Money Boot Camp

Course teaches financial literacy to students

From left, Marquette’s Bella and Keerin Glendon, ages 12 and 15, take part in Thursday’s “Money Crunches Boot Camp” at the Marquette County Michigan State University Extension office in Negaunee. Topics such as credit and budgets were discussed in an interactive way. (Journal photo by Christie Mastric)

NEGAUNEE — 4-H involves more than blue ribbons at county fairs. Creating a template for a secure financial lifestyle is another goal.

The Michigan 4-H Career Exploration Workforce Preparation Team hosted the “Money Crunches Boot Camp” on Wednesday and Thursday at the Marquette County Michigan State University Extension Office at 184 U.S. 41 East in Negaunee, with participants taking part remotely throughout the state.

The free camp was geared toward youths entering eighth through 10th grades in the fall.

It wasn’t a boot camp in the strictest physical sense, but the youngsters used hands-on activities with “financial fitness” coaches simulcast to each camp location.

Liana Pepin, Marquette County 4-H program coordinator and Extension educator, led the local event in Negaunee.

“Our young people are learning about financial literacy,” Pepin said. “They’re participating in different activities, learning the importance of keeping their information safe, understanding the difference between wants and needs, identifying how to purchase something.”

Learning personality traits was another goal.

“Do they spend? Are they thrifty?” she said.

Thursday’s session involving the participants creating budgets for themselves and understanding the concept of “rent to own” versus purchasing an item outright, and comprehending how “huge” interest rates can play a part in the overall purchase, Pepin said.

This can help the young adults think about how they’re using their money, she said.

Laurie Rivetto, a 4-H Extension educator based in downstate Wayne County, mentioned money habits of millionaires, which might surprise a few people.

“Seventy percent of people who get a large sum of money at one time lose it within a few years,” she said.

However, she noted that most millionaires work over 45 hours a week and don’t shop in high-end stores, and only one in four drive “impressive” cars.

“Most of the time, millionaires actually shop where ‘ordinary people’ shop, non-millionaires shop,” Rivetto said. “They use coupons. They use the discounts. They try to get the sales. They do the same things to save money.”

She mentioned these facts to get a point across.

“Being a millionaire is not about the things we have, but about the money that we’re able to accumulate based on the wise decisions,” Rivetto said.

Participants learned about various financial strategies through interactive learning activities and games.

One of the games involved the youngsters slicing a virtual pie, which had seven pieces, each representing a way they would spend their money as part of the pie. Choices included random spending for fun, spontaneous purchases, saving, travel and making home improvements.

With this activity, they could see visually how their money is being spent.

The program was sponsored through a grant by the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs.

According to the Financial Health Network’s 2020 U.S. Financial Health Pulse, a majority of Americans 67% — are not financially healthy, and although this number is an improvement over the 71% who reported struggling in 2019 with some or all aspects of their financial lives, it is expected that the COVID-19 pandemic will significantly impact the financial well-being for many, MSU Extension said.

Bella Glendon, 12, of Marquette, took part in the “Money Crunches Boot Camp.”

“We’ve been learning how to save money, and what needs and wants are.”

What she picked up in the event should make her financial future easier.

“It’ll help me not want to spend it all at once, and plan to save it,” Glendon said.

Christie Mastric can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250. Her email address is cbleck@miningjournal.net.


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