Personal Finance Hero: High School Student Zachary Taylor

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Every few years I come across a story of seemingly ordinary people doing something extraordinary. For example, I loved Abigail Martin's $500 Dream Wedding.

I was at a pizza parlor when I saw an article in a local (Newport, Rhode Island) newspaper caught my eye. At the very bottom of the page was the title, "Education bill introduced on behalf of PHS student Zachary Taylor." That was it, just a title and a page number. As a parent of a 2 and 3 year old, I'm extremely interested in anything with the word "education" in it.

I had minimal expectations for the article. Page 5 of the free local newspaper is where you get life advice from from Cleo the Cat. (That's not a joke. It is a real thing, but unfortunately Cleo's column was cancelled in 2013.)

Imagine my surprise when I turned to page 5 and found news that might change Rhode Island forever.

Zachary Taylor (with the help of his representative Daniel P. Reilly) introduced a bill that would require Rhode Island high school students to complete a course on financial literacy before graduating.

To me, this is just common sense, but as we covered yesterday, one of the reasons Why We Fail With Money is because most Americans are financially illiterate.

In fact, Rep. Reilly was quoted in the article:

"This is common sense legislation, which prepares students for the real world, such as a balancing a checkbook, securing a mortgage, and purchasing a vehicle."

Beggars can't be choosers, so I'll take any and every attempt of financial literacy education that I can get. I don't want to criticize a sound bite too much, but at age 40, I've never balanced a checkbook. I would rather see education focus on compound interest. At a young age I was inspired to save when I learned that my money could make more money by doing nothing.

Again, I shouldn't criticize, but I'm an idealist. I think we should focus on financial education before high school.

If done well, it can be included in elementary school. More than 30 years ago, I learned the basics of running a business (such as supply and demand) by playing a Lemonade Stand computer game.

I don't know if this legislation will pass, but I'm optimistic. The Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) joined in to testify before the State House for the bill.

Zachary Taylor, I salute you... Bravo Zulu.

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Posted on May 25, 2016.

Free Comic Books for Saving Money

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After reading a comment at Boston Gal's Open Wallet, I was reminded of the free comics at the Federal Reserve Bank covering a variety of financial topics. I happen to have a friend who works at the Fed Bank, so I have to see if he can grab a few of these.

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Frugal, Learning

Last updated on December 14, 2006.

The Value of an MBA?

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I know that many in the US won't cry for me when I say that my income is probably twice what the national average is. (I don't know what the national average, so you can stop figuring now.) I'm a software engineer. However, living in the Boston area, that kind of income is more or less necessary.

I believe that there are times in every software engineer's career where they have thought about the "business folks", "Hey I could do that." I really believe it to be true more than 80% of the time. In fact, in many cases, I just deal with the client and cut my manager out because his whole job is simply to be a buffer to keep the client from bothering me when I should be coding.

It seems my skill as a software engineer is "more valuable" to the company if I'm coding. However, when I do the job of a "business folk" who is paid twice as much as me, it's "not a good use of my time." For this reason, I've been thinking of going to get an MBA. I've taken a few sample GMAT tests and I'm close to getting the kind of the score that could get me into a top ten school. The starting salaries are pretty high with a degree from any of those schools. However, you have to go full-time for at least two years, and at that point your debt is sky high.

This Wharton Grad does the math to figure out the value of an MBA and he's not overly convinced it's worth it. Probably means the top online MBA program isn't worth it either. In my study of it, it seems the value. In my study of it, it seems the value is largely in networking. I'm not big on networking and would rather have the piece of paper that says, "I'm smart. I have the skills. Pay me what I'm worth."

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Last updated on October 8, 2015.

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