JACKSON, Tenn. — Local high school students learn how to manage money as a software program teaches them how to avoid financial mistakes.
Brett Heinemeyer teaches a personal finance course at Liberty Tech Magnet High School in Jackson that shows students how to budget, save and spend money. “This is definitely helping them prepare for the real world,” he said.
Banzai, an online software program, forces students to make real-life financial decisions like pay rent and buy food, then figure out how to cover the expense. “It made them think about where to save and where to take money from,” Heinemeyer said.
Eric Cross, a senior, said the course opened his eyes. “Coming from living with your mom or your dad and not having to pay any bills really to one day you have to pay all the bills, and if you don’t you’ll be out in the cold,” he said.
First Citizens National Bank pays for the material and software. The bank said they sponsor the program in 72 schools across the state and served about 2,100 students last year.
“It really does make it fun for them to learn these topics,” First Citizens National Bank Vice President and Branch Manager Karen Freeman said. “I want them to feel comfortable with the basics or the terminology with it that they’re going to encounter.”
Heinemeyer said everything students encounter in the online program they also will face in the real world. “Hopefully they won’t make that mistake in real life,” he said.
Freeman said the bank started sponsoring the Banzai program in 2011 and already has served nearly 8,000 students.
Teachers interested in using the Banzai program can visit teachbanzai.com or call 888-8-BANZAI.