TIGARD, Oreg. (KOIN) — Michael MacKelvie is a financial planner by day– but in his free time, he teaches a free financial literacy class to local students.
“[The program] is called ‘Financial Futures’ and effectively what we’re doing is we go into high schools and I teach a ‘What is Wealth?’ class explaining why you would even want to save in the first place,” MackKelvie explained.
From the importance of saving and budgeting to how to pay for college, MacKelvie says the program educates high schoolers by helping them critically think and better understand the fundamentals of how money works. He says the goal is to have ‘Financial Futures’ be a state-required class for high schools in Oregon.
“I just thought back to my own experience. I realized I didn’t have any point in time where anyone ever talked to me about money,” MacKelvie said. “I think perhaps the biggest void that’s out there is financial literacy education — and if I can help fill that void, that would be a nice way of giving back and hopefully changing the course for [students] to maybe make better financial decisions.”
MacKelvie launched the program in October 2019. The 29-year-old says he started by reaching out to schools and speaking in-person to classes. Today, he continues to teach virtually.
“It’s all online now and kids are flipping their cameras on and they all tuned in they’re just firing every type of financial question,” he said. “‘How does a credit card work?’ — That’s the big one — ‘how do student loans work?’ ‘Where should I save my money?’ ‘How much should I have in cash?'”
Despite the pandemic, MacKelvie partnered with 21 local high schools and spoke to more than 1,000 students in 2020.
“Michael’s just been a wealth of knowledge,” Century High School’s Career Coordinator Scott Kellar said. “Sometimes it’s tough for a 17- or 18-year-old to look that far ahead and examine their futures financially — so for Michael to be addressing that, that has been extremely beneficial.”
Those that have met MacKelvie describe him as “genuine,” “kindhearted,” and a “young leader.”
“Having someone like Michael reiterate some of these trues really underscores the importance of it,” Westside Christian High School coach and personal finance teacher David Henry added.
In spring 2020, MacKelvie created the “Feed the Fearless campaign,” raising more than $30,000 to purchase meals from local restaurants and donate to health care workers in Oregon and Washington. In December, he suited up as Santa and made a promo video for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Portland Metro toy drive.
From food to finance, if this man sees a need — he works to meet it.
“I just wanted to do something,” he said. “Because I feel like when these moments occur, where there’s major setbacks or everything kind of just freezes, you have to keep going.”
To learn more about the ‘Financial Futures’ program or to contact MacKelvie, click here.