A sampling of student artwork from this year's financial literacy contest in Oakland County, Michigan (l-r): Seoyeon Koo's Desperation to Dispense Student Loans; 10th grader Emma Mackela's New Horizons; 11th grader Christine Cho's Welcome to the Dark Side; and an unidentified student's Burning through Money. Visit https://www.oakgov.com/treasurer/Pages/Gallery18.aspx for full images.
A sampling of student artwork from this year's financial literacy contest in Oakland County, Michigan (l-r): Seoyeon Koo's Desperation to Dispense Student Loans; 10th grader Emma Mackela's New Horizons; 11th grader Christine Cho's Welcome to the Dark Side; and an unidentified student's Burning through Money. Visit https://www.oakgov.com/treasurer/Pages/Gallery18.aspx for full images.

Getting Creative with Money

As Financial Literacy Month 2018 in the U.S. comes to a close, we want to highlight a few more champions of youth financial education. As the KWHS Investment Competition illustrates (our Global Finale is this Saturday, May 5!), creativity, experiences and hands-on learning can be effective ways to teach money concepts and prepare high school students for making better decisions about their money.

So, for this story we turn to the U.S. state of Michigan – more specifically, Oakland County, where for the past seven years county treasurer Andy Meisner has run a Financial Literacy Multimedia Art Contest for high school students. Winners earn college scholarships and the chance to have their work displayed in the treasurer’s office. The champions here are local government, educators and students, all coming together to embrace the importance of financial skills.

Michigan is one of several states in the U.S. that require students to learn about personal finance before they graduate. Michigan students must take a half-year economics course in order to earn their diplomas. Meisner’s contest takes those lessons to an entirely new level as students find creative ways to convey the underlying messages of financial education through different mediums like drawings, photographs, water color paintings and videos.

Promoting financial literacy and education is a personal passion and primary focus of Meisner’s office. “Now more than ever, our students must be equipped with the financial literacy skills they need to control their finances, instead of their finances controlling them,” Meisner said. “My hope is that students can use their favorite art form to think in new ways about money and finances, and that we can increase awareness of this critical area.”

This year, 24 students from nine different high schools won $9,500 in scholarship money. The grand prize winners who received $1,000 each (art from who is featured in the montage image at the top of the page) included Seoyeon Koo, a 9th grader from Rochester Adams High School who created a 2-D colored pencil drawing titled “Desperation to Dispense Student Loans;” Emma Mackela, a 10th grader from Lake Orion High School who created “New Horizons,” a 2-D colored pencil drawing; 11th grader Christine Cho of Rochester Adams High School who created “Welcome to the Dark Side,” also a 2-D colored pencil drawing; and finally, Olivia Barone, a senior at Stoney Creek High School with her video digital artwork, “Don’t Bet on Jet.” Student loans, debt, credit reports, savings: these concepts are all expressed in creative and compelling ways. #LetsTalkMoney

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Conversation Starters

Does your town do something similar to this contest to promote financial literacy? Tell us about the creative ways you are learning about money in the comments section of this article.

What do you consider the most important financial issues facing young people?

Do you ever talk about money in your household? How do your parents discuss money with you? Do they avoid it? How might you start the conversation at home?

17 thoughts on “Getting Creative with Money

  1. Me and family do talk about money sometimes, depending on the situation were are at the moment, they don’t say much too me about though. Whenever they discuss money with me its always just about how i can earn it from them about and how much, they don’t really talk to me about bills and stuff like that.I don’t think they avoid it, am just not interested in knowing bout bills and stuff like that yet, But some day i could ask them how it works.

    1. Student debt and loans are big financial issues students are dealing with currently. My parents discuss money at home through their taxes, and work.

  2. my family taught me the value of money at a normal age. Although, as a family we do not like to talk much about money, I have spoken seriously with my family about what would happen if we have economic problems. My father also introduced me to different aspects of money and how to handle it correctly.

  3. I consider the most important financial issue that young people face is saving money and using it irresponsibly. As young people, we are not prepared to save the money we make and use it to pay for our necessities. Young people are used to spending their parents’ money and using it for whatever they want. When it gets to the point where we don’t have endless money it becomes an issue.

  4. My town doesn’t do anything creative projects to take about finance and financial issues, however in my school we have a financial program. In this financial program we learn about handling money, as well as financial jobs.

    The biggest issue relating to finances that face young people is the overall education of how to handle money. Young people these days are not properly educated on how the financial system works, as well as how to properly budget their finances overall.

    In my family, we discuss finances. My parents believe in keeping me educated on our financial situation in order to understand the importance of money, and that is it important to always save money, not spend it all right away.

  5. I consider the most important financial issue that faces young people to be debt. Most students take out loans to help pay for their college tuition and other related expenses: textbooks, meal plans, housing, etc. But, after college is over, they struggle to repay their loans. As the years go by, the costs of their loans increase because of interest. In addition, there are many new costs that arise after graduation. Such as an apartment or place to live, utility bills, transportation, and food. For many young people fresh out of college, finding a stable job that offers a living wage is difficult due to their lack of experience. As a result, the expenses rack up while they don’t even have a stable source of income.

  6. It my city there aren’t many things like finance projects but in my school we have deca which has to do with this sort of thing.
    One of the biggest problem is that many young people of have to much money and they don’t know what to with it and it’s because they are just uneducated. My parents inform me how money should be spent according to necessities first instead of pleasure plus my mom is a financial analyst so I’m pretty sure she knows a few things about how to handle money.

    1. In school they should have more classes to do with money and how to properly save and invest your money in things that could help you in the long run. By learning this at a younger age it could help us pay off debts easier, and help us to know its better to save rather then to spend.

    2. I agree many young people have a lot of money and they just use their money on their wants and not save it for when they really need it. Many young people don’t really save their money they just use it on whatever will pleasure them and when they need the money badly they won’t have any because they were not smart with handling their money.

  7. My town does not necessarily do much to promote financial literacy, but there are many ways that my town teaches about money. For example, school clubs like DECA focus on many business topics, including finance. Financial information is more common in school nowadays.

    In my opinion the most important financial issue facing young people is how to use money and what to spend it on. Usually, young people spend their money and goods rather than needs, for personal reasons. This will affect them when they are older because they will not know how to properly budget their money and allocate it to the necessary areas.

    My family and I talk about many topics, including money. The things we say about money include jobs that any of the kids could get for money, how much things cost, or international financial issues. My parents do like to discuss money with me. I might start a conversation about money at home by introducing the main topic, then going into the financial view of it.

  8. My town doesn’t really do much to promote financial literacy unless you specifically take classes about finances. My school does offer options to take finance and other business classes which I take to prepare myself for the future. I consider the economy the most pressing financial issue facing young people today. We don’t really talk much about money in my household but I could promote talking about money more by trying to take a more active role in attempting to understand my family’s finances.

  9. My town doesn’t directly promote financial literacy, however, in the school, we have the opportunity to take classes in the field of finance. The classes are extremely helpful and interesting. In addition, we get a chance to participate in competitions with more than 50 types of events to improve our skills in the real world. A creative way to learn about money is by participating in competitions, starting small businesses, and learning in school.
    I believe that the most important financial issues facing young people are the accumulation of debts, which can follow them to the rest of their lives if they don’t know how to handle it.
    As a mature 16 years old, I have talked a lot about money in my household. I’m always very curious in subjects involving taxes, credit, and saving money. We discuss it regularly and naturally. I normally start the conversation due to the fact that I’m about to start a small business and I want to learn the most from my family. They give me pieces of advice and strategies to avoid certain problems in the future.

  10. My town doesn’t do anything similar to this contest to promote financial literacy. However, DECA classes are offered at my school in which programs for finances are offered.

    In my opinion, debt is the most important financial issue facing young people, due to being financially illiterate. Because of their financial illiteracy they are not able to properly manage their money in a way that is beneficial to them.

    My mom and I often talk about money. My mom sees it fit that I know about our financial situation, and sees me as mature enough to understand what she is saying. I also see it as important to know of these things because through these talks, I am gaining experience without even participating myself.

  11. My town does not do similar things to promote financial literacy. At our schools there are DECA business classes offered, where students can learn about finance, including a whole class about it called “Personal Finance”.

    The most important financial illiteracy that the youth face is how to spend money responsibly. Many kids get money and burn it right away, just because they were given the opportunity to. They do not save as much as they should.

    We do talk money in my house, as my parents came from unprivileged backgrounds where they had to work hard to get to where they are now. They always explain to me why spending money wisely is important, and show great examples of how some people we know got broke. These talks have helped me spend my money in better ways and prepare for the future.

  12. My family discuss about money, and financial issues all the time. My dad specifically aims for me to understand the basics of maintaining a stable financial base. We talk about saving money, budgeting, ways to conserve for what we need more than what we want. This all in part will transcend to helping me in the future in college, and when trying to build a family of my own.

  13. It is good that students are learning to be in control of their money instead of the other way around. Kids aren’t often taught well enough how to manage their money, but this changes the way that students can learn to maneuver as adults in the real world with money. There should be more opportunities for students like this in all schools.

  14. Does your town do something similar to this contest to promote financial literacy? Tell us about the creative ways you are learning about money in the comments section of this article.
    My city doesn’t do anything similar to this contest to promote financial literacy. However, there are many classes offered in my school relating to finances.

    What do you consider the most important financial issues facing young people?
    The most important financial issue facing young people is the early on set of debt because they don’t know how to spend their money properly. If young people learned how to use their money properly they would know when to save and spend their money.

    Do you ever talk about money in your household? How do your parents discuss money with you? Do they avoid it? How might you start the conversation at home?
    My parents and I talk about money in our household. I usually start the conversation whenever my parents are discussing money management for taxes, shopping or for the month’s rent.

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