POUGHKEEPSIE – Liz Anaya’s family wasn’t wealthy. She grew up in a house with five siblings and dropped out of high school. She later returned to school, got her college degree and is now vice president/community manager for Chase Consumer and Community Banking in Poughkeepsie.
“My mom didn’t know and she raised us with the best resources she had,” Anaya said. “I believe closing the racial wealth gap starts now (when students are in high school),” she said. “I want them to see the possibilities even if they are from a city school district. You can overcome. You can be better than a statistic.”
Anaya told students that with the changes she made in her life, she was able to get a good job, drive a nice car and have a family of her own.
Part of her job is to educate students and adults about finances and how the choices they make now can impact their future.
“If you want to drive a Mercedes, do you know how much money you need? Do you need college? Do you have a financial plan?”
Anaya has conducted three sessions in Richard VanScoyk’s financial algebra class covering credit, goal setting and her personal story, with additional sessions being discussed.
VanScoyk worked with Anaya to choose topics so they coincided with what the class was discussing.
Jonathan Morales said a key takeaway for him was to create a savings plan.
“It’s very important – especially if you are trying to buy a car and house. Mr. V says, ‘don’t spend over what you make.’ When I get my check, I will be more careful and plan out my whole check and save some money in a savings account.”
VanScoyk’s financial algebra class is an elective and one Christiana Cortez chose with a purpose. “I chose it over precalculus because I felt like there was less education on financial status.”
Cortez said after hearing Anaya’s background, she was able to relate to her and grasped some important lessons. “Hearing where she started out, she has experienced part of what I experienced,” Cortez said.
“Young people spend more on wants than needs. Understanding the financial process in the world helps you prioritize,” she said. Another lesson was about credit. “One lesson I learned about credit is being able to stay in the good range because many people aren’t in the correct range to do the things they want to do – that ties with budgeting because they don’t know where they are spending their money. You have to be thinking about your needs more than your wants and that is something that will benefit you in the future more than in the moment.”
Anaya said the students in VanScoyk’s class, “were a pleasure to work with. They were extremely engaging and inquisitive, are willing to learn and they asked questions and picked up on things swiftly.”
VanScoyk is pleased with the results of the first three sessions.
“I want to thank Liz and Chase for helping educate our students on the importance of finances,” he said.