Learning about personal finances and getting a financial education is only part of our lives. Learn to share what you learn with the community.

We’ve talked a lot about getting a financial education and how to lead a financially healthy life in these scholarship essays but there’s one last goal to keep in mind. Just as your parents or others shared their financial insight with you, you now have the opportunity to share with the community.

Today’s essay is by Paul Hogge, a student at Harvard University. He shares how he learned his financial education and how he uses it to give back to the community.

Check out Paul’s story and please share on social media. The most-shared essay on how parents can teach their kids about money will win our $500 personal finance scholarship, announced August 31st!

Looking for more ideas on teaching kids about money? Check out this massive resource list of expert ideas on teaching kids money lessons.

How My Financial Education is Helping the Community

Growing up as an American Indian in the South, my father had a very lacking education. By the time desegregation began, he was too far behind the other students academically and decided to quit school at the age of sixteen. To be honest, education was not a priority in my family. What really mattered was working hard, doing my job with excellence, and saving money.

Even during the summer before fourth grade, I worked at a small book store, checking inventory. Unlike a science or outdoor camp, this was my parents view of a successful summer.

So, this is where my parents made an important impact on my life and finances. Although we didn’t have a lot of money in our home, my parents modeled an example of working hard and budgeting.

Working Hard for Myself and for Others

By the fifth grade, I even had a position at a local upholstery store, helping with their budgeting. Again, my parents never forced me to work, but allowed me to be successful in these small roles, where I thrived when given responsibility. I believe that these experiences helped give me some extra “grit.” Often, I don’t give up and can envision the “goal at the end of the tunnel.” These experiences have given me the ability to budget properly and have helped me in school and my professional life.

Now, as much as my parents care about working hard and saving, they’ve always imparted on me a desire to give back. Specifically, I remember when I was counting my money from my third grade job, because I wanted to buy a new television for my family. I barely had enough money… Even still, I wanted to give at least 10% of this money to managing money bookmy church and give additional amounts as gifts to friends and family.

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So, I decided to continue to work and save in order to allow me to give and buy a new television. This process was more difficult, but well worth it, and I hope that this small example will continue to be true in my life as I look to be generous with my time and money.

Sharing My Financial Education with the Community

Personally, I am a member of the Chickahominy Indians Tribe, Eastern Division. Although, my tribe has a robust history within the consortium of state-recognized Virginia tribes, finances can be an issue. As a result of my parent’s influence, I am currently in the process of helping evaluate the tribe’s budget and creating a financial plan in order to create a more sustainable budget.

This work includes creating a workshop to better educate young members of my tribe about post-secondary education, financial planning, and loan planning. I believe that this workshop will be the foundation for building a successful and stable tribal government and budget. This change will start with education and mentorship of future generations of the tribe.

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In the upcoming two years in graduate school, I look forward to learning and sharing more about budgeting and how finances can affect both the private and public sectors. As unforeseen economic events occur, financial literacy will be a crucial skillset and needs to be prioritized by leaders and citizens alike. Going forward, I’m excited to continue to utilize my gifts and abilities, and use my graduate school learnings to teach others about saving and budgeting.

I want to thank Paul for his essay on sharing a financial education to help others. Be sure to support Paul by sharing the article through social media and check in August for the winner of the personal finance scholarship.

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