Welcome to a riveting episode of Finance Roundtable, where we reveal the secrets of personal finance and the power of financial literacy. Join us as we converse with illustrious guests - Professor Atif Ikram, Elena Zee, and Yanely Espinal- who each bring their unique insights and experiences to the table. Listen in as we unravel the mysteries of financial education and how it impacts every aspect of our lives.
Our dialogue starts with Atif Ikram, who has breathed new life into Arizona State University's personal finance course, FIN:123. Elena Zee, a tireless champion of financial education, recounts her organization’s efforts in making personal finance lessons accessible to over 300,000 Arizona students. We then switch gears, hearing from Yanely Espinal, the author of 'Mind your Money', as she candidly shares her financial journey, highlighting the critical role of financial education in her life.
We round up our discussion with a focus on the future - discussing the innovative initiative of Mission 2030 and its goal to make personal finance a high school graduation requirement in all 50 states. So, tune in to this episode of Finance Roundtable and embark on a journey to financial liberation.
Professor Atif Ikram, Elena Zee, and Yanely Espinal are not affiliated or registered with Cetera Advisor Networks LLC. Any information provided by these individuals are provided entirely on behalf of themselves and are not related to Cetera Advisor Networks LLC or its registered representatives.
Financial Advisors offering securities and advisory services through Cetera Advisor Networks LLC (doing insurance business in California as CFGAN Insurance Agency LLC), member FINRA/SIPC, a broker-dealer and Registered Investment Adviser. Cetera is under separate ownership from any other named entity. Registered address is 14850 North Scottsdale Road #255, Scottsdale, Arizona 85254.
The views depicted in this material are for information purposes only and are not necessarily those of Cetera Advisor Networks. They should not be considered specific advice or recommendations for any individual. Neither Cetera Advisor Networks nor any of its representatives may give legal or tax advice.
You're listening to Finance Roundtable, a podcast that focuses on demystifying your money. Your hosts, professor Jacob Gold, michael Koshell and Kelvin Gold, will educate and entertain you on all areas related to personal finance. Get back, relax and enjoy the show.Speaker 2:
Hello everyone, this is Professor Jacob Gold and I'd like to thank you for joining us today for a very special episode of Finance Roundtable. Today we are joined by three individuals who have devoted their professional lives to teaching our country's youth how to effectively budget, save and invest their money. First we have Atif Ekram. He is a returning guest and is a professor of finance at WP Kerry School of Business at Arizona State University. He recently revamped a course titled FIN123, which focuses on the basics of personal finance. The course is also being taught as a dual enrollment course at Camelback High School, with more schools to follow. We'll be asking him about the course curriculum and how the semester is going so far. Next we have Elaine Z, president and CEO for the non-profit Arizona Council on Economic Education. Last year, ace introduced personal finance to over 300,000 Arizona students, primarily to low to moderate income families. In addition, ace provided over 2,000 Arizona teachers professional development so they could be more effective in teaching personal finance. I'll be asking her about some of the programs ACE offers to students and I'll share with you one of my favorite programs of ACE. Last but not least, we have Yanli Espanal. Yanli just wrote her first book titled Mind your Money and is on her nationwide book tour. Her YouTube channel, miss Be Helpful, is focused on helping people make better money decisions and she has over 4 million views. I want to welcome the three of you here today and I'm excited to talk about personal finance.Speaker 3:
Excited to be here, thank you.Speaker 2:
Absolutely. Thank you, yanli. I'd love to start with you, if that's okay.Speaker 3:
Let's do it.Speaker 2:
I really enjoyed reading your book and I'd love our audience to know a little bit of your story. I know you grew up in Brooklyn and your story, I think, is going to inspire a lot of individuals and I hope that they walk away wanting to hear more about your story.Speaker 3:
Yeah well, thank you. I'm excited to hear that you enjoyed the book, because I do think that there's a lot of personal finance books out there. I've read dozens of them myself and one of the things I noticed that a lot of them felt like very dry Just lots of financial jargon, technical terms and information, but not a lot of stories. I just felt like you can't talk about money and not talk about the impact that it has and how it overlaps with some of our upbringing and cultural context, religion, our education and a lot of the experiences that we've had from childhood all the way up to our adult lives. I wanted to approach my book a little differently and think back to my life, my upbringing, my experiences, my education, my cultural and religious exposure in my home and include those stories. My book is a bit of personal finance, but also through personal stories, so that you get a little bit of both, and I think that that approach, hopefully, will make the book feel more relatable for the reader. I've had a lot of people actually write to me and say you know one of the things that your book. It just felt like you were sitting right across the table from me or like right next to me on the couch talking to me and that's like the best compliment that I could get about my book, because when you're talking about personal finance it can feel stuffy, it can feel dry, it can feel boring, and so for anybody to tell me that it feels like we're just having coffee or hanging out like great, that means you're comfortable and the tone of the book kind of. You know, I hit the nail on the head with that, hopefully. But yeah, growing up in Brooklyn. So my parents are immigrants from Dominican Republic. They didn't speak English, they didn't have any money when they came to New York City in the 80s and late 70s, early 80s, and had nine children. So right off the bat, you know, not a lot of money, not a lot of resources and a lot of mouths to feed. So we really grew up, you know, struggling financially, government assistance, free and reduced lunch schools. You know that was pretty much my experience. And then that all changed for me when I got a full scholarship to college and that you know just exposure, first of all to different families who send their kids to I mean, I went to Brown University, which is a very particular type of family that sends their kid to an Ivy League school, so very wealthy families, and that for me was kind of the first time I thought about, well, wealth disparity in our country and globally, and how, you know, different the lives that we lead are and how connected that is to money. So I tell some of those stories in the book and then talk about the passion that I have for financial education. I really believe that if I had learned about basics of money before I turned 18, that I would have handled my money very differently. I would have been better about credit card borrowing, I would have understood interest rates and loan terms and I, you know, I kind of would have had a better footing with the money choices that I was making through my early 20s and so yeah. So now the work that I do with NGPF and with my book is really just encouraging, increasing and expanding access to personal finance education for younger and younger learners.Speaker 2:
It's so wonderful. And one takeaway I had from the book is you talked about representation and I, you know, I was flying to Nashville for a conference and I was reading your book and you had this quote where you said the financial industry is Hella male, hella pale. And I just chuckled because that's me right and and if you wouldn't mind talking about the importance of representation, because I think that your book is gonna really break down barriers for individuals, individuals that maybe feel like they Didn't belong or didn't have the opportunity to hear firsthand from someone that made it on their own.Speaker 3:
Right, well, yeah, so that actually is a quote. I can't take credit for it. It comes from Berna and that she's a creator from the Bay Area, so that's where the hella comes from. She creates content on Instagram tick tock and you know a lot of other platforms, but her channel is hey Berna at hey Berna, and so she has been saying you know hella male, hella pale, for so long and you know as two brown girls in the personal finance space Are we connected at a conference and I said to her you know, I don't. I think that, like every older white man who's talking about finance is just as well-intentioned as me and you. We all have the same goal, which is to help spread financial literacy. Sure, the problem for me is when it's hella stale, it's not the pale on the male part, it's more the stale part. A lot of the content out there is just so boring. I mean, it's like you turn on a video. It's like today we're gonna talk about the difference between a mutual fund and an exchange traded fund. Do you want me to fall asleep? I think that's your goal. It must be your goal if that's how you're going to approach this topic. So I think that, yeah, the pale part, the pale part, the stale part, the male part, all the though the parts really just go to describe kind of like the mainstream financial industry have for so long it's been dominated by white males in particular, when you think about the stock market and you turn on television shows and news Segments that talk about investing and the markets up and the markets down, and you never see people of color, you never see women being the anchors for those discussions. So I think that the call for representation was really more so to say hey, why is the financial industry not more inclusive of other voices and other people who have different Experiences to also talk about these exact same topics like investing and stocks and the market? Because we could talk about these things too and we should, but it's hard for us to feel like we are Included to talk about these things, or we're welcome to talk about these things, when we don't see anyone that looks like us or talks Like us being the face of these topics. So hopefully, you know, writing a book about it and creating content online has helped other. You know little brown girls out there to say, oh, you know, she kind of talks like me, she kind of sounds like me. You know, maybe I could learn about finance, maybe I could work in finance. So really, it's just hoping to inspire more diversity within the finance space.Speaker 2:
I think you nailed it. You're doing your part to change that narrative and include everyone, because, really, personal finances, in my opinion, something that is near and dear to my heart and should be taught to everyone, and that's why we have autive here, we have a lana here, because the four of us really want to empower people through financial literacy, and and I really compliment you for your work and your effort You're in a nationwide tour right now promoting your book, and what was it like going from Starting the YouTube channel to then being inspired to write a book and now being on a national tour? You seem to be a person of just great vision. Have you always had that, that drive and that vision of where you wanted to be?Speaker 3:
Oh, I don't know if I always had the vision. I think that seeing other people do similar things led me to think oh well, if that's possible, I want to do it. Obviously, credit to others, like you know, who paved the way Tiffany, a liche, the budget Mista she was probably the first woman of color that I ever saw who called herself a financial educator. And I was like that's a thing, like I want to educate people about finances. I didn't know that you could do that. Did she publish the book? She now there's a show on Netflix that she's a part of and has a best-selling book called get smart with money or get good With money. The show on Netflix is called get smart with money, but just seeing other women seeing you know the Sally Crawt checks of the world and the Jean Chaskey's and reading those you know the books, susie Orman is like seeing all these women in the space sort of let me, let me to believe that like, hey, I could carve a little space for myself, to have a voice and to share my stories and, ultimately, just to encourage other people. So I started with YouTube and you know, back at that time was 2015, when I posted my first video and people would ask me like oh, you have a YouTube channel. Like yeah, they're like, do you do makeup tutorials? Because that at that, sure, back in 2015, the only girls you'd see posting on YouTube were makeup tutorials and truly that was really what was on the platform. So it's evolved so much now, which is great, but back at that time there just wasn't really a. You know, that wasn't a thing. So I started, really kind of one of the first channels for a young woman talking about her personal finances, and I was just very honest like this is the amount of credit card debt I have, this is how I paid it off, this is my credit score, this is what it was and this is what it is now, and here are some tips that I've learned that you could do you boost your credit Score, to improve your loan terms, to save more, to start investing. If you're the first generation of your family to learn about the stock market, it can be intimidating. So here's some resources, here's some books that I like, and I just really didn't think it was gonna lead to an audience of that side like that really took interest in it, and so I think that from the audience, naturally I started getting questions like do you do in person speaking engagements? Can you come to my church? Can you come to my college? Will you come to this convention or this conference that I'm part of and speak? So if that naturally led me to the oh, I could be a speaker, I love speaking, I could totally do this instead of just on the camera on a stage, and so that kind of led me to that. And then, speaking at all these events, people like do you have a book? Like I would love to just get your book and I'm like I don't have a book but I should have a book again. So I don't know that I would say I could credit myself for the vision. I truly do think that people who have been supporting me and following my work and encouraging me for you know, years and years, they have sort of planted seeds in my mind for Projects that I could pursue and goals that I could achieve, and so I mean I put in the work to execute it, but I can't take the credit for planting the seeds.Speaker 2:
Now also, in addition to being a social influencer and now an author, soon to be best-selling author, I predict you also work for the nonprofit next-generation personal finance. Would you mind sharing with us your mission there and what you do for them?Speaker 3:
Sure. So in 2018, I pause YouTube for a bit because I didn't know really, you know what direction I wanted to take, that I want to be a full-time youtuber and be making content all the time. I personally didn't want to do that because I really, like you know, interacting with real people and Meeting folks, like out and about and so I was like I think I kind of want to do more speaking and do something I can do social media content, but not just that. So I took some time. I went, I spent a summer in Barcelona I had just paid off that and saved up some money and I wanted to, you know, take a trip. And so I was there Reflecting, writing, thinking what I want to do, kind of career Do I want to create for myself and I got an email from somebody at ngpforg Next-gen personal finance and I said I've never heard of this group. What is this? And so I started checking out their website and they have a podcast for teachers, a blog for teachers, free curriculum for teachers, teacher training and all these different, you know, financial topics, and I was like this is amazing, how has this not been on my radar? Here I am thinking I'm out here fighting for financial literacy. And there's this entire organization with free curriculum, free teacher training. Like how is it not on my radar? But they were fairly new. It was established in 2014. So just four years in is when I found out about them, and so I just joined the podcast as a guest. Much like this conversation. I just joined with the co-host, who was the founder of NGPF, tim Maranzetta, who was hosting the podcast, and so I jumped onto the podcast with him and we had an interview much like this one. I was talking about my YouTube channel and the work that I was doing and why I chose to leave the classroom and my passion for financial literacy education. And a couple weeks later I got an email and Tim said I just can't get that conversation out of my mind. That podcast conversation. It's like playing over and over again and your passion is just so palpable. What can we do? How can we work together? And I was like I don't know what could we do. So we started throwing around ideas. Well, we could do teacher trainings in person, we could do student workshops, we could create a new series for current events, topics that teachers care about. We just kind of threw a bunch of ideas at the board and some of them stuck and we actually are still doing them today. So Finkab Friday is a mini series that I do every Friday. A quick video and a quiz comes out. Many teachers across the country use it in their personal finance or financial literacy or economics classes, and then from there we said, ok, let's go ahead and create a role where I get to kind of do a little bit of all these things Teacher training so currently because since COVID we've been doing mostly remote instruction, so I currently teach advanced investing and cryptocurrency basics of five weeks, two hours a week, so 10 hours of coursework, and then the teachers complete an exam to become certified in that topic. So it became sort of this role that we created for me to join the team. And now it's years later, from 2018 to now, five years in the role, and it's kind of changed a little bit, but really it's ultimately me doing curriculum development and creating a series every week for teachers to use in the classroom and teacher training as well as advocacy. So in 2021, ngpf created another affiliated organization called the Mission 2030 Fund, and that organization has the same mission as NGPF, which is to see a future where, by the year 2030, every state in America has a graduation requirement for personal finance.Speaker 2:
That'd be great.Speaker 3:
That'd be amazing. So when I started working at NGPF, it was 2018. There were five states with a graduation requirement. Now, in 2023, there are 23 states. So we've more than quadrupled the number of states that have a high school graduation requirement for a full semester of personal finance, which is amazing progress in a short time. But we got a long way to go and we're trying to get this done by 2030. So we really just sort of put a stake in the ground and said we can't just advocate, we can't just be champions of it, we can't just train the teachers and get everybody excited about it. There needs to be legislative work done. So with Mission 2030 Fund, an affiliated organization, I work as an advocate, so I actually get to meet with state leaders. I get to meet with senators and representatives both on the House and Senate side who are passionate about education. I get to meet with Department of Education leaders, folks from teachers unions, folks from bankers leagues, folks from small business commission I mean credit unions. There's just so many leaders in every state's a little different, but everyone cares so much about financial literacy and so it's really just trying to get folks to support a bill and actually get that introduced, get enough support behind it legislatively so that it can then become a law and get signed by the governor. So we've been involved in many states over 20 states so far and that's kind of pushed us from 5 to 23. And hopefully fingers crossed Arizona will be one of the states that has this requirement, if not in 2024, then maybe 2025. But there's a lot of states right now that they're so close and there's a lot of passion and a lot of energy and leadership that supports the idea. But the idea is one thing and the actual bill language is another. So that's kind of been a lot of my work over the past two to three years, which has been amazing, because it's like a new world for me to learn how things work in the legislature and how to get a bill signed into law. I mean, as a kid I remember watching, like I'm just, a bill on Capitol Hill schoolhouse robbery, which was the only context that I had for how the law-making process in our country works, and so to go from that to being part of the actual process, to get laws signed that require financial literacy education is amazing, because as a student I never got any classes about money or banking or budgeting, investing, credit, taxes, insurance, anything, and so it's wild to me that we can go in this country from kindergarten all the way up through my master's degree and never once get a class about money. So hopefully we only have to say that for a few more years and then never again.Speaker 2:
So, drew, and you think about the big context, how is personal finance not more important than calculus Exactly For every student, for?Speaker 3:
every student. That's the key right. Because some students are going to say but I want to become a mathematician and calculus is so important and that's fine. For a subset of students, calculus should be an elective. But, for every student. Personal finance is such a critical topic Because, whether you go to college or not, you will get a paycheck and you need to know how to make strategic choices with that money. So, yeah, I'm with you on that.Speaker 2:
I tell all my students that they will use everything I teach them in the semester for the rest of their life, whereas many classes as soon as you take the test, as soon as you're done, you just flush it right. But this is so important. It's going to improve your relationships, it can create opportunities for your children, for yourself, and it is amazing in this day and age that not all 50 states have a requirement.Speaker 3:
So good for you for doing that and championing that let's, you know, fingers crossed, let's hope we can get to all 50 by 2030. We'll see, absolutely.Speaker 2:
Well, and to your right and your left, elena and Atif, they're doing their part as well to just really promote financial literacy. And I'd love to turn it to you, atif, for a moment and I'd mentioned, starting out the podcast, that you revamped, a course at ASU, fin123. Would you mind sharing with that, as well as sharing with our audience what is dual enrollment?Speaker 4:
Yeah, absolutely, although I've got to tell you that it's not going to be nearly as exciting or high energy, as some of the podcast man. I was just basking in this energy and just getting inspired. I don't know if you could tell, I was just smiling and wondering, wow, this is amazing and good for you. I mean, you know it's not nearly, you know what I'm doing is not nearly as much, but still, you know one can yes, you get inspired by this. And so Fin123, this is a one credit course at ASU on financial literacy, and the course used to exist before, but we wanted to revamp it. The idea was just provide basic financial education which is current, what students can relate to. So in the Department of Finance we did a couple of things. We first said, ok, it shouldn't be just one person who should teach it, let's get people from different areas of expertise and got it. And so you know that you've talked about some of the stuff in there. I talked about some stuff in there. We got some other people, and so, first of all, it was sort of an all hands on deck sort of like OK, let's get each person who has special expertise in their areas and talk about different aspects, be it budgeting, be it taxes. We had somebody in accounting who was expert in taxes coming in. Hey, this, I'm going to tell you all about accounting, the tax side and the W-2s and all of that. And so that was one thing. The other thing we wanted to do not just teachers, but practitioners, financial planners, people who talk to clients on a day to day basis you please come in, talk about some of the things that you experience in the real world, because students this day and age they're like OK, enough of the bookish stuff, tell me what happens in the real world. And so we had financial planners come in, certified debt counselors, for example, come in and talk about this is stuff that you need to avoid. Credit card debt, student debt, all that we had somebody from financial aid office at ASU talk about. All be careful about taking on student debt. It can be good. It can be bad as well. You need to put some thinking on it. Students sometimes say, oh, student debt sign, that's it, walk away. Oh, everything's going to work out, fingers crossed. No, you've got to put thought into what you're going to be using that for. It can be a good investment or not. So you have to think about that. So we did all that and, from an instructional design perspective, then we made it so that students go through quizzes and mini cases and all these different ways in which we ensure that you get exactly what the absolute basics of financial education. So we talk about risk management, we talk about debt management, we talk about saving and investment. You have something as basic as savings. People say, oh OK, I'll put some money aside. There are different ways you can save depending on what your goals are. There are CDs, there are money market funds, there are high yield saving accounts, there are regular saving sounds it just depends. So we talk about all of that. And then the dual enrollment part which we are really really excited about is that this course is being offered as part of economics classes, just like you were talking about. In economics classes, students have to do, at the high school level, a portion in personal finance, and at Camelback High School, students are now using that content to cover the financial literacy portion, and then they get a lot of money after they've completed the course. They get one credit hour which they can use to come to college and they'll have basically earned credit. And so we're basically trying to do two things First, promote financial education, but then saying, hey, you know what you might want to actually do college as well, because, hey, you already earned a credit, you can do it. You can do it Exactly. That's the idea.Speaker 5:
That it's just a powering.Speaker 4:
Absolutely, and so that's sort of the idea and so we're really, really excited about it. Hopefully we can make some positive impact across multiple schools going forward.Speaker 2:
It was great to be a part of it, and so the semester's going well right now, absolutely.Speaker 4:
So it's a seven and a half week course. So we just finished the first semester. So the reviews are now going to start coming in. We're going to see how we actually did.Speaker 5:
Yeah fingers crossed.Speaker 4:
But we're feeling very excited about it, and Fall B has just started and so new batch of students is going to take it and so far so good. This was the first time that we did so many changes to this course. It's not going to be 100%, but we're excited about the feedback that we're going to receive and we're going to continue to revamp it. And, yeah, excited about it. It's so wonderful.Speaker 2:
Thank you Well and Elena, the president and CEO of Arizona Council of Economic Education, otherwise known as ACE. Now at ASU I teach a program that is somewhat near and dear to my heart from ACE, and that's the stock market game. Would you mind sharing with us a little bit what ACE does for students, for teachers, and some of the programs that you rolled out to help students really learn, and also Rockonomics? I love Rockonomics. If you wouldn't mind talking a little bit about that.Speaker 5:
Great. Oh, it's so fun to be with both of you and Jacob. Thank you very much. So ACE was actually founded in the 1970s by a group of teachers. At that time, financial literacy was not even heard of, and these wise teachers just thought it's such an important life skill, why isn't it being taught at schools? So they figure out a very clever way to develop engaging lessons so that teachers can use it in their history class, in their math class to teach. And so we started doing workshops for 10 teachers at a time and over the years, through word of mouth, it has grown and we have a network of 12,000 teachers who, in Arizona, use our services regularly. And we are in the study of finance and economics. So maximizing the value of every dollar our generous donors give us is super important to us. So we do that by empowering teachers, who have this multiply effect, impacting hundreds of thousands of students every year, and by partnering with nonprofits, universities and school districts so that we make our programs as free and accessible as possible to all students. And some of the programs we understand students learn differently. And to Yanali's point, how do we make this boring concept interesting, exciting? So we try to meet students where they are. Some of them learn through arts, through music, through activities, through games. So we have programs like the Rockonomics, using music for students to demonstrate what they learned. Our personal finance challenge for these high achieving students. They really want to compete in a quiz bowl, fashion and fast thinking and Stock Market Game. Yes, it is for students to. It's a simulation, it's not real life, but they are researching real companies with real stock information. And we pair that with Invest Right, which is an essay competition. So for students to develop critical thinking skills, how do they put this portfolio together with the long term investing girl in mind? And it is amazing. Teachers would tell us things like this kid in my class and he just doesn't get it. He doesn't see why he has to study math. But with Stock Market Game he becomes so engaged. Now he's improving in math and he can see the connection between investing, he wants to make money and he needs to do well in math. So we meet the students where they are and we know that the most efficient way maximizing the value of every dollar from our donors is truly by empowering the teachers. Give them the resources and how to teach the concept in a most engaging, fun, efficient way With very limited time. Speaking of requirements to teach personal finance, we don't have enough time to talk about what that requirement should look like. A lot of time it is competing for that time. We want to have enough time to teach all of the concepts, and so that is. A time is a scarce commodity, and so something that we are advocating for.Speaker 2:
It's wonderful Going back to Rockonomics. I was a judge maybe two, three years ago and what's so great about Rockonomics is a class will take a pop song and then they make a music video and they use the lyrics of economic terms and some of these kids and what they come up with and they get all dressed up and they do these boy band dances. It was the most fun thing to judge and I could tell these kids really connected with these economic terms. So ACE definitely keeps it fun and it's just a great environment for kids to learn and I really compliment all your work. Now, how long have you been with ACE, elena?Speaker 5:
Well, 10 years in my role as the president and CEO, and prior to that, I was a volunteer board member for two years and I used to work in the financial services industry and changed my career, and the rest was history. It's wonderful.Speaker 2:
Well, I think that the four of us all have, I think, a lot in common, but I think the four of us recognize the importance of financial education and I often tell my kids I'm not very handy around the house, but where I can make a difference in society is educating people, demystifying money and helping them understand how to make money a tool to get you to where you want to be. Money's not going to bring you happiness, but it does create opportunities and I really compliment the three of you on your different journeys and your different paths and I just really appreciate all that you guys are doing. And, janelle, what's the next thing on your list? I mean YouTuber. You've written a book. You work for the nonprofit, next Gen Personal Finance. You being a woman of vision. What else is on your docket?Speaker 3:
Oh man, there's so much that I want to do. I honestly like I think that ultimately, the piece that for me, keeps me up at night about financial literacy is making sure that it's culturally relevant, and so I think I want to tackle that, like at some point, thinking about how can a teacher take any lesson plan or any materials that's really engaging, that they're excited about, and make sure that it relates to the specific students that they're serving. And that could be as easy as you know differentiating a particular lesson or activity or changing parts of the lesson or activity to resonate with the students. You know, like when I was a third grade teacher, I I would go home and watch SpongeBob For hours. I would just, you know, while I'm grading papers, while I'm doing emails, I'm watching SpongeBob because in class I knew that that was a hook that would always get my students attention. Every eight-year-old is at the tip of their seat when I start talking about. Do you all know about that episode of SpongeBob where star Patrick Star was really mad at SpongeBob and everybody's like eyes are just wide open. Because now I hook them, I know what they're interested in and so I have to take time out of my free time to really become well-versed in their world, and I want to help teachers and educators find ways that they can become more well-versed in the world that their teenage students are like really in, because that's what's gonna help them make the topic stickier, make the hook better, make the engagement higher. I think that you know, the generational differences between teachers and students sometimes can create a bit of a you know, of a challenge there, because students for sure want to be on TikTok for hours. Most teachers don't want to spend hours on TikTok, so you now have a little bit of a cultural disconnect, and so I really think that there's a creative opportunity here to kind of step in and figure out how do we keep this education culturally relevant so that you don't kind of, you know, doesn't go over students head or it just feels like, oh well, that doesn't, you know, sound like my experience, so maybe they're not talking about me and my family, but really making sure that, no matter where you are, what students you're serving, that the message is gonna be received. So I would, I'm interested to kind of work on that. But yeah, I mean in terms of like professionally, I think really trying to see through to mission 2030 is like big, big goal. At the end of my book I say that's like my B-hag. My big, hairy, audacious goal is to see 2030, when all 50 states will require personal finance for high school graduation. And I'm from New York City, so I'm, in particular, would love to see New York State get this done. It's New York City Department of Education is the largest, serving over a million students, is the largest Department of Education in the country. So I really want New York City to get it and New York State to get it. But I think that that would kind of probably be a very proud moment if I could be part of changing. You know how things are taught in my own state and it's hard and it's a long road ahead, but I feel like there's a lot of momentum. Right now.Speaker 2:
There's a movement across the country and that's kind of like we just got to grab the bull by the horns and take that opportunity and run with it you know, you say something and that really resonates with me, because I think, since the pandemic, two themes that I have seen repeat quite a bit is is the importance of financial wellness yes and mental wellness absolutely and even, like with the most recent Olympics, how it just really opened up, accepting the importance of, of mental health and those two themes. It's been difficult for them to be sticky, but I feel like finally they are, and thank goodness we have the three of you. Really, you know fighting the good fight and you know, let's fingers cross that really that initiative comes to light sooner than 2030. But what a great initiative and it sounds like just diving deeper and deeper into what you're already doing to make a more powerful impact. Yeah, I mean.Speaker 3:
I mean the work that Elena and Tifa doing is incredibly important and it brings to mind two things like. One is you know, when I was in college, that was the time where I was making some of the most impactful money choices that would impact the rest of my life taking on a lot of credit card debt, deciding whether student loans were right for me, deciding if I was gonna go study abroad, how I was gonna pay for that, if I'm gonna buy a car a lot of those choices happen in college and I never had a class about money. So just the fact that there's a personal finance, one to three courses, like amazing, because it's a generational shift. This next generation won't be able to say like, like me, you know, I wish I had that class. Instead they're gonna say that was the most valuable class I took. So I love that that shift and it's so important. And then, on Elena side, I mean there would be no teacher prep here without the work that the Council for Economic Education has been doing for decades. I mean it's just teachers wouldn't even know where to go or how to find each other, because what happens is often when you're the financial literacy teacher in your school, you're usually the only one right, so you don't. You're like working in a silo and when there's teacher trainings and you're in a group with ten other teachers, you're like, finally, I can collaborate with, I can talk about what works and what doesn't, and how do you do this topic or how do you teach this and what works for you. That type of collaboration is so rare for teachers who teach financial literacy, because they're often the only ones. So creating these opportunities and really supporting teachers is truly the way most of these teachers have not learned financial literacy themselves. It's very hard for you to teach something that you never were taught formally. So this formal education for teachers I mean this is why NGP have loves partnering with the Council for Economic Education here in Arizona and, and like there's the four corners, which is, you know, a few of the other states around you all too but does that work is so incredibly important because teachers themselves walk away going like. I have so many emails from teachers saying when I took your investing course, I was able to log into my 403b account for the first time in my life with confidence, knowing how to read which investments I'm purchasing being purchased in my account, what the expense ratios on these mutual funds are, and I could determine whether I was comfortable with those or not. Most teachers are not taught this. They're just putting a piece of their paycheck in this account. It's a nebulous, mysterious account that they've never logged into. They don't know how to read, they don't know how much money it's gonna be, they don't know how to project when they'll have about enough to retire, or if they will or not. But these courses, while they're intended to help them, teach the students, fundamentally teach them as adults too, and they can use this in their lives as well. So there's this ripple effect, right, which Elena kind of alluded to, that ripple effect or the multiplier effect. But it starts with the teachers. So that work I'm very passionate about. Obviously, having been a teacher myself in the past, I just recognize how much education teachers need themselves too to have the confidence and the content expertise to get in front of students. It's hard. When you get in front of a class of students, they sniff the lack of authenticity on you. If you don't know what you're talking about, they can smell it a mile away.Speaker 4:
And they'll call you out. And they'll call you out on it. I can ascertain that from you. As an educator, I can tell you in fact, I used to be I never told you this, probably, but I used to be a terrible student until one day one of my teachers said hey, I'm gonna give you this concept. You have to come and teach it, man. I spent the night understanding as like oh, so that's what it means, and you really gotta get into the thick of it and that's where you really get it.Speaker 5:
When you have to teach somebody you really get it then.Speaker 4:
So it's wonderful what you're doing.Speaker 5:
It's wonderful I know where on podcast is, so if any teacher is listening. We love you. We appreciate the work you do every day. Thank you Absolutely.Speaker 2:
I think we could be talking about personal finance for hours. I wanna be respectful to your time, Nellie, because this is your fourth event today.Speaker 3:
Traveling around the city and have many more trips aligned. I'm very excited.Speaker 3:
I'm very excited to be with that's a students tomorrow to be talking about personal finance. We're gonna bring them copies of my book and I'm just, I'm really glad we could make Arizona one of the states where we had multiple stops for my book tour because I think that a lot of the families they just resonated with my personal story. There were a lot of families who were non-native English speakers and immigrant adjacent communities or immigrant communities that are just now trying to learn about the systems in this country and how they work, and so I just, yeah, I saw their eyes light up as I started talking about being a first generation college grad, being a first generation investor, being the first in my family to figure this stuff out, and that kind of leaves them feeling inspired and gives them a little bit of hope that hey, yeah, she figured this out, I can figure this out too. So I'm just so glad, I'm honored to have been here, glad that you all had me, invited me to come and join, and I'm just, I'm really excited for the next few stops along the way.Speaker 2:
Well, we're honored that you were here. I'm gonna do a couple of plugs for you guys as we close out this podcast. So in Ellie Espanol's new book, mind your Money can be found on Amazoncom and anywhere books are sold. Check out Yanle's Miss Be Helpful channel on YouTube and to learn more about Arizona Council on Economic Education, visit wwwAzEconorg To see what Professor Atif's students say about his teaching, which is pretty amazing. Check out wwwRateMyProfessorscom. I actually saw your reviews and I was very impressed. Your students absolutely love you, so keep up that good work. Once again, thank you so much. Knowledge is power and the three of you are most definitely empowering students, not just here in Arizona, but throughout the country, throughout the globe, because these are universal concepts. So thank you guys, so very much for joining me today.Speaker 4:
It's been a pleasure. Thank you, jacob, for having us.Speaker 5:
Thank you.Speaker 1:
Thank you for listening to the Finance Roundtable podcast. Make sure to check out other episodes at wwwfinancetroundtablepodcastcom. We also encourage you to explore wwwjacobgoldcom to find articles, research videos and more from Jacob Gold and Associates Incorporated. If you have a question that you would like to be answered on air, please call 480-998-4653, extension 12, and leave a message.Speaker 2:
Jacob Gold and Michael Koshell are financial advisors offering securities and advisory services through CITERA Advisor Networks LLC. Doing insurance business in California as CFGAN Insurance Agency LLC, member, finra SIPC, a broker-dealer and registered investment advisor. Citera is under separate ownership from any other named entity. Jacob's California Insurance License 0E55425,. Michael's California Insurance License 0K90130. The views depicted in this material are for information purpose only and are not necessarily those of CITERA Advisor Network. They should not be considered specific advice or recommendations for any individual. Neither CITERA Advisor Networks nor any of its representative may give legal or tax advice. Kelvin Gold is a marketing associate. Registered address is 14850 North Scottsdale Road, suite 255, scottsdale, arizona, 85254.