Financial Literacy Gets a Hip-Hop Makeover

Long filled with messages of outlandish lifestyles and expensive habits, hip-hop has lately been promoting more frugal choices. From "Mo Money, Mo Problems" to the virtues of shopping secondhand in "Thrift Shop," the genre's done a 180.

It's spinning a little faster this week with the help of an unlikely ally.

Few things are less antiestablishment than the establishment itself -- in this case, the quintessential banker stereotype. But Charles Schwab and the Charles Schwab Foundation are reaching out to a younger audience through a partnership with the Boys & Girls Club of America to teach financial literacy through music.

The brokerage sponsored the Money Matters Music Mogul contest with the nonprofit organization to help promote financial literacy and responsibility among teens. The grand prize winner, 15-year-old Blake McGuire of Indianapolis, won with his rap, "Money All That Matters," which received more than 100,000 online votes. (Watch the video above.)

The song includes the lyrics, "I'm gonna balance all my checks so my money never falls / budget out my money so I don't get collectors' calls / cause you can't rob Peter to go and pay Paul."

The contest was an extension of the Boys & Girls Club "Money Matters: Make It Count" initiative, a personal finance program for teens that teaches money management skills.

For the Money Matters Music Mogul contest, teens at 2,900 clubs across the country were encouraged to create original lyrics promoting responsible spending and money management skills.

McGuire, and six other teens ranging in age from 13 to 17, will be featured on the financial-literacy hip-hop album produced by Kevin "Khao" Cates. All proceeds from the album, which is available for download and streaming, will benefit a scholarship program for the teens on the album.

Financial Camps
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Financial Literacy Gets a Hip-Hop Makeover
Company:  Camp Millionaire
 Founder: Elisabeth Donati
 Ages: 10-13
 Cost: $229
 Duration: 2- to 5-day sessions
 Locations: Anaheim Hills, Santa Barbara, Los Gatos, Palm Desert, Montclair and Santa Clarita, Calif.
 Description: Camp Millionaire is a game and activity-based financial literacy program for kids and teens. Students learn how to make, manage, multiply and donate their money wisely during this weekend event. The camp features The Money Game, where kids create a mini society based on "moola"-mock currency. Kids spend the weekend learning how to invest in stocks and pay credit card bills and phone bills.

Company: Young Americans Center For Financial Education
 Founder: Bill Daniels
 Ages: 7-13
 Cost: $195 (scholarships available)
 Duration: 5-day and 1-day sessions
 Location: Denver, Lakewood and Stapleton, Colo.
 Description: The Young Americans Center for Financial Education offers eight types of weeklong camps throughout the summer. They focus on teaching youngsters to be financially responsible through real-life experiences and hands-on programs. Themes include personal finance, free enterprise, global economics or entrepreneurship. Each session culminates in a one-day real-world scenario in which purchases are necessary and financial assets limited. Examples include running a kid-sized town, running a "world economy" (with a focus on trade, currencies and deficits) or hosting a marketplace to sell products from a newly-created business.

Company: Camp BizSmart
 Founders: Dr. Michael Gibbs and Peggy Gibbs
 Ages: 11 to 15
 Cost: $600 to $1,480
 Duration: 5- or 10-day sessions
 Locations: Stanford University, Calif.; Punahou, Hawaii; Silicon Valley Community Foundation, San Mateo, Calif.; JFK University, San Jose, Calif.; JFK University, Pleasant Hill, Calif.
 Description: The camp's mission is "to train aspiring entrepreneurs in the 'thrival skills' required for success at home, school, and in the increasingly competitive global marketplace." Michael Gibbs, founder of Camp BizSmart and a former Fortune 500 exec, started the camp with his wife, Peggy, during the height of the economic recession to focus on "tweenpreneurs." Students work on "hot topic" business problems offered by hip companies like Hope Lab, NeuroSky, Hara and Serious Energy. Students are mentored by industry executives as they learn and practice business skills including competitive analysis, design innovation, cost analysis, and profit-and-loss cash flow. Students are coached by executives from companies such as Cisco, Apple and Google, and apply the skills they learn to the business case they are solving, as teams of six come up with ideas for business solutions.

Company: Camp Challenge
 Founder: Thad Woodard
 Ages: 10-13
 Cost: Free
 Duration: 5-day sessions
 Location: Westfield, N.C.
 Description: Run by the North Carolina Bankers Association, the camp mixes financial education with traditional outdoor camp activities like horseback riding. Students learn financial literacy through an online simulation called "Life With Bills," which allows them to design an avatar, apply for a job (based on desired salary), get paychecks (and learn the differences between net- and gross-pay), and pay bills. Students also learn about civic responsibility, etiquette and entrepreneurship.
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