Good financial — and horse — sense

Published 8:55 pm Thursday, July 9, 2015

A couple of news stories recently caught my eye, and they are related in only the most remote way possible.

On July 2, the Boys and Girls Club of Southeastern Virginia’s Suffolk unit welcomed the Portsmouth unit to its home turf for the two clubs to compete in a game of “Financial Football.”

Staff from BayPort Credit Union had been teaching the students all week about financial concepts like saving, investing, credit and debit cards and income and expenses.

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The students then got to see how well they had absorbed the lessons in a game of simulated football on the computer, projected onto a cafeteria wall.

A correct answer meant a successful play, and the teams could choose between easier or harder questions, with the harder ones earning them more yards on the field. But if they missed a question, they risked turning the ball over on downs or even an interception.

Even though a class on personal financial concepts is now required in Virginia for graduation from high school, it’s important for the next generation to learn these concepts even sooner.

Perhaps they’ll start saving more of their pocket money, which could actually add up to a significant amount before they get to college. Maybe they’ll see the importance of getting a summer job or starting a bank account earlier in life. Maybe they’ll convince their parents to start a college savings plan for them to ease the burden when they get to that level.

Besides the football game, the students got a hands-on lesson by earning “money” throughout the week for correct answers and homework completion, which they could then spend at a “store” offering a variety of goods. Those who saved their money found they were able to buy the bigger-ticket items by the end of the week.

We’ve covered financial sense. Now for horse sense. (See how these two stories are related?)

The first case of Eastern Equine Encephalitis in a Virginia horse this year was confirmed this week. The 12-year-old mare from Chesapeake had not been vaccinated for the disease, which is spread by infected mosquitoes and causes the death of the horse in 80 to 90 percent of cases.

A horse from Suffolk was the lone reported case of the disease last year. From Chesapeake to Suffolk isn’t far for a mosquito to fly, so if you own horses, make sure to contact your veterinarian and make sure you’re following his or her vaccination plan.