Today we’re featuring an excerpt from Grace, an elementary school student who recently earned her Vault – Understanding Money certification. Grace explains all she took away from Vault’s lessons and shares the importance of building a financial understanding, even for elementary students like her. Congratulations to Grace for being one of our scholarship recipients!
Teacher: Mr. Brian Dick
School: Happy Hollow Elementary
Sponsor: The MassMutual Foundation
“I have always wanted to make a difference in the world, and thanks to Vault, now I know how to do that. I have learned a lot over the past couple weeks, about risks and investments, borrowing and saving, jobs and taxes. This course teaches important life lessons, and because of it, I have begun saving for a new charity recently.
One of the most important things I learned about was budgeting, so you don’t owe money. You should write down all of your expenses and how much you estimate you will spend on needs in a certain amount of time, like a month. If you have money left over, you can also spend that on wants and charities, or save up for something more expensive. If you don’t spend more than you earn, you’ll have a balanced budget!
I also learned about the different kinds of risks, and insurance, and how that can help lessen the consequences. First of all, there are personal risks, which is jeopardy to yourself or your property. There are also household risks, which are risks, obviously, to your home. Things like forgetting to wear a bike helmet, leaving your phone outside, or not buckling up in a car can be personal risks, whereas household risks would be more like starting a fire or living in an area with many hurricanes.
Risks can be dangerous, ending you up in the hospital or burning down your house, but there are ways to control them. Starting that fire I mentioned in your fireplace might be a good tactic, and so would having a fire extinguisher handy. Controlled risks are okay to take; if you never took any risks you would be sitting stock-still at home. But there are also good ways to lessen the consequences, like getting health insurance to help deal with personal risks and their effects.
Another thing I learned about, that seemed really important to me, was taxes, because that’s your money, and you ought to know how much you actually spend or earn. Taxes aren’t necessarily a bad thing, because what would we do without education, police, and paved roads? You should understand that something worth $7 really costs $7.50 (at least in Indiana).
I plan to put these skills I’ve learned to use in millions of ways. I’ve begun to save for a charity based at the Indiana Women’s Prison, and budget so that I can buy something amazing when the time comes. I am saving for college, and know how to plan ahead for any risks and their consequences.
I learned so much from EVERFI’s Vault program about income, expenses, and money in general and am planning to put all of that knowledge to good use. I am ready to save for college, budget my own expenses, and control my own money after taking these courses. So I thank the EVERFI team for all that I know about finances because they really are important, even at age twelve.”