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Empty Wallets and Rattling Piggy Banks– Money Matters, a Savings Superhero

Author: Danny Ludovina, Project Coordinator for Money Matters

After another tax season rolled around this year, families across the United States have had the opportunity to explore their financial well-being, leaving some families with more questions than answers. We have collaborated with students from San José State University’s finance course led by professor Xiaoyan Xu and financial advisors from Cathay bank led by Wen Chang to share workshops on money management with Olinder Elementary students and Downtown San José community residents. These workshops through CommUniverCity’s Money Matters project, teach financial basics to both children and adults in our San José communities.

Money Matters- kid style

The SJSU students have presented on an array of topics adjusted to address the concerns of a 1st through 5th grade student. Some of these topics included: Delayed Gratification and how budgeting for the long term can bring better rewards; The distinction between Need vs. Want; Budgeting for savings; Risk vs. Reward, as demonstrated through a card game; and the power of a Piggy Bank. We held this event at Olinder Elementary School on the afternoon of Friday, April 21st –right before the young students shoot off for the weekend to spend not only their time, but their money wiser than before.

SJSU finance students teaching elementary school children in Olinder’s after-school program.

We set up the event in a rotation-style simultaneous presentation structure to divide up over 70 students from grades 1-5 to share our financial topics. Five presentations lasting 15 minutes each seemed like a tall order, but we were quite pleased at how the elementary students remained engaged and interactive with the SJSU students throughout the Money Matters event. SJSU students had a positive response to the event and some even shared they not only learned to improve their presentation style to be more age-appropriate (first graders don’t typically buy cars), but they genuinely enjoyed the process itself. Because the SJSU students were able to make learning fun, the eager elementary students showed great attention, respect and admiration. Over half of the students surveyed answered that the key takeaway from the event was learning the importance of saving money.

“I Learned that I can save for College!” – 5th grade Olinder Student

Money Matters- at every age

Wen, Peter, Kitty, and Lan from San José’s local branch of Cathay bank volunteered their time to work alongside members of two residential San José communities in personal financial workshops. The participating residents entered the event with concerns regarding their wallets, and even though the workshops had a prepared presentation to share, the residents came around to opening to share their concerns for our team of CommUniverCity and Cathay bank financiers to address. Each location; EAH housing, based on Monterey street by the shopping center known as “The Plant”, and Project Access housing on the southern end of San José by Los Lagos Golf course on Coyote Creek, had one preliminary workshop to introduce financial advice, and a follow-up workshop two weeks later to access how the information was retained. We were pleasantly surprised to see familiar faces and see how things were going along with the community after the fact.

San José community residents asking informative questions on relieving financial stress.

Finance-savvy individuals from San José State University and Cathay Bank engaged with a breadth of community members in the surrounding area of SJSU campus, promoted concepts that may seem common sense, but it only seems so after these concepts are not only learned, but internalized. With our combined effort, we’ve armed the community with knowledge fundamental to financial stability and success.

Thank you to our Money Matters partners and supporters:

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