When the news about GameStop’s spiking stock took over social media, Cristo Rey students took notice. Assistant Principal Kate Schulte, who also moderates the Personal Finance Club, was quickly approached by a senior student asking questions. Ms. Schulte had an inclination that other students were curious as well, so she put together an informational meeting to address students’ inquiries. History teacher Dennis Moller, who always enjoys talking about finances, the economy, and its effect on history, also jumped on board.
The two were joined by Cristo Rey alumni Omar Flores ’09, current CDO Analyst Principal at US Bank, and Rachel Romero ‘18, current UIC student majoring in finance, to speak about the basics of investing. Together, they spent more than an hour last Friday answering questions and engaging in conversation with more than curious 30 students of all grade levels.
Through the Personal Finance Club, Ms. Schulte teaches students that “learning about your finances and how to be financially stable is essential to living a healthy and prosperous life.” She was happy to provide this special outlet for students during this very teachable moment: “I have been proud of what my financial math students have learned and continue to learn after Cristo Rey and was glad that we could offer this Stock Market 101 session during a year that has been like no other!”
Omar, Rachel, and students Diego M. and Daniel K. shared their thoughts about investing:
Omar Flores, Class of 2009, CDO Analyst Principal at US Bank: “When I was in school, I didn’t have anyone who could teach me about finances. That’s one of the reasons I went into finance and economics. The reason why learning to budget, save, and invest is so important is that building wealth allows you to have options in your future. Whether you want to buy a car or home, save for retirement, or become financially independent, learning to save and invest will help give you those options and open doors for you. Many people at a young age don’t think about saving. When they first get a job, they start to spend what they earn and then they don’t develop the skills to be financially stable. As a wise man once said, ‘Live like no one else now, so you can live like no one else later.’”
Rachel Romero, Class of 2018, finance major at UIC: “Having an understanding of financial literacy is advantageous in everyday life. I remember one of the first exercises of being in the Investment Club at CR with Ms. Schulte was to distinguish our needs from our wants. Learning more about how there is good debt, which is an investment, or bad debt like a liability. This understanding is a vital tool for budgeting your finances. Being able to understand your financials is beneficial for the long run when planning out expenses for your future goals. Also, you may find yourself really enjoying learning about finances or you may enjoy the adrenaline of taking educated risks in trading investments. Investment club helped me discover this passion and I hope it can for other CR students as well!”
Diego M. Class of 2021: “I believe that schools should teach financial concepts at a young age to promote economic success. My first introduction to finances was in eighth grade when an investor from Big Shoulders taught a class about stocks. I could not believe that there was a method to make money without working at a job. This experience changed my perspective about money and motivated me to find ways to create wealth without "working." I decided to create a business and invest in financial books to educate myself. I think it is never too late to be financially educated and I encourage others to learn about finance. I believe financial education is vital because it sharpens decision-making skills, negotiating skills, and leads to a better lifestyle.”
Daniel K., Class of 2023: "I think knowledge of finance is powerful because it doesn't take a long time to learn the basics and can be used in your everyday life to improve your overall well-being. Believe it or not, a 15-minute conversation about finance at a young age can be the leading factor that turns you into a millionaire when you are older. I started studying finance at 13 years old, and to be honest, I wish I would have started even earlier. If you want to find out why I started so early, and why I wish I would've started even earlier, you’re simply going to have to start investing and getting into the world of finance. That's the only way you will get a true understanding.”