How Childhood Financial Education is Changing Lives with Jeremy Race

How Childhood Financial Education is Changing Lives with Jeremy Race

podcast start - mind over money Apr 16, 2024

Shannon emphasizes understanding the cornerstones of financial management sets the stage for a life of empowerment and better decision-making. In today’s ever-evolving economic landscape, the absence of financial education in standard school curriculums is more than an omission—it's a critical void that, if left unaddressed, significantly hinders a young person's potential for success.

That's where individuals like Jeremy come into play, and his passion for nurturing financial savvy among the youth is nothing short of inspiring. As the leader of Junior Achievement (JA) of Southwest New England, Jeremy, with a background in teaching, has seen firsthand the profound influence that financial education can have on young minds. By collaborating with JA, Shannon has also seen the impact of this powerful education, having been a JA student herself and now, through sponsoring the Steps to Success program for youths, advocating for their financial competence.

During our discussion, Jeremy illuminated us about JA's hallmark programs, Biztown and Finance Park, ingeniously crafted to impart practical financial wisdom among 4th to 12th graders. Rather than traditional classroom lectures, these programs provide immersive, real-world experiences—where understanding credit scores and managing personal budgets become more than mere concepts, but lived experiences. Through these initiatives, young individuals gain exposure to the financial challenges of adulthood in a supportive and educational setting, ultimately crafting a generation of financially literate and responsible individuals.

And what makes JA truly remarkable is its reach and influence. Operating globally, with a presence in all 50 states and over 100 countries, JA's mission is as expansive as it is impactful. The organization is raising the bar, targeting an increase in future earnings by 20% for its students compared to their non-JA peers. These ambitions are not just numbers; they're reflective of real students like the one Jeremy shared about—a testament to how JA's instruction on budgeting and decision-making can transform behavior, improve academic performance, and set a young person on a trajectory toward college education and meaningful employment.

One poignant metaphor shared by Jeremy paints a vivid picture: Imagine handing over car keys to a 16-year-old without a single driving lesson. That’s what we do when we send our youth into the world without a fundamental understanding of financial management. Financial literacy is as crucial to navigating life as learning to drive is to navigating the roads.

Eminent figures like Mark Cuban, Sanjay Gupta, and Gene Simmons are among JA's notable alumni, illustrating the program's potential to launch success across diverse domains. Additionally, the local community's business leaders stand as pillars of support, mentoring and guiding students, much like the insightful venture Shannon undertook at a local elementary school. There, the ability of a young pupil to think entrepreneurially left an indelible impression, underscoring the innate potential children possess when provided with the right educational tools.

Getting involved with JA couldn't be more straightforward — whether as a volunteer, donor, or advocate for bringing the program to more schools. Jeremy's open invitation to meaningful engagement and Shannon's firsthand account of how even minimal time investments can manifest as significant contributions serve as a rallying call for us all. Volunteering is not just about giving back; it's about participating in the creation of a brighter future for our upcoming leaders, entrepreneurs, and citizens.

In the spirit of "Keep What You Earn," Shannon also provides a valuable resource—the "Money Pro Matchmaker" guide—for entrepreneurs to navigate the complexities of accounting and tax services. It's just one more way the podcast facilitates knowledge sharing and encourages financial autonomy.

As the conversation wrapped up, the call-to-action was clear: engage with Junior Achievement and be part of the financial literacy movement. Whether it’s leaving a podcast review or diving into the thrills of volunteer work, every action matters. Jeremy’s assurance that experiencing JA is nothing short of fulfilling, paired with Shannon's infectious enthusiasm for financial education, makes this episode a compelling invitation for all listeners to join in making a meaningful impact—one child, one lesson at a time.

Jeremy D. Race is President and CEO of Junior Achievement of Southwest New England, Inc. (JASWNE). He is responsible for the organization's sustainability, strategic direction, board development, and overall program effectiveness.

Jeremy joined JASWNE in 2002 as an Education Manager, and became President and CEO in 2016.

JA BizTown:

What you'll hear in this episode:

06:05 Helping young people achieve success through education.
09:00 Launching JA facility in downtown Hartford for kids.
12:39 Junior achievement nominated for Nobel Peace Prize.
16:04 Early exposure to financial concepts mitigates fear.
18:27 People believe, support our mission and trust.
20:21 Biztown program offers extended classroom and field trip.
23:35 Introducing kids to financial concepts makes them confident.
29:31 Prioritizing impactful conversations and meaningful student impact.
30:24 Get involved with local chapters for impact.

If you like this episode, check out:

Blue Oceans are All Around Us

Never Let Your Scarcity Show

Stop Shrinking Yourself in the Name of Saving


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The information contained in this podcast is intended for educational purposes only and is not individual tax advice. Please consult a qualified professional before implementing anything you learn.