Future millionaires sighted!

Not many young people would give up their Sunday evenings to attend a meeting, but 20 Leelanau County youth have been doing just that in hopes of becoming millionaires by saving regularly, making sound financial decisions and investing wisely.

Not many young people would give up their Sunday evenings to attend a meeting, but 20 Leelanau County youth have been doing just that in hopes of becoming millionaires – not by winning a game show, but by saving regularly, making sound financial decisions and investing wisely. Those are the skills that 4-H members are learning in the 4-H Millionaires Club.

Participants are sixth- through eighth-grade students from all five middle schools in the county. They attend six meetings per school year for three years. During the two-hour meetings, youth and their parents (who are required to attend with their children) participate in activities, discussions, role-playing, online computer work, simulations and homework. Parents often meet separately and listen to speakers on Earned Income Credit, insurance, identity theft, budgeting and investigating. Dinner is provided at each session with churches taking turns providing the meals.

Knowledge isn’t the only thing these 4-H members are gaining. By participating in the 4-H Millionaires Club, students receive $53 to open a bank account at the Suttons Bay branch of Fifth Third Bank (Fifth Third will donate the $53 for each student). For each meeting a student attends, they earn money which will be added to their bank account ($5 the first year, $8 the second year and $10 the third year). Parents also receive a $10 gas card each time they attend the training, whether they drive or not. Students may also add to their bank accounts – $5 each meeting. In fact, the superintendents at the five schools in Leelanau County offered to “hire” students to work in the cafeteria and/or school garden so that they can earn the $5 for each meeting.

At the end of their first year of the financial literacy program, the students have accumulated more than $110 in their individual savings accounts – and lots of information in their heads. If they keep attending each session over the next two years, members have the potential to earn as much as $461 total!

When students were asked what one skill they will use right away, one student said, “To make wise spending decisions.” Parents are very pleased as well with the turnout over the first year. One parent was happy to report that her son “doesn’t ask for money; he wants to earn it.” Another parent summed it up, saying, “Teaching kids about money at this age has been good. Keep it going. The more they hear it, the better their future will be.”

The 4-H Millionaires Club has also offered new and previously unlikely adventures for the students. Four of the members participated in this year’s 4-H Exploration Days and three of those four took the “Mad City Money” (financial literacy) class.

The 4-H Millionaires Club is supported by a $1,800 4-H participation fee grant, as well as grants from Fifth Third Bank and the Suttons Bay-Leelanau County Rotary Club.

Did you find this article useful?


You Might Also Be Interested In