The Dollars and Cents of Exploring Money as a Social Justice Issue

By Kenyatta Skyles Understanding the dynamics of financial management at a young age leads to making healthy choices later in life. Financial education is a critical skill that enables a […]

June 24, 2020 // EYEJ // No Comments //

By Kenyatta Skyles

Understanding the dynamics of financial management at a young age leads to making healthy choices later in life. Financial education is a critical skill that enables a lifetime of sound decisions about housing, higher education, and career pathways. The latest EYEJ Speaks episode brought together a panel of financial managers and educators to discuss money management basics, parental involvement in the education process, and the foundation of financial success.

On June 18, the EYEJ Speaks episode entitled Exploring Money discussed the foundation of what all people, especially youth, need to understand about fiscal responsibility. While many young people get their first taste of financial freedom in college, by that time, many of the bad habits have already formed. And as “more than 40% of Gen Z are already working full-time, part-time or freelance,” educating young people as early as possible to establish a positive relationship with money is imperative.

Moderated by Justin McLoughlin, Founder, airCFO, the panel included insights from Katie Ross, Program Director, EYEJ; Lawrence Perry – Educator/Intervention Specialist; and Michael Mendlovic – Vice President, Relationship Manager, KeyBank. Unfortunately, Youth Council representative Arieanna Saddler was unable to attend, but will be featured in an upcoming post where she discusses being a teenage entrepreneur. The conversation covered topics including generational wealth, the challenges of getting a college education, and savings 101. Below are a few insights from the program.


  1. MENTORSHIP is important in educating youth on the basics of finances, money management, and savings. Young people may have a business or an interest in starting one but don’t have the language or an advisor who can lead them in the right direction. Preparing youth early will ensure they will make more informed financial decisions in life. “Your network is your net worth.”
  2. COLLEGE DEBT is avoidable for many young people. Student loan debt, the types of colleges students choose, and obtaining credit cards are just some of the ways that young people acquire debt in college. For example, instead of going straight to a 4-year college, starting off with a 2-year program and transferring to a 4-year may be a workable alternative, as community colleges are more affordable. With guidance and research, there are strategies that young people can implement to reach their higher education goals without incurring long term debt.
  3. GENERATIONAL WEALTH is a social justice issue which has impeded the success for many youth and their families. Creating spaces to discuss wealth inequities and the correlation between oppression and racism are an important start. After that conversation, comes the “what now” phase, where we must explore not only the problem but the immediate and long-term solutions to address the disparities.


Empowering Youth to Understand Money

“Good Debt” Vs. “Bad Debt”

Financial Guru Dave Ramsey, who was mentioned in the program, summarized the discussion best: “You must gain control over your money or the lack of it will forever control you.” With programs such as Youth Online Discussing Justice, EYEJ is able to educate, inform, and empower young people to make healthy financial decisions. Expanding that messaging through EYEJ Speaks enables us to not only empower young people who may not be part of the program but their families, friends, and other adults who play a crucial role in the overall success of tomorrow’s leaders. While change doesn’t happen overnight, we hope bringing together the right people to the table can, in part, enact some of the changes we want to see.

To view the full episode of EYEJ Speaks on Exploring Money, visit our Facebook page. Civil Rights is the next episode of the Facebook Live discussion series, taking place on Thursday, June 25, 2020 at 10 am ET. Please be sure to register to be part of this community conversation.

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