4-H Smart Money Contests for youth pay off

Win some money by investing in yourself during National Financial Literacy Month.

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April is National Financial Literacy Month, and in celebration, Michigan State University Extension 4-H Youth Development has been offering Smart Money Contests since 2019. In April, Michigan youth can win cash prizes by competing in the Cash Composition Contest or the Show Your Money Smarts Contest with different financial themes each year.

These Smart Money Contests are not only a great opportunity for Michigan youth to win money, but also a fun way to learn about financial topics. All Michigan youth between the ages of 9-19, whether they are enrolled in 4-H or not, are encouraged to participate. The Cash Composition Contest is open to youth 9-12 years old while the Show Your Money Smarts Contest is for 13-19 year old teens.

“This opportunity has been beneficial to me in many ways, including learning from research and working on my writing and interview skills,” said Harper-Jane, a past Smart Money Cash Composition Contest participant who currently serves as a 4-H Money Smart Youth Ambassador, a leadership program for young people interested in sharing their financial knowledge with their peers. “I have enjoyed and acquired knowledge from every step in this wonderful experience. I am grateful to partake in the varied opportunities offered by 4-H.”

In addition to these contests, MSU Extension has many youth money management programs offered throughout the year, both in person as well as virtually. Most recently, through a grant from the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, ten online courses were developed specifically for teens. These free classes utilize Nearpod, an interactive platform that features polling, question boards, videos, matching pairs, and other tools to make learning fun. Through the online classes, teens can explore topics such as avoiding money mishaps, investing and risk, budgeting, credit, keeping out of debt and more, whenever it is convenient for them.  

These programs meet a need for young people as it is not uncommon for youth to have financial concerns for their future. According to a recent survey by Junior Achievement, some of young people’s top concerns included paying for college (47%), not being able to afford to live on their own (45%), paying taxes (43%) and finding a fulfilling, well-paying job (40%). By participating in these contests and programs, youth will learn about saving, investing, and how to become financially fit for the future.

For more information, please contact Kathy Jamieson at jamies13@msu.edu or Laurie Rivetto at rivettoL@msu.edu.

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