Knowledge and Insights

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


Money$peak is expanding its reach.

The Mercadien Foundation, in partnership with Rider University’s Graduate School of Business, concluded its second year of the Money$peak program in June 2016 with great success and huge acclaim, working with six central New Jersey school districts and advancing personal financial literacy for more than 250 students. Money$peak now continues its great work while expanding into new districts and opening the program to additional learning institutions, e.g. 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 should 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 personal financial management and the necessary tools to take charge of their own financial position, a high school graduate is in the driver’s seat.

New Jersey already requires all 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%. Money$peak works because the information sticks.

Why does it work?

Money$peak was developed with educators to fill gaps in the existing system of education and takes learned concepts deeper into understanding. 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 in June of 2017.

“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