With the financial know-how to succeed no matter the circumstances, 2020 Money Matters Ambassador Oluwatosin D. embarks this fall on her college journey and next step toward becoming a biomedical engineer. Oluwatosin, a graduate of Boys & Girls Clubs of Southern Nevada, will continue advocating for early financial literacy while attending University of Nevada, Reno.
Recently, Oluwatosin shared more about her financial education experience and offered advice for her peers. Get to know a little bit about her as you become more money wise. Her answers have been edited for length.
Why is it so important that young people have an early introduction to financial literacy?
It’s important for young people like me to have an early introduction to financial literacy because a lot of people have their first jobs in their teenage years. Having that knowledge of financial literacy will prepare them to be responsible with the money they earn as well as make decisions that will shape their future. For example, we may get a credit card now and start using it however we want. Not knowing how it will affect them in the future can be really negative.
What was the most important financial lesson you learned from the Money Matters program at your Club? Why was budgeting an important lesson to you personally?
The most important financial lesson I learned from Money Matters
is that it’s important to save your money because money grows over time. It’s always important to be in control of your money. No matter how much money anybody has – even if you are a celebrity – if you don’t budget, you won’t know where your money is going and you won’t know how it’s being controlled.
Budgeting is something that comes up in each lesson of Money Matters. For example, in the lesson on “needs versus wants,” it’s important to budget so you know how much you have for your needs. If you still have money for your wants, then you can get them. I have seen my mother budget a lot before, but when COVID-19 started, I saw my mom being a little bit more particular about how she manages her finances and how she’s looking at things we actually need in the house.
How have your spending and saving habits changed since participating in Money Matters?
My spending habits have changed because now I focus a lot more on my needs instead of my wants. In the past, if I wanted a pair of shoes, I bought them. Or if I wanted fast food, I bought it. But now I think about how saving this money can help me in the long run.
I put most of the money I earned from my internship into a certificate of deposit, which I learned about through Money Matters, so that it’s growing as we speak. I check on it from time to time just to see how it’s going. If I ever receive money as a holiday gift, it goes into my savings account.
What is one piece of advice that you would offer to other teens beginning their financial literacy journey?
One piece of advice I would offer to teens beginning their financial literacy journey would be to take it seriously. Teens may think it’s not that serious or they don’t need to do it. They may think it’s just about saving money, which is part of it but not the entirety. Or, they may feel like it’s too early for them to start. When you start in your teenage years, it becomes a habit you can implement in your daily life.
What education, career and personal goals are you working toward? How will Money Matters help you reach your goals?
My educational goal is to graduate with a bachelor's degree in biomedical engineering in four years and maintain a high GPA. My career goal is to be a biomedical engineer and be an expert in my field creating and researching devices that are life-enhancing or life-saving. My personal goal is to discover a breakthrough in the medical field to further quality of life and be a resource for other researchers in my field. Money Matters will help me reach my goals by giving me the knowledge to manage my money throughout my college years. During my career, it will help me stay organized and know my priorities.
As you begin college, how are you adjusting to changes brought by COVID-19?
I’ve stocked up on masks, face shields, hand sanitizer and cleaning supplies. My university has put in a lot of protocols to make sure students are safe, like halls that are special dorms for students who want to self-quarantine. Everybody has to wear a mask. They’ve put a lot in place to make sure everyone stays healthy and safe.
What’s one thing you would buy if cost was not a factor?
If I could buy a company that works on improvements in technology, that would be great. I feel like technology is the future so it would be really beneficial for me.
What is the best gift you ever received?
The best gift I ever received was my car. Even though it was passed down from my sister, it allowed me to have some sort of freedom. Especially since I went to a dual-credit high school, my college classes could be at any time. It just made things a lot easier with my family.
What are your favorite school subjects and why?
My favorite school subjects are math and chemistry. They are actually pretty similar, which is why I like them. They always lead up to one answer, unlike English which can have different answers depending on how you approach it. Knowing there’s only one possibility that the answer can be really keeps me calm.
Who is your role model?
My role model is Michelle Obama. I think she’s a good person for people my age to look up to. Since she was young, she’s been striving to be excellent. She went to Princeton and Harvard. During her time, being a Black woman probably would have been a big obstacle. Especially when her husband, Barack Obama, was running as president, there were a lot of stereotypes being thrown at her. But she overcame them and started a bunch of programs to help women and children.