Thank you to all the students who submitted entries for our spring 2020 Scholarship contest! This contest was open to students who completed the MassMutual Foundation FutureSmart course. The FutureSmart course teaches middle and high school students the basics of financial education. Student contestants answered questions about the most important topics they learned in this course, their goals and dreams for the future, and how this course will help them now and in the future. We’re featuring excerpts from our six winners who each received $1,000 529 college savings scholarships. Congrats to all of our winners!
Student: Mia P.
Teacher: Ms. Bacskai
Holland Township Elementary – New Jersey
“My dream is to become the head of surgery at a major hospital. I want to be the best in my field and to teach other surgeons. FutureSmart helped me realize what I need to do and accomplish to reach my goal. I know I will need to work hard, get into a good college, and make a plan to pay for college and medical school. I learned that I need to have a plan for how to pay for school.
In the course Ways to Pay, I learned a lot about money that I didn’t know before. I learned how to save money and problems that can happen if I am not responsible with my money like getting a bad credit score. I learned to think before I buy something. Do I want this more than my goals for my future, like college or the life I want to lead as a head surgeon? If it is not something that is more important than my future I won’t buy it and save that money instead. The more I do this the more likely it will be that I will achieve my goals.”
Student: Nzobaho N.
Teacher: Ms. Schroeder
Harding Middle School – Iowa
“FutureSmart has taught me so many life skills that I would have learned much later on in my adult life. But now that I have learned them at a young age, I believe I have an advantage that many learn too late in their lives. The three most important lessons that I acquired in this course are smart shopping, ways to pay for higher education, and how to grow a business.
To really shop smart, one must know what value that something will bring and how long it’s going to last. Knowing this has changed the way that I shop; before I made no effort to do research before making a purchase, and I mostly bought things that are considered wants, but now I think hard before I commit. In addition, this is going to help me in the future to spend less and track my spending. Overall, realizing this idea has fundamentally changed the way I shop.”
Student: Anaya B.
Teacher: Mr. Casella
East Amwell Township School – New Jersey
“The FutureSmart course on EVERFI has taught me how to save in a way that will help me pursue my goals for the future. The most important lessons I learned in FutureSmart were, you can save money for college, you can save money while shopping, and you can begin to save money at an early age. I can apply each one of these to a goal that I have for the future. My main goals for the future are to go to college, become a veterinarian, own a house, and to have a family one day. I can achieve these goals by applying the lessons I learned in FutureSmart to my life.
By applying the lesson I learned about saving money for college, I can find ways to make college less expensive for myself and my family. I can also apply the lesson about saving money at an early age. I learned from that lesson that you can save money when you are really young in an account so that you already have money saved up for college. Both these lessons are important because it’s very costly to go to college, however, it’s one of my goals and I can accomplish it by using these two strategies.
I will use the strategies I have learned from my FutureSmart experience to better my life.”
Student: Katherine S.
Teacher: Ms. Giugliano
Lindenhurst Middle School – New York
“During the FutureSmart course, I learned some vital skills that will aid me in my future. The first major skill FutureSmart taught me was how to budget big-ticket items smartly and responsibly. I had to make financial decisions on whether to value quality or price more, quantity or quality, and had to weigh the pros and cons of certain pricier items, just like the kid renovating his bedroom in the first segment “Smart Shopping”. This is an important skill for my future so that I know how to find deals and discounts to avoid overspending. Overspending and having debt will cause long term financial stress.
Another strong point made throughout the FutureSmart program is the importance of prioritizing needs before wants. This can also be applied to owning businesses and having a set budget that you must spend each month on necessities such as rent, stock, and other bills. After you set aside all your normal monthly expenses, you can now choose some non-necessities to purchase based on how much profit you earned that particular month. Just like when you own a house and have a family, you must set aside a set amount of money you spend each month on all your expenses like rent, groceries, monthly bills, and more. Then, you can either spend the excess on something that is not absolutely needed such as a birthday gift for your friend, eating at a restaurant, or a shirt you have wanted for a while, or you can save it for possible future expenses.
Overall, FutureSmart has taught me how to maximize my money and make the most out of what I have. This gives me the resources to be financially smart in my future and be able to obtain my dream life!”
Student: Oh S.
Teacher: Ms. Love
Auburn Junior High School – Alabama
“In this course, I have experienced being the mayor of a certain city, and being able to solve financial problems that the citizens had. At first, it was very hard to balance out the money that was being spent, and knowing which item was more reliable and better. But as I was going through the course, I knew which one to decide on depending on their price, and their functions.
Opportunity cost is when an option is chosen from two alternative choices and is the cost incurred by not enjoying the benefit that was associated with the best alternative choice. For example, I might have decided to save the $50 that was left from buying my friend’s birthday present, instead of buying a necklace that I’ve always wanted to buy. In this situation, the opportunity cost is being able to buy the necklace, so I could save up and buy something that is worth better than the necklace.
I believe that managing finances and making decisions involving money is very important, and everyone should think more than once before buying things that they think they need.”
Student: Lauren D.
Teacher: Ms. Hodges
Vistancia Elementary School – Arizona
“Ever since I interacted with animals, I always had a dream to become a veterinarian. Around horses or riding them, I become filled with an unbreakable feeling of bliss—an undeniable calling rising within. This, college, and a horse ranch of my own are the goals and dreams I have set forth for myself. I will strive to achieve my dreams, and as costly as they may be, FutureSmart has given me tools to lessen the expense. In fact, I credit the FutureSmart course for teaching me how to manage my finances, acquire beneficial insurance plans, and set forth a suitable pension.
To become a vet requires extra schooling. Therefore, the student loan might be tricky to pay off in the long run; however, a scholarship could be instrumental. Lesson 7: “Build Your Blueprint” taught me that having a plan will assist in managing my finances, keeping me steady financially and ensuring I am able to pay off loans. Being strapped to debt is not acceptable, and as stated earlier, I want to own a horse ranch; excessive debt, would put a damper on that dream. Thus, managing my money will prove to be vital as will another lesson from FutureSmart, specifically acquiring beneficial insurance plans.”