Assemblyman Mike Gatto met with local high school students Thursday as part of an entertaining, interactive, and educational program on financial literacy. Working in cooperation with Burbank and Burroughs High schools, and the California Society of Certified Public Accountants, the Cash, Credit, and College program was an opportunity for students to prepare for a successful financial future by learning financial fitness in a fun-filled 90 minute program. Events included multimedia presentations on the importance of budgets, credit, savings, credit cards, and loan essentials by Matt Denny of the California Society of Certified Public Accountants.
Assemblyman Gatto was an active and often humorous participant, doing his best Alex Trebek impersonation during the game of “Financial Jeopardy.” He was even joined by District Director Jason Insalaco playing Gatto’s over-the-top sidekick, in the style of Rod Roddy. Both performers kept the high-school students engaged and interested.
“This event is a fun opportunity for young people to learn the basics of maintaining strong finances,” said Gatto. “Whether they are saving for college, a home, or a hot-rod, I hope that all of the participants learned the importance of living on a budget and saving for the future.”
One surprise for the schools came when Mike Mizrahi, the Regional Public Affairs Manager of SoCalGas presented each high-school principal with a check for $1,250 to be put towards continuing education on financial literacy. Assemblyman Gatto helped secure the gift and explained that it was essential for students to spend more than one afternoon thinking about financial security.
“The long-term-financial success of our young people is essential to creating a stable economy; this money is just one small step towards helping ensure our community’s economic health.”
Burroughs High School Principal John Paramo praised the event for providing students with the opportunity to test their knowledge and interact one-on-one with a respected public official.
“The students sometimes feel like their elected officials are out of reach, Assemblyman Gatto’s participation in this event showed that he is both accessible and fun,” said Paramo. “Burroughs [High School] already has a financial literacy program in its curriculum, but they were more motivated to study up when they knew they’d be playing jeopardy with a State Assemblyman.”
Current financial literacy statistics have shown a decrease in the baseline financial knowledge levels. According to the FINRA Investor Education Foundation’s 2010 State-by-State Financial Capability Survey, 23% of young Americans [18- to 34-year-olds] nationally spend more than their household income, 68% do not have money set aside in a rainy day fund, and 34% engage in non-bank borrowing. A 2010 Charles Schwab Survey found that of those young people who use credit cards, only one-third (33%) pay off their entire balance every month.