Owen Schobert named 2019 Money Smart Kid, awarded $1,000 scholarship for his essay on income volatility

Owen Schobert ...
Owen Schobert ...

Owen Schobert, an eighth grader at Lansing Middle School in Lansing, has won the 13th annual statewide financial literacy essay contest for Money Smart Week Iowa and has been named Iowa’s 2019 Money Smart Kid. Schobert also received $1,000 from the Iowa Bankers Association to put toward his college education.

An assembly has been scheduled for April 18 at Lansing Middle School to recognize Schobert’s honoring. His winning essay accompanies this article in the shaded box below.

Forty-one students from across the state participated in the 2019 Money Smart Week Essay Contest. Any Iowa student in grades seven through 11 was eligible to submit a 400-word essay. This year’s prompt asked students to explain what income volatility is and who is prone to experience it. Students were also asked to include tips and resources on how to prepare for sudden fluctuation in income.

“Understanding how changes in income can affect your financial health is an important aspect of financial education, and it is exciting to see students learn through this contest,” said Tara Deering-Hansen, vice president of marketing and communications at the Iowa Bankers Association. “Providing access to financial education resources through programs like the Money Smart Week Essay Contest is just one of the many ways Iowa banks help their communities. We are pleased to sponsor this fun and educational opportunity for Iowa students on behalf of our member banks.”
The top five essay finalists participated in interviews with contest judges. From those finalists, Owen Schobert was selected to be the 2019 Money Smart Kid. He is the son of Trever and Sharlene Schobert of Lansing.

“While every year 34%, or one-third, of Americans experience income volatility, there are ways to prepare for a change of income,” Schobert stated in his award-winning essay. “Setting aside a little money every week can help to build up an emergency fund to use when an unexpected change in income occurs.”

Including Schobert, 10 total essay finalists were recognized and awarded money to put toward their college savings funds. Individuals receiving $500 toward their college savings include: Laura Paul (Johnston), Thea Larsson (Grinnell), Tarynn Rodman (Norwalk) and Abigail Bryan (Ogden). Students awarded $300 toward their college savings fund include: Nora Noonan (Bernard), Jack Anderson (Akron), Justine Weir (Des Moines), Brynna Thompson (Gowrie) and Tristan Weers (Anamosa).

Money Smart Week Iowa 2019 is an economic outreach program from the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. Throughout Money Smart Week, community groups, financial institutions, government agencies, educational organizations and financial experts from across the state host dozens of free educational events to help Iowans of all ages learn to better manage their personal finances.

Money Smart Week 2019 was observed March 30-April 6. More information about Money Smart Week is available at www.moneysmartweek.org.


Owen Schobert’s winning essay on Income Volatility

Income volatility is when your income is inconsistent. It is when a household income changes by 25% or more. Income volatility is very common in the United States, especially in the rural communities, partly because of the number of farmers that live there.

Job loss is one reason for income volatility. If a factory closes unexpectedly, workers may struggle to make ends meet until they can find another job. Seasonal workers, like teachers and construction workers, may have to deal with difference earning throughout the year. In my community, farmers also experience income volatility. Poor weather or the drop of crop prices impacts a farmer’s income. Cool temperatures, too much rain, or droughts could prevent the crops from growing properly and would change the harvest amount, impacting income. Cattle catching a disease could lead to losing livestock which would also affect a farmer’s income.

While every year 34%, or one-third, of Americans experience income volatility, there are ways to prepare for a change of income. Setting aside a little money every week can help to build up an emergency fund to use when an unexpected change in income occurs. For expected times of less income, a second job might be an answer. Cutting costs could also help. Shopping sales or eliminating unnecessary expenses, like eating out, can also help. Simply making a plan for these times can make them easier to deal with.

Although not obvious, teens also can experience income volatility. During the summer months, their income could spike because there are more places hiring teens. Mowing lawns and lifeguarding are two examples of seasonal jobs for teens. When school resumes teens see a decrease in their income because their schedule fills up with classes, homework, and activities. I am a teen that experiences income volatility. I prepare by taking as many jobs during the summer months as I can. I grow a garden and then I sell my produce at the farmer’s market. I plan for the months I will not be able to make as much money by putting most of my earnings in my savings account and then take it out when needed. I think preparing and planning like this will help me if I have income volatility as an adult.

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