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Unique class pays young adults to learn important money management skills

Posted at 2:40 PM, Apr 04, 2019

Its 5:30 p.m. and most of the 20 and 30-year-old students in this class have just come here from a day at work. But now, they’re here to learn the basics of buying auto insurance.

It’s part of a unique initiative called the 3rd Decade Program that teaches millennials all aspects of managing money that isn’t taught in school.

“I had no classes about any of the basics like this,” says Franklin Ventura, a student of the 3<sup>rd</sup> Decade Program.

Student Allison Spurgin feels the same way.

“No, I didn't learn any of this growing up,” Spurgin says. “My dad taught me how to write a check. Nobody told me how to do taxes. Buying a car was an adventure.”

The program gets its name because most of the students are in their 20’s.

“Those 10 years are when you can change your financial trajectory forever,” says Robert Swift, with Tucson-based TCI Wealth Advisors.

Swift started the nonprofit program a few years ago. The class covers everything from creating a budget to how to plan for retirement.

“Keeping it simple was very necessary to get this to work,” he says.

Another thing that keeps it working is that the program pays the students. Anyone who completes the four evening classes and passes the final test gets $1,000 in the form of a Roth Retirement Account.

“The donors of this program are basically investing $1,000, plus a little time to start a 25-year-old on a pretty cool track,” Swift says. “And I like to think of the implications of a whole generation kind of getting proper financial planning, what that can mean in 25 years.”

Now, to get the reward, students must currently have full-time jobs, rent or own a home and have a household income of less than $100,000.

Swift says in return, he gets his own reward.

“I like helping those people find that they have more money than they need,” he says.