Music Contest Helps Teach Kids About Money Management

Music Contest Helps Teach Kids About Money Management

Charles Schwab and Boys & Girls Club of America join forces to teach kids about financial literacy through hip hop music.

Published December 13, 2012

What's your spending plan? Do you know how you're going to pay for college? What about that car you'd like to buy, how will you pay for it?

According to a Charles Schwab 2011 Teens and Money Survey, 75 percent of teens say learning about money management is one of their top priorities and that, while 77 percent believe they're financially savvy, only 35 percent knew how to manage a credit card. If you don't have an answer or want help learning more about money management, the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, along with the Charles Schwab Foundation, may be able to help.

The two organizations are taking submissions for their Money Matters Music Mogul (M4) contest, which helps spread financial knowledge through creativity and hip hop. M4 builds on the Money Matters: Make It Count program that teaches young people basic money-managing skills at more than 2,900 Boys & Girls Clubs around the country.

Through the M4 contest, teens are challenged to take what they've learned in the Money Matters program and write an original song using beats created by Grammy-nominated producer Kevin "Khao" Cates, who will then professionally produce the winner's song and music video in Atlanta.

"I really like how this project sheds light on Charles Schwab where, in most cases, you think financial institution and you think older people and banking and it has nothing to do with kids," Cates told

Cates, who joined the organization's efforts last year to brainstorm ways to get kids interested in financial literacy, is also the founder of Bridge Da Gap, a curriculum, DVD and textbook designed to teach youth various life skills like self-determination, anger management, patience and dealing with loss through music. The program has been implemented at the Boys & Girls Club and schools throughout the U.S.

In its first year, the M4 contest received more than 50 song entries and 142,000 votes for the top five finalists. In the end, 16-year-old Syretha Shirley's song, "Time is Money," won the top prize.

"I've learned to distinguish the differences between my needs and my wants because at one time I used to think I needed certain things when I really didn't," Shirley said. "I felt like 'I need an iPad or I need some new shoes because I'm going to die if I don't have any new shoes.' It is knowing the difference as far as that and being responsible with your money. Now I have a job and I'm actually saving my money for a car instead of [saying] when I get my first check, 'Oh, I'm going out and I'm buying this and buying that.'"

For this year's contest, the grand-prize winner will receive a $1,000 scholarship and $1,000 for their BGCA club and the opportunity to record their song and create a music video. Four finalists will receive $500 each.

To submit your entry, visit for more details. Submissions are due by Dec. 14.

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(Photo: JGI / Jamie Grill / Getty Images)

Written by Dorkys Ramos


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