Teenagers. They chat for hours on the phone, spend unlimited funds on clothes and outings, and think nothing of their parents' dwindling bank accounts.
But the Yedid organization, which provides those in need with free legal aid, has decided to teach today's reckless youth a lesson.
The organization discovered recently that the number of high-school students owing money to cellular phone firms and credit card companies has risen considerably over the past year.
"Teens don’t know how to manage a bank account or make decisions about purchases and budget matters," explains Ran Melamed, Yedid's deputy director. "Many of them don't even have basic financial competence."
Melamed, working with Bank Hapoalim, has therefore established a special course tailored for his audience. It teaches teens about the proper use of money, its origins, credit, savings, and more.
Students also receive a checkbook created by Yedid and the bank, in which they document their expenditures.
Melamed's most recent group of students, from Amit yeshiva in Safed, say they've learned a lot.
"My parents couldn't afford to pay my cell phone bill, which reached NIS 800 ($220)," says M, a 12th grader at the school.
"I worked odd jobs but couldn't afford to pay it. But after the course I've been behaving better, talking less and paying back my debt in an organized way."
Graduates of the course also get a special treat – a budget for a social activity of their choice. Amit students chose to buy themselves a diving course in Eilat, for which they will have to create an efficient financial plan with the funding they receive.
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