Financial Well-Being

Never Too Young to Learn about Money

Christopher Cerney, a recent graduate of Hofstra University on Long Island, still can’t believe that t-shirts made by his small Long Island-based start-up, SMF Apparel, were shipped to London, England, for celebrity trainer Tracy Anderson. Cerney is one of many individuals who have benefitted from financial literacy and entrepreneurship programs developed by Capital One and its partners. “I did all the shirts for all of her studios across the United States and in London,” he says.

Cerney was able to get his small screen printing business off the ground, thanks to the Capital One Hofstra Campus Entrepreneurship Challenge. “It was an outstanding experience,” he says. “I worked with a team of Hofstra students and Uniondale High students to start the company. It was a screen printing company that focused on getting orders from the clubs and sports teams around the Hofstra and Uniondale campuses.”

The Capital One Hofstra Campus Entrepreneurship Challenge pairs students from Hofstra’s Frank G. Zarb School of Business with students from Uniondale High School’s chapter of the Distributive Education Clubs of America. The student teams are given seed capital to develop, launch, run and grow a business. Local bankers from Capital One Bank serve as mentors and provide professional business and financial management advice and guidance to the students.

Capital One Bank Nassau County Market President Andrew Corrado sees the Entrepreneurship Challenge as a unique opportunity for Long Island students. “They participate in entrepreneurialism not only in the classroom setting, but they also get the opportunity to work side-by-side with bankers, who actually help them develop their business plan. More important, the bankers coach the students through the ups and downs of business ownership and financial management.”

Because money management skills are crucial building blocks for economic success for individuals of all ages, Capital One Bank invests in financial literacy programs for individuals from kindergarten through retirement.

“Capital One is committed to Investing for Good through financial literacy programs that help families prepare themselves for a future of financial security,” says Emily Talley, Senior Director, Financial Education, Capital One. “Our goal with these programs is to take the mystery out of managing money wisely and to set individuals of all ages on the path to a life of fiscal responsibility and economic self-reliance.”

Money & Me

It’s never too early to teach children about financial needs — Juanita Bryant-Bell, Principal, Grand Avenue School, in Uniondale, Long Island

To help introduce elementary school students to money management basics, Capital One Bank partnered with Hofstra University to create Money and Me, a financial literacy curriculum for local fourth and fifth graders. Students from Hofstra’s School of Education, Health & Human Services and the Frank G. Zarb School of Business serve as teachers in the program.

The Money & Me curriculum was developed by professors and graduate students from Hofstra’s Education and Business schools, and a pro bono team of marketing experts from Capital One created a family of Money & Me cartoon characters to help to bring the financial concepts to life for students.

“Money and Me is a great opportunity for our local fourth and fifth graders learn the importance of financial literacy and money management,” said Associate Dean of the Frank G. Zarb School of Business Gioia Bales. “It also allows Hofstra undergraduate and graduate students to give back to the surrounding community and show the elementary students the importance of a good education.”

During the program, students receive virtual money as rewards for effort, participation, and great answers. “At first, when the students were asked if they would save or spend the money, many of them said they would spend it. Their answers were different after finishing the program,” says Liam O’Brien, a Hofstra student teacher in the program. “A lot of kids changed their mind and said they would save it. They saw the value in saving their money. That is the idea with the Money and Me program.”

Commerce Plaza

Fifth graders on Long Island learn about financial literacy through Commerce Plaza, an educational, hands-on, simulated business community that integrates classroom lessons with real-world experiences. Capital One provides support for the program, a partnership between the nonprofit group Commerce Plaza Inc. and Long Island schools. Students get the chance to operate different businesses, receive paychecks, make bank deposits, write checks and participate in other work and financial experiences. Nearly 28,000 students have participated since it started in 1999. Capital One associates serve as volunteers help to guide students through the program, and a team of pro bono professionals from the bank’s corporate real estate team built a mock bank branch inside of Commerce Plaza to help bring banking concepts to life for students.

“The students learn how to work together as a team, running a business and sharing, helping each other succeed,” said Susan Corcoran, a sixth grade teacher within the Mount Sinai School District. “This is a life lesson, one that gives as much as it teaches.”

Capital One/Junior Achievement Finance Park

Capital One/Junior Achievement Finance Park is a financial education program for 6th-9th graders, teaching them money management concepts such as budgeting and saving. Following four weeks of in-class lessons, students enter a mock city where they become “adults for a day,” developing and managing a budget and making real-life financial decisions.

When entering Capital One/Junior Achievement Finance Park, students are assigned fictional jobs, incomes, families and expenses. They are then are faced with real life financial management decisions concerning housing, transportation, savings, food, entertainment and more choices they will ultimately be faced with as they enter adulthood.

“The real world is not easy, and life is harder when you leave home and have to worry about paying bills,” says one student at William Floyd High School, after participating in Finance Park. “I definitely have a higher appreciation for my mom and all her efforts to keep our household finances in order.”


Financial literacy is also an important topic for adults and seniors on Long Island. In 2001, Capital One and Consumer Action, a consumer advocacy and education group, partnered to create MoneyWi$e -- a national personal financial education program offering adults free, multilingual materials and community-based training opportunities on topics such as banking, money management, credit, saving, identity theft, elder fraud, micro-business, and homeownership. Capital One provides community nonprofit leaders and local bankers with training on the MoneyWi$e materials so that they can help educate their clients in the community.

Financial literacy is especially important for older people because “they often wait too long to reach out for help,” says Nick Felix, manager of Capital One’s Coram branch office on Long Island. Felix is a volunteer teacher in the MoneyWi$e program, working with local seniors on Long Island.

Individuals can also access the online version of the MoneyWi$e program and other resources at

Online Resources

Capital One and Junior Achievement’s JA Finance Park Virtual online financial literacy simulation introduces young people to personal financial planning and career exploration through an interactive, game-like experience.

The financial literacy program, developed collaboratively by Capital One and Search Institute, helps parents and teens understand, talk about and manage their money as they progress through Web-based workshops on 12 financial topics.

Capital One and Consumer Action’s financial education program offers adults free, multilingual materials on topics such as banking, money management, credit, saving, identity theft, elder fraud, micro-business, and homeownership.