SHA teens get financial tips from an expert
The Youth Group at Springfield Housing Authority’s Robinsons Gardens Apartments got a good tip from a finance professional: Save your money.
Make that, early and often.
Thomas Morrow, president of Metrocom Tax Services in Springfield, shared his vast knowledge of money – most especially how to hang onto it – as part of an ongoing Youth Group series of professional, mostly local, speakers who show and tell teens how to get ahead.
In Morrow’s case, it was a simple lesson in working hard and saving a good portion of money earned. Starting the sooner the better.
“You don’t have to be a famous singer to be rich,” Morrow said.
“All you have to be is smart. When you have a job, save some of that money every week. Put it away in the bank,” he said, adding that eventually, they could start thinking about specific investments .
Over time, that money grows at an astonishing rate, especially when the regular savings starts in the teen years.
For example, those who start saving $20 a week in their early 20s will have a whopping $331,553 at age 67. The numbers are even higher for those who start earlier – like the teens in the RG Youth Group.
Morrow had teens do the math to show what a simple dollar a week will get you in a few years. He also got them to thinking about the alternative.
“Any time you are working, you want to put some of that away. You don’t want to spend it all now, and be that person who’s always broke, or out there asking other people for money,” he said.
For teens, it was a lesson worth thinking about. Many of them had jobs this summer through the Youth Group and its partnership with the Springfield Housing Authority and New England Farm Workers Council.
“He really made you think about what you do with your money,” said Christian Davis, 14 and a freshman at Roger L. Putnam Vocational-Technical Academy.
“A lot of people don’t know how to save money once they get it. They spend it. Then they don’t have any money when they want to do something, or settle down somewhere,” he added.
Davis plans to open a bank account and start putting away money as soon as he gets a job. For now, he is thinking about taking the IT program at Putnam, where he can set himself up for a career in technology.
The teens meet every weekday after school, and are treated to a visit by a local professional at least once a month, courtesy of SHA Youth Engagement Coordinator Jimmie Mitchell, who wants his young charges to learn life lessons from people who are living it.
“We try to bring people out here from a lot of different professions,” Mitchell explained. “We try to have a particular focus on finance and personal money management because it’s something they don’t necessarily get in school, or even at home.”
Mitchell helps Youth Group members open bank accounts once they start working, as a means to encourage regular saving.
For 15-year-old Keishla Caldero, the lesson from Morro was a good one.
“When I get a job, I’ll definitely be saving my money,” said the Central High School sophomore who has plans to be a journalist one day.
Sulie Huertas, 14, said she appreciated Morrow’s visit.
“It was very informational,” said Huertas, a freshman at the Springfield Honors Academy at the High School of Commerce.
“He let me know what I’m doing wrong that’s making me not save money. No doubt I’ll try to be better,” Huertas said.
For Morrow, that kind of promise is the reason why he visited Robinson Gardens.
“It’s a very simple message,” Morrow said. “Understand what money is, and what it means to your life. You start young, you save your money, and you can be rich.”
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