Terms such as stocks, income, profit, loss, savings, checking, credit cards, debit cards, employment, long and short-term goals, budgets and bonds are often aspects of heady conversation among those in the business of managing and investing money.

But on three recent Wednesdays in January, those terms were being discussed among members of Anne Landry’s fifth-grade math class at Rudolph Matas Elementary School in Metairie.

“I am learning a lot about money, especially how to manage it and how to save it,” student John Fussel said. “I have also learned some things about investing money and the risk and returns on investments. I like math, so all of this has been interesting to me.”

Fidelity Bank of Louisiana was selected to participate in the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation’s Youth Savings Pilot Program, which includes 12 banks throughout the country. The goal of the program is to educate young students about how to effectively manage money.

Fidelity Bank selected Matas as a partner for the program.

Three weekly financial sessions on Jan. 13, 20 and 27 included about 80 fifth-graders. They were held at Matas and conducted by Robert Baer, vice president of innovation and product management for Fidelity, and David Pickett, vice president of retail banking service and support manager for Fidelity.

“This is the first school in the New Orleans area to have a program like this through Fidelity,” Baer said. “We’ve covered a broad range of topics concerning money such as budgeting, savings, smart buying habits, charitable donations, how to use a debit card, how to manage a credit card and how to open a checking account.”

During the final session Jan. 27, Baer told the students they were now “at an age when you need to start thinking about what you want to do as a career and what kind of life you want to have in the future.”

A screen at the front of the classroom displayed a list of jobs based on the areas of interest to the students, such as a veterinarian, a nurse or physician, social worker, lawyer, architect, museum curator, engineer and graphic designer.

“Whatever you wish to do as a career, it should be something you enjoy because it may be a career you have for the rest of your life,” Baer said. “And remember, to pursue these careers, you will need to attend college, and college costs a lot of money. So be wise with your spending and your savings.”

Landry, the teacher, said the students have all shown a great interest in learning about finances and money management.

“I really think the program has helped the kids begin to think about and learn the importance of the basics of financial responsibility as well as the value of a dollar,” Landry said.

“I’m excited to see our students learn how to become financially disciplined,” Matas Principal Pat Helmstetter said. “They are learning skills that most people discover through trial and error, so we are very grateful that Fidelity Bank selected our school as a partner.

“I hope our students can take their newfound knowledge back to their respective homes and are able to teach their families about healthy spending, savings and budgeting habits.”

The final part of the program was a tour of Fidelity Bank in Metairie on Feb. 4.

“I received a note from one of the students thanking me for teaching the class and for the field trip to the bank,” Pickett said. “That note is probably the single most rewarding moment of my 27 years in banking. And it’s framed in my office.

“Banks can tell you that there are many adults who don’t have a clue as to how to manage their money — reason being they were never taught by anyone or exposed to a program like the Youth Savings Program. If these kids can walk away from the program with the tools and concepts to be more financially responsible, then I would call it a ‘win-win’ situation for the student.”

Chelsea Santiago said she enjoyed participating in the program.

“You have to learn how to like to save your money as much as you like spending your money,” Chelsea said. “I spend my money on candy, but now I understand that for other things I may want when I get older, I need to learn how to save to pay my bills and buy groceries.

“I want to be a beautician one day. And that’s something I really want to save my money for in the future.”