Financial education prepares high school students to make better decisions

NORTH MIAMI, Fla. – Stuart Rohatiner organized a team of personal finance experts to help dozens of students in Miami-Dade County to be prepared for their future with knowledge on how to create a budget, how to manage a portfolio, and how to invest in the stock market.

Rohatiner, a partner at Gerson Preston, is a lawyer and a certified public accountant with more than 25 years of experience. He advises international and domestic corporations, business owners, and investors.

Rohatiner’s recent tip while at Alonzo and Tracy Mourning Sr. High in North Miami: “Try to put 10% or 15% away of your money in savings, whether it’s 401(k), maybe another 5% or 10% investing of your own savings, so you have access to that, and have a clear plan.”

Rocio Sosa, 17, said she found the class with Rohatiner very helpful. She dreams of becoming an archaeologist and her top pick is Cornell University. To get there, she said she is going to start making transfers from a checking account to a saving account, so she can start accruing interest.

“I have to start applying and start saving up,” Sosa said, adding, “I thought it was really informative. I mean, I never really have been interested in finance, but then I realize how important it is for the future.”

Rohatiner also cited a 2018 study by the U.S. Financial Literacy and Education Commission that found only one-third of American adults could answer the majority of questions on fundamental financial concepts.

“It’s not, obviously, a good thing,” Rohatiner said.

Rohatiner said he is working on a letter to petition the legislature to make financial education a mandatory component of the curriculum of all high schools in Florida. Black and Hispanic adults tend to have low financial literacy scores and he said he wants to change that through education.

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