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Financial literacy classes available at Pagosa Springs High School

RG Bank promoting movement to ensure students are more financially literate
A survey conducted by Next Gen Personal Finance estimates that 35.1% of students in the United States will have taken a personal finance course by the time they graduate. (Durango Herald file)

RG Bank is trying to promote financial literacy for younger residents in Pagosa Springs.

Collaborating with the financial education program Banzai and Archuleta County School District, RG Bank will provide these resources to Pagosa Springs High School students.

A 2023 report from the National Financial Educators Council shows that 38% of people in a recent survey said a lack of financial literacy cost them at least $500 in 2022. This included 15% who said it set them back by $10,000 or more.

“We feel financial education is an important part of what we, as a community bank, must do. I can tell you, the content is excellent, as the demand it high,” said RG Bank President Shon Davis. “We also sponsored educational efforts by our local Colorado State Extension Office, for the same reasons, financial education helps us as a bank, it helps us as communities and financial health leads to less stress and a healthier life for those who practice it.”

A 2022 survey conducted by Next Gen Personal Finance estimates that 35.1% of high school students will have taken a stand-alone personal finance course by the time they graduate.

When students learn with Banzai, teachers can easily monitor and grade their progress remotely. After finishing Banzai, students will know how to track where their money is and what it’s for, recognize financial trade-offs, build a budget and more. At a time when many are facing unprecedented financial challenges, these lessons are invaluable.

“While a portion of the population may lack a solid understanding of basic financial concepts such as budgeting, saving, investing, and debt management, a solid foundation of practical financial knowledge is critical,” Banzai spokeswoman Elisabeth Fitts said. “Banzai became interested in this project to address this gap by providing educational resources and tools to help people improve their financial literacy.”

Fitts also said Banzai is currently available for PSHS students and teachers.

“Teachers use the program as a supplemental resource for teaching in their school year. Teachers appreciate that they can use this program at their own pace,” she said.

Banzai resources are used by over 100,000 teachers nationwide. The courses align with Colorado’s state curriculum requirements, according to a news release from the company.

“Banzai is a web-based financial literacy program. Kids get their own accounts, and they work through assignments that are based on real life,” said Morgan Vandagriff, co-founder of Banzai. “But because RG Bank is sponsoring it, local schools get it for free. More than ever, its important that kids develop sound financial skills to prepare them for the real world, and RG Bank realizes that and they'’re doing something about it.”

The Durango Herald attempted to contact Archuleta County School District Superintendent Rick Holt on Tuesday, but did not receive a response.

Davis said part of being a community bank is to make sure its community members are educated about their finances.

RG Bank is a well-known mutual savings bank with locations throughout the San Luis Valley, as well as Pagosa Springs.


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