A Student’s Take on Financial Literacy

Ben Haideri, a senior at Boston Latin Academy and 2013 Summer Jobs Student, shared his experience in the M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program last summer, answered Janet Bostwick's questions about the Program at the 10th Anniversary Celebration.

Ben Haideri, a senior at Boston Latin Academy and 2013 Summer Jobs Student, shared his experience in the M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program last summer, answered Janet Bostwick’s questions about the Program at the 10th Anniversary Celebration.

At last week’s 10th Anniversary Celebration of the M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program, guests got to enjoy a unique experience, seeing the effects of the Program in front of their eyes. Ben Haideri, one of the 4,000 students who have participated in M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program since the program began, agreed shared his experience in the Program with party attendees. You may remember Ben (who is a senior at Boston Latin Academy and 2013 Summer Jobs student) from this article or this article—he’s a bit of a legend at the BBA. He took part in the Program during the 2013 Summer Jobs Program, when it was offered as a series of enrichment seminars.

Take a firsthand look at what he had to say:

Beyond the Billable also sat down with him to gain a deeper understanding of what he took away from the Program. Here’s what he had to say:

 How have you applied what you learned from the program?

“There are very few programs from which the participants are able to literally walk right out and apply what they learned that very day. The financial literacy program through the BBA, however, stands out as being extremely effective in that regard. Between the day that I participated in the first seminar and now, I have opened a checking and savings account and, more recently, got my first credit card. I don’t believe that I would have been so confident yet careful with such tools that I had at my disposal had it not been for the program.”

What did you like best about the program?

“This program very much epitomizes the learning experience of a student in that it offers the perfect balance between reality and practice. The guest workshop leaders were all professionals who had experience in whatever field they were teaching about, and the financial literacy workbook was just that, a workbook. It combined practice problems that we will most likely face in real life with explanations that are thorough and extensive, attributes that are perfect for those who are learning about financial literacy.”

What do you think was the most important thing you learned?

“The one lesson that stood out the most to me was the one about using credit cards. It may be because I have grown up during a time of general distrust when it comes to dealing with large banks, but I went into the lesson thinking (probably like most people) that credit cards always came with a catch, and in terms of society, seem to have a very negative connotation. Although the credit card companies can be tricky, what I got out of the lesson was just simply to not bite off more than you can chew when dealing with credit cards. The second someone does that he/she is already headed down a slippery slope. The fact is that very few people are able to use cash to buy a car, a house, or even a couch, so, when used responsibly, a credit card, I learned, is a tool that can do a lot of good.“

Is there anything you found particularly useful?

“I very much enjoyed visiting the Bankruptcy Court through the program. While visiting the court, we heard from lawyers and a judge, and it was an amazing experience to be in the presence of people who I look up to. Apart from the experience itself, I would say that since my goal is to become a lawyer, being able to see such people in action is something that I will always find useful.”