Celebrities, Financial Experts, & Educators Team Up to Bring Financial Literacy to Florida Students

By Spencer Hulse Spencer Hulse has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team
Published on July 27, 2023

As the Florida Department of Education, with the help of a group of educators and financial experts, nears completion of its new financial literacy curriculum for all schools in the state, another group has stepped up to help ensure that students get the most out of it. 

That second group consists of celebrity musicians, actors, athletes, and business leaders. 

While this may seem to be an unlikely alliance, it actually makes a lot of sense because many students perceive their parents, teachers, and other adults in their lives as “out of touch,” so they’re often reluctant to listen to what they have to say. They think they don’t need to worry about learning financial literacy because a lack of real-world experience leads them to believe that they’ll be the next big star and that money will just come rolling in as a result. They don’t realize that is statistically unlikely and that financial literacy is essential, regardless of how much money they might earn.

That’s where these celebrities come in. 

They’re the people these students look up to, whether it’s a baseball star like Aaron Judge, who recently landed a massive $360 million contract, a billionaire business icon like Mark Cuban, who has generated billions of dollars of revenue throughout his career, or a famous movie star like Dwayne Johnson, who earns multi-millions in each acting role. They’re seen as “cool” by the students and are objectively ultra-successful, so what they say carries more weight.

Dr. David Phelps, a noted financial expert and one of the people on the 13-member working group, who helped the Department of Education develop the new financial literacy curriculum, says this facet of the program is essential to its success.

“My entire business is built on teaching financial literacy to empower people to build true generational wealth and financial independence, so I know first hand how challenging this can be. I also know that most people don’t understand the topic, and to make matters worse, they believe they do. There was a study by the Milken Institute that showed a shocking 43% of Americans today are not financially literate. That gives people a false sense of security that leads to poor financial decisions which can take years to recover from,” he explained.

Kim Kiyosaki, co-founder and CEO of The Rich Dad Company and a member of the working group, added, “Money is a life skill. We use it every day. Yet, kids come out of high school with no idea how to use, manage, and much-less grow the money they earn. Why most schools do not teach kids about money is a mystery. Unfortunately, it is because of the lack of financial literacy that so many adults struggle financially. One survey revealed that 64% of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck. I applaud the state of Florida for requiring that every high school student complete a financially literacy course. I trust more and more states will follow.”

Phelps went on to say, “We could talk until we’re blue in the face and never get through to a large portion of these kids, but these larger than life celebrities, they absolutely can. It’s a team effort. The working group that the Florida DOE put together is made up of financial and education experts who can teach the students what they need to know, and these celebrities can get them to listen with an open mind. It’s a powerful combination.”

Mario Henry, who played in the NFL in the 90s and is now helping to get students to understand the importance of financial literacy, learned these lessons himself the hard way when he went broke less than two years after retiring from the NFL. 

“I thought I was on top of the world because when I was in the NFL, I could buy anything, but once I got out and basically got laughed out of a car dealership because my credit was trash, I realized that I had to become financially literate — especially now that I didn’t have the NFL to co-sign for me anymore,” Henry said. 

So far, some of the celebrities who have rallied to support the Florida Department of Education’s mission to teach future generations sound financial literacy principles include:

  • Mark Cuban — One of the original Sharks on the hit TV show Shark Tank, entrepreneur, and venture capitalist.
  • Kim Kiyosaki — Co-founder and CEO of The Rich Dad Company, author, speaker, and real estate investor.
  • Charles Payne — Host of the TV show Making Money with Charles Payne on Fox Business, author, and entrepreneur.
  • Lori Greymont — Creator of the real estate TV show Funding Faceoff, real estate investor, and entrepreneur.
  • Mario Henry — Former wide receiver with the NFL’s New England Patriots and current entrepreneur and investor.
  • Dean Rogers — Former tight end and fullback with the NFL’s San Diego Chargers and current real estate investor and entrepreneur.

The working group has been meeting each week since October of last year to develop and refine this curriculum, which recently entered the public comment phase, where Florida residents had the opportunity to share feedback.

Phelps says, “It’s an honor to support such a worthy cause because with a solid financial literacy foundation in place, these students will be educated and equipped to change the financial trajectory of their families for the better. This will improve the lives of countless Floridians for decades to come. I applaud the folks at the Department of Education and members of the working group for all of the hard work they’ve done behind the scenes to make this happen, as well as Governor DeSantis for making this initiative a top priority.

By Spencer Hulse Spencer Hulse has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team

Spencer Hulse is the Editorial Director at Grit Daily. He is responsible for overseeing other editors and writers, day-to-day operations, and covering breaking news.

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