Americans are drowning in over 13 trillion dollars of debt, and that number continues to grow every year. Financial stability has to start at a young age. SCCS is proud to join Certified Financial Coach, Brendie Heter, and business owner, Sam Neylan, in offering a new curriculum focused on students’ financial futures.
“Ninth grade students are learning the concepts of budgeting, saving/spending wisely, avoiding debt and giving, before they become major consumers,” shared Personal Finance teacher, Mrs. Coughlin. “Students are learning from a Biblical perspective how they should steward the money given to them.”
Mrs. Heter and Ms. Neylan have helped to underwrite some of Dave Ramsey's Personal Finance curriculum cost for SCCS students with a goal of young people understanding the value of money. “Scripture references money and possessions over 2,350 times,” shared Mrs. Heter. “That's more than love, heaven, and hell combined. This skill set is absolutely vital for the success and protection of our youth. Sam and I want to help the next generation of students be successful without the bondage of debt.”
To date, Mrs. Coughlin’s class has spent time going through the process of buying a car and learning how much a car loan actually ends up costing. “Students were surprised at how expensive a loan can be and all the hidden costs associated with using credit as a form of payment,” shared Mrs. Coughlin. “Credit cards, often carrying thousands of dollars of debt, have become a means to living for many."
Students were encouraged to think through purchases multiple times before buying something, especially on credit. Additionally, praying before making a large purchase and not spending their money if they don’t already have it are important steps towards financial peace that can be taken now. “This class has been so helpful to me and very eye opening,” shared an SCCS student. “I am so grateful to get to learn these principles in the ninth grade and begin to understand how to be a good steward with the money God has given to me.”
When asked why this curriculum was so important for students to learn, Brendie noted, “Americans are drowning in debt and are actively strangled by the financial mistakes they made in their youth. We constantly hear, ‘I wish I would have known this earlier.’ In 2014, we decided to personally sponsor the curriculum for Santa Clarita Valley students. Those who have been through the class, no matter what their financial background, have been able to learn how to create a financially stable future.”
The impact financial literacy has on whole families and the family structure is life changing. “Close to 3,000 local Santa Clarita students have taken this class over the years, and parents are seeing an immediate impact,” shared Brendie. “Students see how their parents handle money, which affects their own use of money and saving. People are scared, stressed, and drowning in their finances. We have seen lives drastically changed, marriages saved, and major personal victories.”
SCCS Director of Academics Lynn Kistler added, “The Personal Finance class is not only about financial maturity, but about financial freedom. We believe that these are essential concepts to teach our students. We are so grateful to Brendie and Sam and their assistance with helping us add this class to our curriculum.”