Knowledge and Insights

Money$peak Expands, Maintains Focus on Retention and Real-Life Skills

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Money$peak is expanding its reach.

After a highly successful inaugural year, The Mercadien Foundation, in partnership with Rider University’s Graduate School of Business, now continues its highly acclaimed Money$peak program, expanding into Mercer’s bordering counties and opening to additional learning institutions like after-school programs and private or parochial schools.

What’s the most important set of skills for a high school student to learn before graduation?

Everyone can agree students must learn a variety of subjects, but personal financial literacy is their most direct point of access to the world, no matter their direction or post-graduation plans. With a solid understanding of finances and the necessary tools to take charge of them, a high school grad is in the driver’s seat.

New Jersey already requires public high schoolers to take one semester of personal finance in order to graduate, but the retention rate of the information learned is mediocre at best. Passive teaching methods typically have an information retention rate of 5 to 30%, while group work, practical applications and teaching others helps learners retain upwards of 90%.

Why does it work?

Money$peak works because it was developed with educators to fill gaps in the existing system of education and takes learned concepts and dives deeper. When a student learns information and takes a test, the information likely isn’t committed to long-term memory. When that same student learns the information, then works in a group to create a presentation to deliver to others, that same information becomes part of the student’s informational toolkit, accessible in real-life situations.

How does it work?

Students who are currently enrolled in or have already completed a personal finance course are eligible to participate, as an individual or on a team of two to four, to create a three- to five-minute presentation on one of ten topics relating to personal finance. Presentations may take any form, including a video, song, standup comedy routine or any other multimedia presentation that teaches the chosen concept. Each school will hold the first level of completion among its own students; the winning team from each school will represent its school in the final competition on June 1, 2016.

“While the personal finance curriculum standards began to change the conversation surrounding financial literacy education, students continue to need information that relates to their lives and to be able to connect to it in their own language,” according to Christopher Seiz, Executive Director of The Mercadien Foundation. “We are pleased to lead efforts and provide solutions that improve students’ financial literacy and capability, meet the needs of educators and administrators, and benefit the region.”

For more information on Money$peak and how to get involved, visit