Financial literacy courses and counselors teach that once you’ve paid off your debts and saved an emergency fund with at least six months of living expenses, it’s better to put your money to work than to keep it. in a savings account.

However, according to Pew Research Center, households with incomes below $ 35,000 have a median amount of less than $ 10,000 on the stock market. Broken down by demographics, the study finds that families headed by white adults are more likely to be invested in the stock market than families headed by black or Hispanic adults.

Financial knowledge of the stock market from an early age can help individuals build long-term wealth. First generation investors is a non-profit organization focused on teaching investment strategies to low-income high school students, using real money. With an army of more than 150 volunteers, co-founder Cole mattox enabled nearly 500 students to acquire the basic concepts of shareholding through concrete examples.

Mattox shares what inspired him and his friends to create this organization, success stories and the future of the growing company.

(Credit: Cole Mattox)

The “aha” moment for Mattox came when he and his co-founder, Dylan ingerman, were playing a simulated stock market game in AP Economics.

Mattox discloses, “Dylan and I went to different high schools, and both noticed that we had little to no personal finance or investing education in our respective classes. We realized we were in something for several weeks, but what we really needed to learn was how to look at stocks over the long haul. that met this need.

They started the program with three students, each of whom came back hungry for information. “We knew we were on to something and from there. We started reaching out to schools in the Philadelphia area who would be willing to teach students with our program, ”Mattox shares.

Using real money, FGI launches student financial portfolios and teaches high school students how to grow their investments. Students are given $ 100 to invest in mutual funds over the course of eight weeks. First Generation Investors provides students with a list of “safe” investment products while teaching them the basics of investing.

“Almost all of our students remain aware of the market and their portfolios after graduation. A lot of them add money to their wallets from their jobs, ”Mattox reveals.

(Credit: Cole Mattox)
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As of Spring 2021, FGI has a presence on 25 college campuses, including Ivy League schools like Cornell University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, as well as top universities like Duke University and the University of New York. York. By fall 2021, FGI will expand to 30 more colleges, including HBCUs and public schools, increasing the accessibility of the program.

“This fall we have public schools teaching our classes directly to their students,” Mattox proudly says. The program also takes a more community-based approach to reaching underserved people.

Mattox adds, “We work in partnership with financial companies, civil rights groups and other professional societies to have their employees volunteer and teach in the communities in which they wish to serve. ”

If you would like to contribute to the development of this program by volunteering, associating with FGI, creating a section or even registering for the program, you can contact the organization. here.

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