When former NFL football star Michael Vick first entered the Virginia Tech campus as a freshman, he fell prey to vendors selling low-limit credit cards. He signed up for one without understanding exactly how they worked, and ended up with a very low credit score as a result.
“I never learned anything about financial literacy, and I didn’t even know how to pay off a card,” Vic says.
Vick’s experience of not understanding how credit works or how to improve your credit score led him to accept a role as a brand ambassador at Ypsilanti-based Ypsilanti. Bad credit is childish (BCIC), an extension of Ypsilanti’s travel credit reform. BCIC launches a financial literacy program for youth called Bad Credit Is Childish Academy.
Vic visited Ypsilanti Community High School and Cass Technical High School in Detroit on the morning of December 2 to talk to high school students about the importance of financial literacy.
As adults, residents of Ypsilanti and their high school friends Willie Johnson and Lynwood Powell find themselves talking about bad credit and what they can do to fix it. This led them to found Time Travel Credit Repair and BCIC – as well as the new BCIC Academy.
“We’ve been doing credit recovery for a while, but we wanted to do something drastic to help the kids,” Powell says. “We understand that kids don’t have credit, so there’s no need to fix, but we can teach them how to create credit. A lot of kids don’t know how things go into a credit report. We want to help them avoid that. [pitfalls] And help them not make the same mistakes we did in the past.”
Johnson says the academy begins by focusing on budgeting and educating young people about accountability and responsibility. Young people who attend the academy will receive a broad education on finance and money, including NFTs and cryptocurrencies.
Johnson says most young people he talks to don’t know what a credit score is, but once they find out, they want to know more.
“They want to know how to achieve the things that everyone wants to achieve, so we give them a game plan,” Johnson says. “They need to understand what credit is first, and then the ways to manage it. From there, they can use it to get what they want, whether it’s a house or a car or starting a business.”
Vic says that he and other student-athletes did not receive any financial education. He believes that up to 70% of NFL players have bad credit because, despite having a lot of money, they don’t know how to manage it.
Vic says he believes financial literacy should be a mandatory course in high school.
“It’s as important as a foreign language or algebra,” says Vick. “It’s something we need to pass on to future generations.”
More information about BCIC Academy can be found here.
Sarah Rigg is a freelance writer and editor at Ypsilanti Township and a project manager On Earth Ypsilanti. I joined Concentration As a news writer in early 2017 and an occasional contributor to others Media Group Edition Publications. You can access it at email@example.com.
Sarah Rigg’s photo.