Tori Mansfield: Why I'm Passionate About Personal Finance Education

Nov 14, 2019
Personal Finance, Advocacy, Financial Literacy

I began teaching in 2011 as an English Language Arts teacher in Houston, Texas. Every morning as I left my apartment in downtown Houston and got closer to my school I noticed payday lenders and check cashing institutions on every corner versus the Starbucks on every corner I saw in my neighborhood. I saw them so often that I remember calling my mother and asking her, “What are payday loans?” She quickly explained to me what they were and why they were not a financially responsible option, but I wondered two things: 

  1. If payday loans are so horrible why are they on every corner?
  2. Why are they only in low-income neighborhoods?

According to Money Under 30, “Payday lenders often charge 400 percent, 500 percent, or even much more.” Based on this information, payday lenders are taking advantage of customers with low credit scores or people in need of money quickly assuming they are not knowledgeable about personal finance. This bothered me, but at the time I remembered thinking what can I do about it?

Fast forward to 2019 and my financial priorities have drastically shifted from when I was 21 years old. Instead of budgeting for a night out with my friends I am worried about diversifying my investment portfolio. Now, I am learning about something I feel like I should have had basic knowledge about earlier on in my life. Why didn’t my high school offer a class on Roth IRAs or 401Ks? Where was my course on the stock market? 

I originally found Next Gen Personal Finance due to my background in professional development, but I joined the organization because of Mission: 2030, the goal that all students will take a one semester personal finance course before graduating high school. If everyone was educated on personal finance would payday lenders even exist? Would investing be accessible to all no matter socio-economic status? 

In my new role as Professional Development Specialist at NGPF, I look forward to sharing our personal finance curriculum and resources with educators and district leaders all over the country.  I am excited about the commitment of the community to make personal finance education accessible to all. 

About the Author

Tori Mansfield

After graduating from the University of Florida's College of Journalism and Communications in 2011, a documentary internship on master teachers led Tori into education. She taught English Language Arts for five years receiving high test results and accolades like Teacher of the Year. In 2017, Tori left the classroom and moved to the Bay Area to focus on helping school districts utilize technology to improve classroom instruction. While training educators on how to use learning management systems and educational software Tori discovered a passion for facilitating professional developments. This passion led her to Next Gen Personal Finance where she is excited to help spread financial literacy to teachers and students all over the country.