MILITARY

HARKER HEIGHTS — A special visitor from Fort Hood met with student cadets from the Harker Heights High School Junior ROTC program April 29 at the school in Harker Heights.

Fernando Fernandez, vice president of military banking for Fort Hood National Bank on Fort Hood spent the day teaching youth how to manage money during a financial literacy class.

During the class, students learned about credit scores, avoiding money drains, credit cards, budgeting, money saving tips, avoiding identity theft and money scams.

“Financial literacy lays a foundation for students to build strong money habits early on and avoid many of the mistakes that lead to lifelong money struggles,” Fernandez said.

In a Nerdwallet report:

The total pool of consumer debt has surpassed $1.3 trillion.

The median student loan debt for a person who has attended some college or graduated from college is more than $49,000.

The average household credit card debt is about $5,000 with the median debt at more than $16,000.

The average mortgage debt is nearly $173,000.

The average auto loan exceeds $30,000.

Personal loans and other miscellaneous debt are more than $10,000 per household.

The total average of debt combined (including those who have no debt at all) is $139.5 thousand per household.

Perhaps, teaching youth about finances early on could help curb incurred debts.

“Had I received financial classes in high school, I may have avoided making some of the financial mistakes I made early in my young adult life,” Fernandez said.

Fernandez, who served in the military for 21 years and retired in 2016, is passionate about helping students be financially responsible.

“I hope that student leave better prepared by becoming self-sufficient and achieving financial stability as they start their lives,” he said. “This includes being able to save money, distinguish the difference between wants and needs, manage a budget, pay their bills, buy a home, pay for college and plan for retirement.”

Students left the class with a better understanding of financial literacy.

“I learned about credit scores, loans and interest rates,” said Isabella Tijerina, cadet corporal and a junior at HHHS. “This class reinforced what the Junior ROTC leadership was teaching us.”

For more information about financial literacy or to set up a class, contact Fernando Fernandez at fernando.fernandez@fhnb.com.

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