Smart Money Class


The Smart Money Class is a 10-session class designed specifically for young adults who want to know how to handle real money in the real world to achieve real independence.

There’s no way around the fact that managing money is one of the most important and least addressed skills of adult life. In fact, the ability to manage money is almost as important as the ability to make money. It is one of the key skills a youth needs to acquire to be truly independent and successful in life. One of the things most young adults say after graduating from high school and having to deal with making, saving and spending money is "Why didn't someone teach me how this stuff works sooner?" Well this is your chance.

By 18 years old if a youth has not acquired some basic financial literacy skills (things they know about and things they can actually do), they will struggle with money and with becoming independent. This class is designed to give them that foundation in a way that is fun and realistic and let’s them earn valuable prizes for participation.

Among other things, it covers

  • Budgeting and managing money to make ends meet

  • How banking works (both online and in person)

  • Plastic money: credit cards and debit cards

  • Insurance

  • Savings and Investing

  • Credit and debt

  • Planning and financial goal-setting for the things you want out of life

  • Contracts

  • Roommates and apartment living

What teens usually want to know: What’s in it for me?

You’ll work with a mentor to develop your own financial plan for independence. You’ll learn (by playing interactive games and using real world examples) about work and expenses and budgets and savings. You’ll learn how to avoid scams and overdraft charges and how to protect your money. You’ll earn “Smart Money” bucks as you go that can be traded in for valuable prizes and gift cards. Participants in recent programs have earned laptop computers, tablets, headphones, digital still and video cameras, sports equipment, and valuable gift cards. Everyone earns something, but the more you participate, the more you get back—just like real life.

Hosting a Session

We provide this program to human services agencies and non-profit agencies serving at-risk populations. This is a 10-week program that meets once a week for 2 hours per class. Part of what makes the program successful is volunteer mentors who work with the youth in each class. For that reason this class is usually scheduled based on mentor availability. This program works best with groups of 20 youth at a time. There is a small amount of homework between each session and youth are expected to prepare a financial plan for a goal of their choosing and present it at graduation.