MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - When it comes to managing your money, if you don't remember the basics, you could find yourself in trouble. Local high school students are learning that lesson even before they're out on their own. And it's a lesson we all can benefit from.
The students at Montgomery's Sydney Lanier High School are learning everything there is to know about money.
"They need to know how to handle their personal affairs," explained finance instructor Jackqueline Washington.
Washington says it's information some students wouldn't get anywhere else.
"We have had students in the past who have taught their parents about money management," she said.
In fact, what the students Sydney Lanier are leaning, many adults don't remember. So we asked them to give us a refresher course if you will -- a personal finance 101.
Discipline is the key word -- creating a budget that includes decreased spending and increased saving.
Ms. Washington tells students save at least 5% of their income no matter what, then increase that amount as their incomes rise.
Credit cards are another topic of discussion, both the negative aspects...
"We talk about the percentages and the fees," Washington said.
And the positive aspects...
"Credit cards are a good thing to have because you build your credit and can get a car loan with no down payment," explained 11th grader Jerome Grove. "They can also help you when you buy your first house."
Grove is also learning how to invest his money in Sydney Lanier's one-of-a-kind investment club.
"It's the richest club on campus," jokes Ms. Washington.
The decline in the stock market last year was a big lesson for the club, which uses real money and gets real results.
"Last year, the students said, 'we're not going to put money in stocks. We're going to get a certificate of deposit,'" Washington recalls.
The Adams Foundation donates the money the investment club uses. In return, the students agree to donate 10% of their earnings to charity. After starting with a couple thousand dollars a few years ago, the club's portfolio is now up to $10,000.
The students are learning lessons designed to prepare them for the real world. But they're also lessons all of us should remember.