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Financial Literacy 101: For Students by Students

Keep in mind that saving is a journey,” Leo Li ’21 and Viet Dang ’20 tell Fountain Valley students in the financial literacy workshop that they created for fellow students.
Li is from Beijing, China, and Dang is from Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam and they are the founders of the FVS Business Club

The two presented their financial literacy workshops to juniors and seniors earlier this year. And in order to give freshmen and sophomores the same access in our current virtual learning environment, they recently produced a video version of their workshop.

“Teenagers often lack financial knowledge,” Li says.

Their goal is to inspire students to get in the mindset of budgeting and saving now so that they have the building blocks for financial success and can avoid mistakes that lead to money struggles.

The workshop leads with tips on saving:
  • Track your expenses daily. They suggest using the app Fudget.
  • Draw up a monthly budget and stick to it.
  • Use cash instead of credit cards to be more aware of the money you spend.
  • Cut costs and review the online services you subscribe to. “You can deal with the ads,” Dang says. Put yourself on a no-spend challenge. Start by committing to a weekend of no spending.
In the workshop, Dang and Li also present the basics of credit, the importance of credit scores and the realities of student loans. When working with the juniors and seniors, they had the opportunity to engage in an investing simulation game.

A year ago, Dang, Li and Jacob Thomassen ’20 started the Business Club out of their shared strong interests in business, money and investing. The financial literacy workshop is an outcome of their enthusiasm.

The Business Club is a hands-on pursuit. They run the Roadkill Cafe—the School’s snack bar in the Frautschi Campus Center—as a nonprofit. FVS Chief Financial Officer Janet Refior has helped the group gain a better understanding of how nonprofits work.

“We are all beginners,” Li says. “We wanted to start something in high school that helps spread financial literacy. We want to make it part of Fountain Valley’s student life program and hopefully, there will be a class.”
FVS is a private, college-preparatory, co-ed, day and boarding school for grades 9-12 in Colorado Springs.
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