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Stephanie Neely Headshot

Money Smart Week Chicago 2010

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When I was elected City Treasurer in 2007, I set the goal of one day reaching every Chicago Public School student with a city-wide financial education program. Last year we started working on achieving this goal through a partnership with Chicago Public Schools and Money Savvy Generation. This year we are moving even closer to having a citywide financial literacy curriculum.

As part of my Financial Education Initiative for Students and their Families, on one day during Money Smart Week, nearly 100,000 students will spend their library time learning about basic budgeting. The curriculum focuses on the choices we all have for our money, to save, donate, spend wisely, and to invest for the future.

While this may be an extraordinary number, the real story is the impact this education will have on the lives of these 100,000 students. I know the money management skills I have taught my own son will play a significant role in his success later in life. With this program, 100,000 students will set short-term goals for the money they save and set long-term goals for the money they invest. Older students will also learn how to work with a budget and manage a checking account.

This message will also be going home to parents and guardians. The K-4 students in this initiative will show their families what they learned in class, and these family members will set short and long-term goals alongside their students. Often parents and children set similar savings goals such as a house and college. Students who set goals with their parents are entered into a classroom raffle for a special piggy bank that is divided into four chambers, to save, spend, donate and invest.

This program will ultimately contribute to each student becoming a stronger citizen, each family a healthier financial unit and the communities that these families live in, stronger for the education these 100,000 students received that day in class. This initiative has the potential to radically change our money habits that will make us more financially responsible.

I challenge readers to take a moment and consider the over 450 money management courses and events being offered by The Chicago Federal Reserve and their partners during Money Smart Week throughout the Chicago Land Area. Share this information with friends and family and please commit to attending at least one of these opportunities. The cost to you is your time; the payback is a brighter future.