finance course but helped to create it. The half-year course teaches students about earning income, financial services such as banks and credit unions, money management and more. Burke has found that the class benefits more than just students.
“Some of my students come in like, ‘My mom was helping me with this homework, and she’s even learning something, too.’ ” Burke said. “So it’s not only helping these students, but the students are then teaching their parents.”
Burke offers these financial tips for students and parents:
- Start saving immediately. “It’s never too early to start saving,” Burke said. Even if you’re earning minimum wage, you can begin saving by setting aside money from each paycheck. No amount is too little, even if you can afford to save only $5 or $10 a month. It might not seem like much at the time, but it will add up.
- Start a rainy day fund. Unexpected emergencies can set you back and haunt your credit for years. That’s why Burke recommends having a rainy day fund that can cover three to six months’ worth of expenses. “You never know when something in life is going to go wrong,” Burke said. “You want to set yourself up to be able to pay it off and get out of that hole you may be in.”
- Budget your spending. If there’s one lesson Burke wants students to take from the course, it’s the importance of creating and sticking to a budget. It is easy to lose track of how much money you spend, but having a budget and sticking to it ensures you don’t overspend.
Burke’s personal finance course teaches students how a budget allows them to spend responsibly while saving for the future.
“With students, you always hear them saying, ‘Oh, I’m never going to use this!’ ” Burke said. “But with the lessons in this course, you really can take them with you to use throughout your lifetime.”