Educators Talk Money, Improve Student Financial Literacy

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EDINBURG - Nearly 200 educators attended an event this week to talk about money. Moolah Palooza, a one day event, was designed for helping students learn how to make wise choices in their financial future.

Education specialist with Region One ESC, Melissa Lopez, said the Gear Up program prepared students for college with financial aid, but lacked in other areas.

"One thing that we learned, especially at our service centers, is that we were teaching our students, sending them off to college, making sure that they were financially prepared as far as financial aid, but then we were learning that when it came to budgeting, managing their money, saving for their future that was something that we lacked in," she said.

Peter Bielagus is a financial author and speaker. He attended the event to teach educators how to bring up the sometimes uncomfortable topic of finances.

"Sadly many parents don't want to talk about it or they don't really know what to say because they never had any formal financial training. Sometimes it is the teacher that is literally the only person in a student's life that is going to be the one introducing them to the financial world otherwise it's going to be a salesperson," said Bielagus.

Educators will walk away with a toolbox of the lessons learned at the event. They’ll be able to use these to instill smart saving and spending habits in students K-12. By the time a student graduates college, they’ll understand what a loan is, how interests work, how to avoid graduating with debt and how to get the most for the price of their education

“The cost of college is already determined, but the value of college is going to be determined by the student,” said Bielagus.  

Presenters emphasized the importance of money management, saying it's a lesson that can't be learned too early.

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