Understanding how money works

DERON TALLEY, EDITOR @DeRonTalley
Cliff Ourso, State Farm Agent in Donaldsonville, and the Bayou Lafourche Area Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. hosted a financial seminar for high school seniors last week at the Ascension Parish Library in Donaldsonville.

The basic premise of why the ancient pyramids are still standing in Egypt so many years later is because the foundation was built properly. Donaldsonville State Farm Agent Cliff Ourso said it’s no different in your financial world.

“If you don’t build your foundation right, if you don’t do the basic fundamental things right, and that’s in anything by the way, the entire thing will collapse,” Ourso said.

Ourso and the Bayou Lafourche Area Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. hosted a financial seminar for high school seniors last week at the Ascension Parish Library in Donaldsonville.

Ourso talked about the foundation in investing and in financing to a small crowd but to educate one is to educate all.  He also talked about having an emergency savings.

“The best example is that you’ve developed the financial discipline to save for the new house, new car, retirement and then an emergency pops up,” Ourso said. “Guess what you’re doing, you have to go take it out the pot and take care of the emergency.”

“You have to accumulate enough cash on the sidelines for emergency purposes that’s designated for that,” Ourso said. “You want to accumulate three to six months of your monthly income for emergency purposes.”

He also informed the group there is nothing wrong with debt; instead the problem is unmanaged debt. He talked about the importance of a credit score and that it not only can prevent you from getting a good loan, but also “can prevent you from getting a good job today.”

“I had to open up my entire financial world to State Farm so they could check everything I did,” Ourso said. “If you have a black eye on credit, you’re not getting a license like I have. They won’t even hire you.”

“The bottom line is you have to know what’s going in and coming out and you have to live within your means.”

“It’s the financial discipline that we fail to learn early that hurts us. It’s imperative that they learn it now,” Ourso said.

Bayou Lafourche Area Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. Robyn Penn Delaney said the idea to host the seminar came up last year when Soroir Wanda August’s son was going off to college and didn’t know about college after a similar program was held last year for adults.

“We just wanted to give basic information on finances, not financial aid because they do that at school,” Delaney said. “It’s to teach them how to protect their bank accounts and how to handle those credit cards when they start coming in the mail.”

August, who is also a member of the Bayou Lafourche Area Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., said it has always been the chapter’s desire to empower and advocate the community.

“We realize the importance of doing these things as early as possible so they can make better decisions when it comes to finances and different things that they may not be aware of,” August said.

August, who is also a Parent Facilitator for the Ascension Parish School Board, said the counselors at the schools help the students fill out their financial aid forms and teach them about how those work, “this seminar was just another way to connect the community and get them involved.”

August added, the chapter is looking at making a direct approach to the students and “one of those things that we’ve discussed is possibly starting with students in eighth grade.”

“We’ll be talking to Ms. Nicole Grimes, the principal at Lowery Middle School, and targeting the eighth grade population,” August said. “So, when they make that transition to high school, keep building and educating them regarding finances.”