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Matt Ballew (chairman of the board at Ballew Wealth Management), Caleb Chapman and Brooks Mosley (president)

ALAN TURNER — The MCEE: Planting the seeds for success

ALAN TURNER

The mission of the Mississippi Council on Economic Education is helping to educate young people about economics, finance, and business. There are many success stories of young folks who have been inspired to become economically literate, making important choices about their career objectives, and some who became successful entrepreneurs while still in high school. Others have developed a strong enthusiasm for investing and wealth management.

Brooks Mosley, president of Ballew Wealth Management and current chairman of the MCEE, recently introduced me to a young man who became involved with the Stock Market Game, one of MCEE’s most popular programs. Brooks met Caleb Chapman in the course of a visit to Caleb’s school and was impressed with the young man’s enthusiasm and interest.

Caleb is 15, a sophomore at Lanier High School in Jackson. He loves to read, bowl, play basketball, and cook. And he also loves the business of investing and wealth creation.

“I decided to invite Caleb to spend some time with us at Ballew this summer, let him get to know some of our people, and learn more about the world of investing and finance,” Brooks told me. “He took to it like a fish to water.”

Brooks let Caleb set up a small investing account and invited him to build and manage a portfolio that would have the prospect of building equity and income.

It seems Caleb took the assignment to heart.

Caleb working on his portfolio at Ballew Wealth Management

“I really learned a lot while I was at Ballew,” Caleb told me. “Not only was it great to learn all about investing, but it was also a lot of fun for me.”

Caleb was able to spend time with various staffers at Ballew, as well as with Brooks, and as a result of his summer on the firing line of investing, he told me he feels inspired to consider a career in finance.

“I think this could definitely be a career for me,” Caleb said. “I really get excited when I see my portfolio growing.”

Caleb plans to attend Mississippi State University and may well decide to major in business or finance.

“Of course, that would help me with another ambition of mine,” he said. “I love to cook, and one of these days, I’d love to own my own restaurant.”

It seems that Caleb may be feeling the bite of the entrepreneurial bug at an early age.

“I know that a strong knowledge of economics and finance is very important if you want to own your own business,” he said. “The more I can learn, I feel like the more successful I can become.”

That is, of course, exactly the objective of the Mississippi Council on Economic Education, to foster a sense of enthusiasm and commitment by students. It’s difficult to over-emphasize the importance of sound economic education for those who are growing up and getting ready for college, like Caleb. Clearly, developing the necessary financial knowledge and skills at an early age will pay major dividends for students as they head for college, adulthood, families, and careers.

“It’s been really gratifying to work with Caleb,” Brooks said. “Through my association with the MCEE, I’ve been privileged to see so many great young people like Caleb, who want to learn and grow.”

Selena Swartzfager, President of the MCEE, told me that the Council’s programs are in use all over the state, in communities and schools of all sizes.

“It’s gratifying to be able to say that we’ve helped to train hundreds of teachers, and helped thousands and thousands of young people to gain insight and understanding on the importance of economic education and literacy,” she told me. “As we all know, education is the key to success, and we are certainly delighted to be able to play a role in helping young people in Mississippi to prepare for successful lives.”

That is something on which we can all agree.

» Contact Mississippi Business Journal publisher Alan Turner at [email protected] or (601) 364-1021.

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