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Financial woes the subject of essay contest for kids

Upwards of 20 percent of the population in the United States has experienced difficulty finding full-time work during the past five years. Being unemployed or only getting part-time employment has left many families struggling to make ends meet. Some people have filed for bankruptcy, moved in with relatives following foreclosure or cut unnecessary expenses to survive tough times.

Now, in an essay contest, kids in the Memphis area are getting the opportunity to share lessons they have learned from observing how their families coped with difficult financial situations.

Students in Grades 6 through 12 are eligible to enter the 9th annual Financial Literacy Essay Contest. Entrants should write a 500-word essay about how the financial times affected their families and the lessons they learned. Kids must submit their entries by 5 p.m. on Feb. 22.

Applicants compete only against other students in their age groups. Four winners will be chosen from each group and awarded prizes such as basketball tickets or $100 to save or invest.

First Tennessee Bank and The Commercial Appeal are sponsoring the contest. All students in Grades 6 through 12 who live in The Commercial Appeal circulation area can enter the contest, unless their parents work for the sponsor companies.

Kids who live in east Tennessee may not be able to enter the contest but may be eligible for a local program similar to the Gold Card program in Memphis. The Gold Card program rewards students with good grades, behavior and attendance.

A loss or reduction in income may necessitate significant changes in people's lives, and many children have become aware of this in recent years. In addition to options for financial planning, parents in Tennessee who are still facing financial difficulties should be aware of the protections offered through personal bankruptcy.

Source: The Commercial Appeal, "Memphis area youth invited to share the lessons of tough financial times," David Flaum, Jan. 26, 2013

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