Most seniors spend their last few months at DHS thinking about college, exams, prom, summer or graduation. However, a recent seminar encouraged them to think about their personal finances before they embark on their college careers.
During March and April, Mrs. Maureen Grefer (’85), Vice President at Central National Bank of Oklahoma, conducted a six-session Senior Finance Seminar to better equip twenty-five seniors for their financial futures. Real life examples helped seniors understand investing, budgeting, taxes and credit card use.
“I am really excited for the seniors to learn this information because they need this as college students and as women of the working world,” said Mrs. Jenn Drouant, academic assistant principal.
Many seniors may be overwhelmed at the prospect of managing their own finances, but the seminar quickly helped them to feel more confident. During the sessions, senior Hannah Meyer said, “Oh my gosh! Adulthood is coming soon!” For Meyer, these lessons were nerve-wracking because they were uncharted territory, but she quickly discovered finances were not as daunting as they appeared. “It’s nice to have Mrs. Grefer there to explain finances,” said Meyer. “Even though I don’t have to worry about it now, I’m going to need to know how to budget effectively and possibly file for taxes in college.”
In one session, Mrs. Grefer presented a scenario of buying a pair of $895 designer shoes with a credit card. She explained that if the girls only paid the minimum required monthly to pay for the shoes, it would take almost seven years to pay off the debt because of the interest the bank imposes.
“I had never known that just a simple pair of shoes could take so long to pay for,” said senior Maggie Neupert. “I know I’ll be much more careful with credit card debt in the future.”
The seniors practiced what they were learning in the seminar by designing their own budgets. Seniors pretended to have a starting salary of $44,000 after college and had to find housing and transportation, deduct taxes, start a savings account and put aside spending money. Mrs. Grefer taught her students to calculate how much they could afford to spend on a monthly basis and to use internet research to find the best bargains for their expenses.
“My hope is that the students will have a better idea of what to avoid and understand how they fit into the global economics,” said Mrs. Grefer.
The course received rave reviews from participating seniors, including Kayla Perez. “I hoped just to be confident entering freshman year of college,” she said. “Now I feel prepared for my life after college.”
– Madeline Puente