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Tribe offers Financial Literacy Seminar for youth

HOLLYWOOD — Taxes, credit cards, stocks, mutual funds, money markets, real estate – they are enough to make anyone’s head spin, especially recent high school graduates and college students.
From July 12-14, a class of 42 of these young adults successfully completed an intensive three-day Financial Literacy Seminar to give them the skills necessary to survive in the financial world.

“This was our largest class,” said Rita McCabe, of the Executive Administrative Office. “We offer the three-day course every summer, but we also have monthly courses anyone can attend throughout the rest of the year.”

The Tribe has held these seminars for four years, and according to McCabe, this was the greatest turnout. Students came from Hollywood, Big Cypress, Immokalee, Brighton, Tallahassee, Tampa and Virginia, and instructor Brantly Chavis Jr., of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina, taught them about the importance of understanding their finances and making their money work for them.

“It’s a tough three days for them,” said Chavis, who works for Cambridge Financial Partners in California. “But we want to make sure they are financially astute and savvy in their decision making.”

Chavis explained how individual stocks are affected by the market. He used Apple as an example and asked the students how many had an iPhone. Most hands went up. Then he asked how many had an iPad and quite a few raised their hands.

“About 75 percent of you have an iPhone and a lot of you have an iPad,” he said. “Given how much they cost, about $20,000 was spent on Apple products in this one room alone. That is why Apple’s stock is doing so well. You guys are making Apple rich.”

He also advised them to always research a company in the news before deciding to invest. Together they looked up Google, Facebook and Yahoo to track their earnings and news items.

“We are learning how to keep our money in our pockets,” said Darion “Stitchy” Cypress, 17, of Pembroke Pines.

Emanuel Sukhu, from the Tribe’s Treasury Office, discussed per capita distributions and explained the advantage of increasing the amount of withholding taxes to avoid a tax bill at the end of the year. He also advised them to put away half of their money in a savings account.

“We’ll make smarter decisions now,” said Tayler Cypress, 19, of Hollywood.

“And we are learning how to save and spend our money wisely,” said Stacy Smith, 19, of Tampa.

For those Tribal members who want to brush up on their financial literacy by attending classes throughout the year, contact Rita McCabe at or 863-763-4128 ext. 15403.

Beverly Bidney
Beverly Bidney has been a reporter and photographer for The Seminole Tribune since 2012. During her career, she has worked at various newspapers around the country including the Muskogee Phoenix in Oklahoma, Miami Herald, Associated Press, USA Today and other publications nationwide. A NAJA award winning journalist, she has covered just about everything over the years and is an advocate for a strong press. Contact her at

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