This week’s blogger is Clara Reynen, a sophomore at Burlington High School. On Thursday, April 24, 2014, Clara and her fellow classmates were honored with a certification ceremony after completing the Iowa Financial Literacy Program. During the ceremony Clara gave a speech about her experience with the program to her peers and other attendees. Clara’s message can be read below.
Graduating high school without a basic grasp of financial literacy is like jumping into a pool without knowing how to swim. I think we all know that neither is a secure or safe idea.
Before taking the Iowa Financial Literacy Program through Everfi, I only had a slight inkling of what the real world of money would entail, and that terrified me. I knew that I would have to pay for college, but I didn’t how I would even approach the subject. I hoped to live in a house someday, but I had never considered renting anything other than an apartment. As I looked to the future the thought of owning a credit card and using it responsibly made me want to crawl into my bed and watch Netflix for a day or two.
When I started the Iowa Financial Literacy Program, I expected to read paragraph after paragraph of boring and outdated information about how to file taxes and find the smart way out of college debt. Instead, I was presented with bright visuals and current information that allowed me to learn all about how to be smart in the future. I learned that there is such thing as good debt, which completely surprised me — student loans secure a better future and a higher salary, and if I act responsibly, I can earn money in the end. The program has taught me how to be comfortable with money and how to make smart financial decisions. I’m no longer scared of the future. I know that regardless of where I go to school, what I major in, where I live and what I end up doing with my life, I can be a successful role model for those around me.
I would like to thank all our wonderful teachers for making the time to allow us to learn about something so crucial and important, something that will only allow us to further our education. Midwest One Bank has also been incredibly generous, sponsoring the program and sending in bank employees to talk to us on almost a weekly basis. Lastly, I want to encourage all of my classmates to remember everything that the Iowa Financial Literacy Program through Everfi has taught us, so that the Class of 2016 can be a prosperous one.