Think nothing about finances is funny? Think again

Can talking about your finances be funny?

Canadian comedian Steve Levine thinks so.

COMEDIAN STEVE LEVINE will be in Courtenay secondary schools Monday to teach Grade 11 and 12 students how to be financially responsible. The presentation

COMEDIAN STEVE LEVINE will be in Courtenay secondary schools Monday to teach Grade 11 and 12 students how to be financially responsible. The presentation

Can talking about your finances be funny?

Canadian comedian Steve Levine thinks so, and he’s coming to the Comox Valley to teach youth how to be financially responsible — while making them laugh about it.

Levine is a presenter for Funny Money High Schools Assembly Program, and on Monday, he will be at Mark R. Isfeld and G.P. Vanier secondary schools to give financial tips to Grade 11 and 12 students.

He’s been doing these presentations for about three years, and says students respond well to the humourous financial talks.

“It’s great; they love the show. I mean they usually come up after the show and have lots of questions,” says Levine.

“I’ve even gone back to a school where the presentation was done a few years earlier, and the student was working the sound and lights in the theatre, and he said, ‘Oh, I started investing as soon as you guys left last time, and now, I’ve got money in the bank and none of my friends do.’ “

Levine will be at Vanier at 9:30 a.m. and at Isfeld at 1 p.m. on Oct. 15.

Isfeld principal Jeff Taylor notes teaching youth how to manage their money is a higher priority for the school system than many people know, and the school offers a number of courses on the subject.

He adds the presentation is an excellent supplement to the courses offered, and it may reach a wider range of students.

“We know students will benefit from getting more advice and instruction on budgeting, managing debt and planning for their future, and we are confident that this presentation will deliver the message in a manner students are ready to hear,” says Taylor.

“It is our hope that students will enjoy an improved quality of life after high school if they manage their finances well over their first years in the workforce, rather than letting themselves get buried in debt because they didn’t have the skills to live within their means.”

And living within one’s means is something Levine focuses on during the presentation.

“Some of the things we say in the presentation is (youth are) spending almost 20 times more than they earn, and I don’t think kids realize where all the money’s coming from and how much they’re spending — and then that’s going to change (when they leave home),” he explains.

We “find that students are going off to college or university or going out into the working world and they’re just not familiar with all the basics of finances and they end up with, you know, student debts and just regular loans — they end up being in debt.”

The show features Funny Money Methods: Know Your Flow, Control What You Owe, and Invest Some Dough.

While these methods have catchy names, Levine notes the talk teaches youth about how credit cards work, how to budget, and how to invest for their futures.

Comedian James Cunningham founded and created the Funny Money program years ago and it’s sponsored by Investor Education Fund and Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada. He has presented at schools all over Canada and in the United States.

After the award-winning program grew in popularity, Levine and comedian Denis Grignon came on board to help.

Levine notes using comedians to grab student interest in the subject is an important part of the presentations.

“We want the kids to listen so we get, you know, here’s a comedian who’s not a regular, you know, somebody coming in from a bank to do a presentation,” says Levine. “That’d turn them off right away.

“It’s very geared towards Grade 11 and 12s that are hopefully going to graduate in the next year or two and go out into the ‘real world.’ “

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