Empowering the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Community with ABLE Accounts: Insights from CSD Learns and NAST Webinar

CSD Learns hosted a webinar on February 22, 2023, with National Association of State Treasurers (NAST) focused on introducing ABLE accounts and how it benefits the deaf and hard of hearing community. This webinar was hosted in part of the partnership announcement between CSD Learns and NAST earlier in the month on the creation of a webcast video explaining ABLE accounts in American Sign Language.  

The webinar is now available for those who missed it.

https://youtube.com/watch?v=EG95nVa5y6s%3Ffeature%3Doembed

The webinar was hosted by Eric Ochmanek, Program Director of ABLE today, and Megan Klusza, on the behalf of CSD Learns. Eric and Megan covered the basics of ABLE accounts and showed clips of the 29-minute webcast*. They also answered live questions from the audience. The goal of this event was to provide information to individuals with disabilities, their families, and professionals who support them.  

*The webcast is available with Spanish subtitles.  

What are ABLE accounts? 

Created by the federal government in 2014, ABLE accounts are tax-advantaged savings accounts that allow individuals with disabilities to save for qualified disability expenses without affecting their eligibility for government benefits. Funds in an ABLE account are tax-free and can be used for a variety of expenses related to the individual’s disability.  

How to Qualify and Get an ABLE Account 

Individuals must have a disability that occurred before the age of 26 to be eligible for an ABLE account. It must be a long term disability and in addition, one of the following criteria must be met: 

(1) you are eligible to receive SSI or SSDI; 

(2) you have a condition on the SSA’s List of Compassionate Allowances Conditions;  

OR 

(3) you have a written diagnosis from a doctor* 

*Taken from https://www.abletoday.org/faqs 

When ready, choose a state program and open an account through the program’s website. To get started, go to NAST’s website and choose your state for the next steps.  

To watch the full webcast video on ABLE account in ASL, watch below:

An Educator Webinar: Getting on the Right Track

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Getting on the Right Track: Advice from a Financial Advisor

On Thursday, April 15th, co-hosts Todd Bonheyo and MaryEllen Graham close out their Best Practices in Financial Education series, reflecting on the lessons learned, taking audience questions, and inviting special guest Carah Berry to join them. Previously a teacher at Kansas School for the Deaf and now a financial advisor at Edward Jones, Carah provides valuable insight into both deaf education and personal finance topics.

Want to get a 360-degree view on how personal finance education can affect your students?? Watch a recording of the webinar here:

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This webinar was funded by the Wells Fargo Foundation

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Interested in more resources that can support you in and outside the classroom?

Find links to studies, apps, and more on our Resources page, here or sign up  to receive access to CSD Learns’ free teacher toolkits!

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An Educator Webinar: Filling the Gaps in Your Teaching

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Filling the Gaps in Your Teaching

On Thursday, March 18th, co-hosts Todd Bonheyo and MaryEllen Graham invite Susanna Henderson, a professor at Gallaudet University, and Samantha Bradi, a teacher at California School for the Deaf, Fremont, to join them for our fifth webinar in the Financial Education series.

Henderson and Bradi bring insights from their experiences working with college students and high school graduates in the community. In this webinar, they’ll identify missed opportunities in students’ current K-12 financial literacy educational experiences, discuss some of the reasons why this information is often overlooked or unsuccessfully provided to D/HH students. They’ll also offer tips and favorite resources for best filling in those gaps.

Watch the recording, find responses to unanswered questions, and resources shared in the webinar below.

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Presentations/Studies

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Digital Adaptive Learning with MyLabMath and ALEKS in GSR 104 (Quantitative Reasoning)

In the Spring of 2018, a study was conducted as a part of Gallaudet's Digital Fellows project on how adaptive learning software can be used.

In the case study report and PowerPoint presentation, you'll find a comparison of Pearson's MyLab Math and ALEKS in connection to student success.

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A Study of Instructional Tools for Quantitative Reasoning in 2017

This presentation from Gallaudet's General Studies Requirement Quantitative Reasoning course explores whether or not technology can be used to make online instruction as effective as in-person classes.

You can also access the poster presentation here. 

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Apps

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Classroomscreen

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Explain Everything

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Kaltura

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Camtasia

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EdPuzzle

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VideoLeap

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Google Jamboard

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ShowMe

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CSD Learns Resources

From some of the comments and questions asked during the webinar, we would like to share some additional resources from CSD Learns that would be beneficial for your work with teaching financial education.

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Check out last month’s workshop series: Rise Up! Black Deaf Businesses During The Pandemic. This series will help you gain perspective in regard to Black culture and being a BIPOC entrepreneur.

Understanding the history of Black money and gaining perspectives will help you be better educators for your BIPOC students as future financial experts.

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On Tuesday, March 23rd, we hosted workshop in the series where all things cryptocurrency is discussed. The more you know, the more you can determine how to incorporate the future of money in your lesson planning! The recording will be available on our YouTube channel shortly. Make sure you’re subscribed to our channel to get the latest updates!

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In a past webinar, Dr. Joseph Santini, discusses this very topic with his guest panelist, Michael Kane. Go to this webinar to watch their discussion on teaching your students about retirement.

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Yes! It is never too early to start teaching our future generations about money. Check out our webinar about how to teach financial literacy to elementary students.

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Yes! CSD Learns has been working on resources related to financial literacy for the past four years with funding made possible by Wells Fargo Foundation. We have a plethora of webinar videos for you to explore as well as toolkits. In fact, we have a few more toolkits coming your way this Spring!  

Check out our Youtube channel for all the webinars we hosted over the last few years. We are sure you’ll find what you need. 

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An Educator Webinar: Incorporating Financial Education into Core Curriculum

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Incorporating Financial Literacy in Core Subjects

On February 18th, 2021, co-hosts Todd Bonheyo and MaryEllen Graham held the fourth and final webinar in CSD Learns’ Best Practices of Financial Education Series, this time joined by guest panelist Sutha Ramanathan. Sutha is a high school teacher with over twenty years’ experience, and is currently teaching math and personal finance at the California School for the Deaf in Fremont.

Together, the group took a deep dive into how to integrate financial education topics across disciplines, whether it be in-person or online. Want to see what tips Sutha has for creative ways to add financial literacy into your curriculum? Watch a recording of the webinar here:

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For further reading, Sutha recommends the following books on financial literacy for students:

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What All Kids should know about Saving & Investing

Rob Pivnick

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Why Didn't They Teach Me This in School?

Cary Siegel

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I Want More Pizza: Real-World Money Skills for High School, College and Beyond

Steve Burkholder

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Make Your Kid a Money Genius Even if You're Not

Beth Kobliner

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The Teen Money Manual

Kara McGuire

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Lunch Money - Rise and Shine

Andrew Clements

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How Money Works

DK Publishing

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Making Dough: A Young Entrepreneurs Tale

Dr. Bruce Danoyla Dunams

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Website

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Newsela is an online platform that adapts real-world content to learning materials that meet most state standards. Check them out at newsela.com

 

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Interested in more financial education resources?

Sign up to get access to our free financial education Teachers' Toolkits.

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Educator Webinar: Online Resources for Teaching Financial Education

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Teaching Personal Finance with Online Resources

On January 21st, 2021, co-hosts Todd Bonheyo and MaryEllen Graham hosted their third webinar in CSD Learns’ Best Practices of Financial Education Series, this time joined by two guests: Molly Christensen and Ryan Bonheyo, both high school teachers who cover personal finance.

Together, the group explored the world of financial education resources available online, and shared pro-tips about how to integrate them into a classroom set-up, whether it be in-person or online. Molly, who teaches at California School for the Deaf in Fremont, and Ryan, who teaches at Maryland School for the Deaf, discussed what apps and online tools they currently use in their classrooms, as well as how they modify them to best suit their students’ needs.

Want to see what they have to say? Watch a recording of the webinar here:

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Check out these resources recommended by our panelists:

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Next Gen Personal Finance

NGPF offers several engaging online activities for students, including:

 

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Junior Achievement

Junior Achievement USA is a nonprofit that focuses on creating economic empowerment in young people through education.

Visit their website to find programs for elementary, middle, and high schoolers.

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Invest in What's Next

HS Level; tracks how career echoices and education lead to increased salary over time, particularly with respect to college-bound students. This website also features a Teacher’s Guide.

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Budgeting in Real Life

www.goodbudget.com This free mobile app or web-based envelope budgeting system is a real-life budgeting tool, and doesn’t need to be linked to any actual accounts to work.

Mint is a mobile app that does connect to your accounts and can give you insights into your habits to help you reach your goals.

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CSD Learns

CSD Learns' online, self-paced investing and banking courses are easy to incorporate into your curriculum. The best part? They have full language accessibility.

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Nerd Wallet

Nerd Wallet is a great resource for when students need to research more about banking, loans, credit, insurance, and more.

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FRED/GEO FRED

Federal Reserve Economic Data  Use for their up-to-date macroeconomic data such as GDP by state or Unemployment Rates. Users can make their own graphs comparing statistics. While this data is more focused on economics, it may be of use to some personal finance lessons.

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PearDeck

This tool is a great way to make interactive lessons for in-person, virtual, and hybrid classrooms. There are a paid and free versions.

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Nearpod

Nearpod makes it easy to make your lessons more engaging with VR, simulations, and gamified quizzes. You'll also be able to keep tabs on your students' progress with their in-depth assessment tools.

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Activities

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Role-Playing

Have students act out the roles of banker, lender, salesperson, to experience the process of applying for a loan or making a large purchase.

Role play taxes, with different students assigned to different income levels paying different percentages, as a way to introduce income brackets

Projects

#Adulting (a real budget project that spans several months of the year using their personal spending habits) 

“Where Should I Live” (a project using data driven approaches to help students compare possible places to move/live in the future) 

Personal Finance Field trips (in-person or virtual)

Federal Reserve Bank: Most locations offer tours and some are offering virtual tours this year!

Local Apartment leasing office: Learn about how to apply for an apartment, budget for rent, etc.

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If you’re interested in participating in our next free financial workshop series, or receiving recordings of this workshop, funded by the Wells Fargo Foundation, make sure to sign up for updates. 

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Financial Literacy in Deaf Education

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Are you preparing your students for real-world financial decisions?   

It's never too early to teach youth financial literacy. You don't even need to wait until high school; elementary students will also benefit from learning this! Without a solid financial education, unprepared youth are more susceptible to debt traps.   

According to a survey conducted by U.S. Banks, only 77% of parents talk to their kids about saving money. Even fewer discuss budgeting and credit, while roughly 30% discuss investing or retirement. Most youths don't receive financial education in schools either. Only 21 states require financial education to be taught – but only six states require a "Standalone High School Course…be Taken."  

53% of Americans are anxious about managing their finances. Forbes reports that 43% of adults in the U.S. have limited buying and borrowing capabilities due to low financial literacy. Many don't have enough cash to cover a $400 emergency, unable to pay back a student loan, have credit card debt, and have $0 saved for retirement.   

Parents and guardians have a significant impact on their children's financial habits. Teaching financial education, as early as possible is necessary to help prepare them for adulthood. Having financial discussions in the home and advocating for broader financial education programs in schools can make a world of difference.   

However, financial education is not often accessible to the deaf and hard of hearing community due to language barriers. That's why CSD Learns has teamed up with the Wells Fargo Foundation to provide free online financial literacy webinars in American Sign Language for the deaf community. Our current Financial Education series consists of webinars for educators that discusses financial literacy curricula and resources.    

Their most recent webinar was led by MaryEllen Graham, the Online Resources Project Specialist at the Statewide Outreach Center at Texas School for the Deaf; and Todd Bonheyo, a lecturer at Gallaudet University in the School of Science, Technology, Accessibility, Mathematics, and Public Health.   

 

Watch the recording, or keep reading, below to learn three takeaways for Financial Educators!   
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Start Early   

Don't wait until your students are in high school to discuss money. Even elementary school students will benefit from learning about budgeting, saving, investing, and taxes. Give them the chance to practice making financial decisions. You can start by giving them the option between buying something small like candy now or saving to buy something bigger later. You can use real or fake money to enhance the hands-on learning experience and gradually introduce more complex topics such as investments and taxes.     

Gamify Learning   

Using games has become more popular in the classroom. Games have a way of teaching without, well, teaching. For example, CashFlow Classic is a free online investment game that allows users to make financial decisions that reflect their real-life behaviors to make money. As an outcome, players learn how to invest, better understand class-based financial decision-making, and how the rich stay rich. For more financial education games, check out Edutopia's top 10 list.    

Language vs. Literacy   

It's important to note that most financial literacy resources are in English. Educators of deaf students not only have to translate these terms into American Sign Language, but they also must make sure that the concepts are clearly understood. For example, a financial educator discussing the Great Depression may use the sign for depression that conceptually translates to clinical depression. Students with a strong English foundation may understand that the teacher is referring to a severe economic recession. Those without a strong foundation are likely to be confused. Educators must help students read and interpret financial concepts as well as apply them to real life.     

Think outside of the Box  

Keeping them engaged around this complicated subject-matter can be difficult. Here are three tips from MaryEllen and Todd on how to better engage your students:   

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Use something tangible. Give your students opportunities to apply what they have learned. Show, don't tell, and leave yourself open for questions. Allow them to ask "why," and then provide examples.

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There's an Excel formula for almost everything. Don't be afraid to use them. Instead of solely relying on a traditional calculation by hand or on a device, incorporate excel to support their learning.

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For additional resources, check out CSD Learns' free Personal Finance Toolkits for all ages.

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Be sure to sign up to receive updates from us about our upcoming webinars! You don't want to miss them!  

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COVID-19 and Your Personal Finances

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COVID-19 and Your Personal Finances

Whether you’re a super-saver or you’re among the 66% of Americans without savings, it’s never too late to start a new financial plan! Check out CSD Learns’ free webinar below, or continue reading to learn more about managing your personal finances during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This webinar is led by Mark Apodaca, who is the founder of the National Institute of Financial Literacy for the Deaf, Inc.  and has over 40 years of experience in financial management. This is part of CSD Learns’ financial education series in partnership with the Wells Fargo Foundation.

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Here are some things you should consider when making your plan:  

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Check if you’re eligible for unemployment insurance

If you’ve lost your job, you should be eligible for unemployment benefits. To receive unemployment insurance, you need to file a claim with a program in the state where you worked. You can determine if you are eligible at the Department of Labor’s Coronavirus Resources web page.

On the other hand, independent contractors and freelancers are usually not eligible for unemployment benefits. Under the 2020 CARES Act, states have the option of extending unemployment compensation to them, but not all states do. Read this article by Business Insider for more information.

Here’s what you need to know about:

Health Insurance 

Nearly half of Americans receive employer-sponsored health plans. Whether you have a private or employer-sponsored plan, expect to see changes in cost and coverage. Insurance premium costs and medical visits will go up. Learn about your healthcare options here.

Pensions 

Less and less employers offer pensions. The pandemic may accelerate that trend. Employer-sponsored pension plans are costly, in an effort to save money, your employer could invest your money with firms that don’t have your best interests at heart. Become familiar with your pension account and consult with your company advisor if you have questions. Check out this Forbes article for tips on how to hold your company accountable for your pensions during the pandemic.  You can also read our blog to learn why it is important to have a strong retirement savings plan.

Life Insurance 

Life insurance allows you to continue to support people you care about, even if you are no longer around. It allows you to leave them non-taxable funds that can be used to pay off any debt you owe such as a mortgage or car payments. If you have an active life insurance plan from before the pandemic, your beneficiaries should get death benefits should you die of Coronavirus related complications. However, if you are looking for coverage during the COVID-19, you could run into some challenges. Here’s what you need to know.

Investments

Investing is always risky, but investing during a global pandemic is even riskier. Since March, the stock market has hit record lows on more than one occasion. However, don’t let that scare you from making investments. You can and should still consider investing. Read Rocket HQ’s tips on how to handle your retirement savings and investments during COVID-19.

You have to make a plan for the future. Start with your budget.

One high hospital bill is enough to throw off your finances. And worse, imagine passing away without an estate plan, will, or trust to leave your loved ones. While you can’t be ready for everything, you should anticipate anything. You can start by creating a sound financial plan. Begin with your budget.

You might have noticed an increase in the cost of groceries and a decrease in gas and oil prices. Take note of these changes. They will give you a sense of how to adjust your budget during a crisis. Save as much as you can when possible. An ideal savings account is large enough to last six months without additional income.

 

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Sign up to receive updates from us about CSD Learns' upcoming webinars! 

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Preparing Your Financial Future During a Pandemic

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Preparing Your Financial Future During a Pandemic

While our physical health has been a major concern during the COVID-19 pandemic, our financial health is just as important. Preparing yourself for an economic recession will ensure your finances stay stable. 

CSD Learns invited financial guru, Mark Apodaca, to host a two-part workshop on managing personal finances during difficult times. Mark, who founded the National Institute of Financial Literacy for the Deaf, has 40+ years of experience in finance. In Part II of the series, Mark explains what you can do now to prepare for upcoming financial challenges. Missed Part I? Watch it here.  

In this webinar, Mark Apodaca will cover:

Watch below to learn more:

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The Managing Credit and Debt webinar series has been made possible through a partnership with Wells Fargo and their Hands on Banking Program.

Looking for more financial education resources to use with your deaf and hard of hearing students? Visit our resource page.

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Sign up to receive updates from us about CSD Learns' upcoming webinars! 

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Managing Credit and Debt - Financial Education Webinar

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Managing Credit and Debt

Credit is a great tool - and debt can be, too. But studies show that most people don’t know about the hidden costs of credit - and misunderstanding credit cards can have serious consequences.

Harish Ramroop joins us to help establish a baseline of knowledge about credit and debt. This discussion also explores typical challenges arising from the use of credit and accrual of debt, and discusses strategies for managing relevant issues. Finally, we share strategies which Deaf US citizens can employ to better manage both credit and debt.

Harish and host Joseph Santini cover:
1. How to begin introducing credit concepts in high school
2. How to introduce credit cards at home
3. What is a credit rating, and how can teens build their credit

 

 Watch below to learn more:
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The Managing Credit and Debt webinar series has been made possible through a partnership with Wells Fargo and their Hands on Banking Program.

Looking for more financial education resources to use with your deaf and hard of hearing students? Visit our resource page.

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Sign up to receive updates from us about CSD Learns' upcoming webinars! 

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Teaching Deaf Youth The Value of Retirement

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Retirement Isn’t Guaranteed, Early Preparation Might Help.

Retirement is supposed to be the dawn of one’s golden age. You are expected to live your best life once you leave the workforce since you can pursue the interests you didn’t have time for in the past. However, having time to pursue your interests doesn’t always mean that you’ll have the funding to do so. Forbes reports that 66%, or two-thirds of Americans, have either no savings at all or not enough to generate significant income after they retire. A common misconception is that Social Security will be able to support you long into your retirement, and these days especially, that’s not true.

Social Security is the government’s flagship financial benefits program that uses tax dollars to support retirees, people with disabilities, and surviving family members of deceased workers. Eligibility for benefits is based on strict requirements, and the amount of benefits you can receive depends heavily on your work history. For people with disabilities, high unemployment and underemployment impact their ability to meet the criteria for retirement, which means that they may have to rely on disability benefits for the long term.    

Without a robust workforce, social security is unsustainable because the program needs workers to pay taxes to support it. Because the U.S. aging population is growing faster than the birthrate, the number of people needing social security benefits will be higher than the number of people paying taxes for the program. The Social Security Administration reports that federal reserves for the program are expected to run out in the next 17 years. While Social Security will still be available, the payout for beneficiaries could decrease significantly, so relying on benefits, in the long run, is ill-advised.   

Given these circumstances, it is important to start thinking about other ways to ensure your financial security, and CSD Learns believes that you’re never too young to start! In the latest edition of their Financial Education webinar series, Michael Kane, professor of business at the National Technical Institute of the Deaf at RIT, joined Joseph Santini to discuss how parents and educators could talk to their students about preparing for retirement.  

 

Watch the recording, or keep reading, below to see what was covered!

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Financial Education begins at home – the earlier you start, the better

Students learn a lot by observing their home life. Seeing members of their family or friends enjoy retirement can help them envision what their retirement might look like. They may make financial decisions similar to their parents and friends. Having conversations with your students about personal responsibility when it comes to money could help them learn the skills they will need to plan for retirement.

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Financial education courses are a must

Not every student comes from a home where open communication around finances is possible, due either to the language barrier or cultural norms. Schools should offer financial education classes so students can familiarize themselves with the terminology and practice skills. Currently, only 16.9% of high school students are required to take a financial literacy course before graduation, which means roughly 80% of new adults go into the world unprepared. 

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Seeing is believing

Retirement is the culmination of a lifetime of saving. Students are more inclined to spend or share their money, especially when out with a group of friends. Students may not be thinking of saving because they do not see an immediate need to do so, especially if they are fully supported financially. Educators must teach students that saving money now can lead to long term growth, specifically when savings are placed in accounts with a high return on investment such as banks, pension plans, and social security to enhance growth over time. Visual representation showing how much money they can build over a lifetime may encourage them to consider putting aside money now. The best part is that there’s an app for that.

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Hands-on experience helps

A part-time job not only gives students access to an income, but it also allows them to practice financial management. Most students have the unique advantage of having zero debt or expenses, so money saved in these instances can grow quite quickly. If students continue to save or invest a portion of their savings into an independent retirement account (IRA), they could be prepared to retire comfortably well before they hit 66 – which is the federal retirement age.

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Reliance on social security could become problematic

Families with deaf students may be familiar with social security as their child may be a beneficiary of the program due to their disability. As mentioned previously, there could be significant decreases in the amount of support if there are fewer tax contributions to fund the program or if you don’t meet the eligibility criteria which is subject to change. This problem affects not just retirees, but also those receiving SSI or SSDI, which has seen payout decreases before. Reliance on social security as one’s primary source of income is problematic, whether you are a young deaf student or a retiree. Start investing in a savings account for your deaf student or teach them how to start saving so that they can maintain financial stability no matter where they are in life.

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If you are looking for more tips and tools, click here to watch the entire webinar. March is National Credit Education Month, and the next webinar series will cover credit and debt. Be sure to sign up to tune in on March 18th. For more information, go to csdlearns.org/events.

For more resources on retirement, check out the additional links below:

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Be sure to sign up to receive updates from us about our upcoming webinars! You don't want to miss them!

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