Member News

Financial Boot Camp Includes First-Time-Ever Student Panel!

Branchburg, NJ – On August 2nd, the NJCFE held the second of two Financial Literacy Boot Camps at Raritan Valley Community College. The day was packed full of games, presentations, and discussions about teaching financial literacy in high schools and colleges. The majority of the attendees were personal inance educators looking to gain new perspectives on how to make their teaching more relatable. Dr. Barbara O’Neill kicked off the symposium by discussing recent research done in the area of personal finance. This was followed by a presentation by Tim Ranzetta of Next Gen Personal Finance, who highlighted his work in bringing personal finance resources to everyone.

The New Jersey Coalition for Financial Education (NJCFE) hosted its first ever Kid’s Camp to educate the children about personal finance.  The Camp was hosted by “CheckMate” founders Jackie and Gary Fletcher.  CheckMate is a non-profit organization that teaches kindergarten to high school students the basics of personal finance. The “kids” were taught a wide range of financial lessons from counting coins to understanding the importance of saving money. They learned how to write a check and even how to balance a checkbook (pictured top center). The discussions focused heavily on the financial basics of how to budget money and how to differ between wants and needs.  “Kids” of all ages attended the camp and as a result are better prepared to make smart financial decisions. The camp wasn’t all just numbers and budgeting, it also included all-you-can- eat ice cream that was a highlight for all youngsters who attended.

We would like to give special thanks to CheckMate for bringing financial education to New Jersey’s youth.

We hope to see everyone again next year’s Kids Camp

Teaching 'Life Skills 101'

Each month we feature some of our most innovative and dedicated educators and the work they’re doing in classrooms across the country to make #afinlitfuture a reality. Contact Heather McElrath with any questions or to suggest an outstanding teacher.

Teacher: John Dudley
School: East Side High School (Newark, NJ)
Subject:  Financial Literacy, Economics and U.S. History 2

(He’s also the Boy’s Lacrosse Coach.)
Grade Level:  Juniors and Seniors

State Financial Education Requirement: New Jersey does require a half-year of financial education for graduation. However, John says, at his school, it’s structured over the whole year, which gives his students more opportunity to digest the information.

Why Personal Finance: John was recruited by a colleague to teach the class because his life experiences had prepared him for it. He can give students advice on what and what not to do.

Why Teaching: While John has been working in schools for 24 years, and his mother was a teacher for 40 years – it wasn’t his goal, but it has turned into a passion. (We’ll address this more in “His Story” below.) 

Resources:  John said he and the other personal finance teachers in his school create their own resources – primarily because they not only have to be translated into Spanish, but also Portuguese. And, those translations are done by his colleagues. However, they do augment their lessons with resources from and NextGen Personal Finance.

Financial Education Teacher Exchange 2017: Teachers Teaching Teachers to Teach Personal Finance

Teachers from across New Jersey discussed methods for teaching financial literacy and find new-resources to use in your classroom.  Instead of “typical” workshops with a series of speakers, teachers taught each other through a series of facilitated small group information sharing activities.  The event was hosted by New Jersey Credit Union and moderated by Dr. Barbara O’Neill.

Essex County College Third Annual Financial Literacy Conference

NJCFE and NJSaves staff took part in the Essex County College Third Annual Financial Literacy Conference on April 5, 2016 to speak to college students about financial literacy.  Richard Badolato, New Jersey’s Commissioner of Banking and Insurance, was the keynote speaker

Congratulations to Professor Jean-Wilner Alexandre, Assistant Professor of Economics and Finance and NJCFE member for coordinating the Financial Literacy Conference.

Executive Director Michael Drulis participated in a panel discussion on the importance of financial literacy.  Drulis was joined by Wayne Smith, Community/Business Development Specialist, BCB Community Bank, and Sunny Newsome, Founder of Teach Everyone About Money, LLC.  The panel answered questions from the audience regarding credit, student loans, credit cards, and cyber security.

The Society for Financial Education and Professional Development, Inc.

Based in Arlington, Va., the mission of theSociety for Financial Education and Professional Development, Inc.(SFEPD) is to enhance the level of financial and economic literacy of individuals and households in the United States. SFEPD is a nationally recognized financial literacy and professional development organization.

Mind Over Money Skills Financial Literacy Program
“Mind Over Money Skills,” is a series of financial literacy seminars, presented to college and university students. The seminars expose individuals to the fundamentals and strategies of personal financial management. Each curriculum/seminar is unique in that it is culturally relevant and focuses on topics and factors that individuals experience in everyday life. The goal of the financial literacy program is to enable individuals to make informed decisions during their lifetime regarding:

  • banking
  • spending
  • saving
  • investing
  • credit
  • risk management

In the “Personal Money Management” and “Credit Management” seminars—included in the “Mind Over Money Skills” financial literacy program—the topics range from the issues individuals face daily: credit, banking, budgeting, saving, investing, and insurance; to those that they must plan for in the coming years: homeownership, retirement planning, and estate planning.

Community Seminars and Workshops
SFEPD offers face-to-face personal financial education seminars and workshops to individuals of low-to-moderate incomes who live in communities located in several states. Individuals who attend the seminars and workshops are exposed to the practical application of personal financial management concepts.

Financial Success Quarterly Newsletter
The quarterly newsletter provides articles that cover a wide variety of financial planning topics, such as: establishing financial goals and following economic trends; to retirement planning and investments. The newsletter is downloadable from the organization web site—

Annual Financial Literacy Leadership Conference
This professional development conference serves as a forum for financial educators and other professionals to come together to increase their knowledge, establish new partnerships, and develop strategies and networks, in order to increase the financial literacy of Americans. Financial educators, policymakers and researchers recognize the professional development conference as a venue of choice.

Seventh Annual Financial Literacy Leadership Conference
SFEPD will host the Seventh Annual Financial Literacy Leadership Conference on September 29-30, 2014, at the Hilton Crystal City at Washington Reagan National Airport. The conference theme is “Financial Literacy: Research, Techniques, and Initiatives” and will offer attendees the opportunity to hear guest speakers and key panelists, as well as to present their own perspectives and interests regarding effective financial education delivery. Interested parties can register at

To ensure the accomplishment of its mission, SFEPD seeks partners to expand its programs to corporate, government institutions, and underserved groups. In addition, sponsorship of the annual conference is a sure way to increase awareness of your organization and commitment to financial literacy. Organizations can sponsor a specific general session, a workshop, a break, or the luncheon.

Theodore R. Daniels
President and CEO

Una Daniels-Edwards
Vice President, Program Management

The Society for Financial Education and Professional Development, Inc.
2120 Washington Blvd.
Suite 400
Arlington, VA 22204
Phone: 703.920.3807