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Vermont organizations team up to teach financial literacy to

While personal resources and financial planning may sound like a snooze to the average teenager, financial literacy contains the life skills needed by this age group, said Tony Hall, president of NAIFA-VT (National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors). While high school students may not like the sound of financial literacy, Hall said that most students want to know the benefits of having a credit card without getting in trouble, or information about college planning and student loans. As part of Governor Douglass plan, The Vermont Way Forward, educating the states youth in financial literacy was stressed as a way to keep young people in Vermont. NAIFA- VT, took the lead in making this happen. It was a wonderful opportunity for us to get involved, said Hall. If we can educate them and they can stay in Vermont, then everybody wins, he said. After researching different organizations with which to collaborate, Hall said that Jump $tart kept coming to the top of the list. The organization which also has a state chapter, The Vermont Jump$tart Coalition, provides access to financial resources and was the piece of the puzzle we needed, said Hall. NAIFA-VT matches their professionals with Jump $tarts resources to help provide much-needed financial education for youth. Now Vermont teachers interested in having their students learn about financial literacy, but without the time, can arrange for a NAIFA representative to come and teach the subject to students. The speakers bureau is still in the beginning stages, said Hall, and they are currently only responding to requests with plans to start canvassing schools directly next year. These are skills that need to be taught, said Hall. Four major areas of personal finance are covered: Income, Money Management, Spending and Credit, and Saving and Investing. Students learn that financial literacy requires self discipline. One of the challenges, said Hall, is getting teachers to find the time to offer the courses. With strict federal and state mandates on curriculum, its difficult to find 40 minutes outside the curriculum to teach financial literacy, he said. With credit card debts on the rise, (the average household debt at $12,000), Hall said education about debt management and forestalling credit card debt is a tool that can enable students to become financially successful. Once students begin to learn about financial literacy, said Hall, they are happy to have the knowledge. Teachers interested in having a NAIFA member help students become more financially literate can visit the Web site or call Vermont Jump$tart at (877) 242-8550. For more information, visit www.vtjumpstart.org, and for more information about NAIFA, visit www.naifa.org, or www.naifanet.com/vermont.

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