In the first semester of 2018, 54 of 77 Central High School students took a challenge presented to them by their personal finance instructor Terry Harden to save $500 as an emergency fund. As of Nov. 30, 16 of them hit the target goal.
They are Bree Williamson, Alexis Hershman, Sara Dove; (back row) George Gannon, Bryson Goines, Slade Barnes, Destinee Lain, and Terry Harnden (instructor). In picture number 2 (front row) is Kara Reed Thompson, Dyllen Robinson, Jada Buckingham, Isaac Walz, Mary Spradley, Ann Petty, Koby Howard, Zachary Banks and Dalton McGinnis.
Ten students saved between $251-499, 11 saved between $100-200, and 17 saved up to 100.
“How do I feel when 54 students out of 77 students took on a challenge that would transform their lives forever?” Harden asked. “No, not pride or amazement; just wonderfully encouraged. When I see 54 students start thinking and doing differently than the norm, by applying six principles that have been constantly implanted within their mind and seeing for themselves positive results; that the strategies used do work. I am wonderfully encouraged; I have made a positive difference in the minds and lives of my students.”
The six principles refer to Dave Ramsey’s Foundations in Personal Finance. They are do or do not, there is no try; it is your life; you are in control of it; it is not how much money you earn, it is what you do with what you earn that makes the difference in your future; you work hard for your money and let your money work hard for you; pay yourself first; and build your wealth one day at a time and it will last you a lifetime.
The money was saved in a variety of ways. The student had to open a new savings account dedicated only for this emergency fund and they could not transfer existing funds into it. Harden presented 10 ideas for the students to reach their goal, such as cutting back on spending, saving their allowance, holding an auction or yard sale, advertise a service they provide, get a part-time job, tutor and use their skills. The money had to be earned legally and could not be supplemented with gift cards or loans.
“The sole purpose of this fund is be financially prepared for the future against unforeseen expenses due to unanticipated situations that will eventually come into play throughout one’s lifetime,” Harden explained. “This is why we refer to it as an emergency fund. A person does not know when, or what type of situation will raise its ugly head, but one can financially prepare for it.
“This fund can be the difference between a small bump in your financial life and complete disaster in your entire life,” he added. “In reality, a person should have between three to six months wages in such a fund to take care of such emergencies like loss of a job, or a medical expense not completely covered by insurance. When a student sees the importance of such a fund now and works toward one of their own they will continue such preparation and be financially prepared all their life.”