Mississippi's treasurer stops in Meridian

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MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - According to research, Mississippi ranks at or near the bottom in regards to overall financial habits. However, the state ranks at the top for poverty. That's why the state's treasurer is on a mission to change this.

This is being done through an initiative called TEAM. Since being established within the last six years, the program has provided tools and training for schools and the workforce statewide. It's designed to help people learn about money matters.

"This is a journey helping them to be successful because if you understand money then you can always navigate whatever you choose to do," said state treasurer, Lynn Fitch. "You're always going to need to understand the life skill of money."

Fitch shared her campaign recently with almost two dozen student leaders at Meridian High's 9th Grade Academy.

"As citizens of our state, as taxpayers, they're the workforce, and we certainly want them to be as qualified as possible," said Fitch.

School leaders say the plan is to incorporate some of the TEAM curriculum into math and history classes.

"It's a curriculum program where we block out time for the core lessons for them to go through the financial part," said Greg Herrington, who is the assistant principal at MHS's 9th Grade Academy.

Principal Shevonda Truman says this will be done as part of the school's Freshman Focus initiative.

"It's to make it seem more like a club," said Truman, "or an interest for our students to be involved with. They do get a chance to deal with financial literacy, and talk about it more in depth in the Freshman Focus course."

Since being established, the TEAM initiative has trained more than 1200 teachers and reached more than 67,000 students in Mississippi. Although good, Fitch calls this only a start. If the teachings are put into practice she says the result will be a much better financial future for all involved.