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Teaching youngsters the financial basics

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Money mentor: Shantel DeShield is teaching financial skills through her new business Pocket Change Bda (Photograph by Jessie Moniz Hardy)
Shantel DeShield of Pocket Change Bda

As a high school teacher Shantel DeShield often sees students who define success by what they own: expensive phones, jewellery or brand name accessories.

Ms DeShield often asks students: “Is it better to look rich or be rich?”

Concerned that many of Bermuda’s youngsters are not getting the financial education they need, she launched Pocket Change Bda, a business offering financial literacy classes, workshops and camps to students of all ages.

Her first course, Money Academy, kicks off next week.

“When I graduated from college and came home to Bermuda, the first thing I did was buy a new car,” she said. “I thought, I earned this.”

And she wanted to look like she had arrived. She wishes now she had saved her money or gone for a cheaper option. She had to take out a loan and pay interest to buy that car.

“I eventually sold it,” she said. “I bought a second-hand car for $2,000.”

In addition to running Pocket Change Bda, she teaches health and physical education at the Berkeley Institute and also works part-time at People’s Pharmacy.

Ms DeShield wanted to share what she has learnt about financial strategising in the last 15 years.

“It is just about educating children on 21st-century financial matters,” she said.

Ms DeShield said one of the most important skills teens need to learn is how to delay gratification.

“That is something that is very important, especially when on social media platforms children see, on a regular basis, the clothes, the shoes, the money,” she said. “Don’t buy the shoes today if you only have $500 in the bank. If you can grow that money, in a year you can buy those shoes and be in a better position financially.”

Growing up, Ms DeShield was taught to save, save, save, but she thought real financial education goes deeper than that.

“Yes, you should save but you should also grow your money,” she said. “You should also want the money that you have to become more money. I was never taught how to do that when I was a kid.

“That, to me, is something I would love to pass on to generations to follow so that they can attain financial freedom and generational wealth.”

She said the earlier people start strategically managing their finances, the better off they will be.

“I think that entrepreneurship is the essence of financial freedom and generational wealth,” she said. “I think it is empowering at the same time.”

She said that sometimes money is considered a taboo subject in Bermuda’s black community and is even considered “evil” by some people.

“Money can be an evil but it can also be a great thing,” she said. “Money creates opportunity. If you don’t have money there are certain things you can’t do. That is a fact.”

To create Money Academy, she liaised with other educators from around the world.

“There has been a lot of interest in it internationally,” she said. “There is nothing in this that is specific to Bermuda. It is for all students.”

Her hope is that Pocket Change Bda is able to grow and expand so that she can reach children from the age of five up to adults.

“I will be doing some adult workshops,” she said.

The course will be offered online to interested parties overseas, but local people will take it in person.

“I think you make more of an impact when you talk to someone face-to-face,” she said.

The first Money Academy course is open to students ages 12 to 16. It will be held from 4.30 to 5.30pm, for five weeks every Monday, starting on November 2, at Concierge Suites, in the FedEx Building at 3 Mills Creek Road in Pembroke. The cost is $125.

For more information see www.pocketchangebda.com or Pocket Change Bda on Facebook and Instagram. To enrol e-mail pocketchangebda@gmail.com by October 31 or call 335-1111

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Published October 30, 2020 at 8:00 am (Updated October 29, 2020 at 9:48 pm)

Teaching youngsters the financial basics

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