The Common Cents Program is a financial literacy workshop, designed for a pre-college teenager that focuses on teaching its participants personal finance, investing basics and entrepreneurship / business management practices. All of the topics are taught to help improve the student's critical-thinking skills. The mission of the program is to simplify the complexities of the financial industry, by breaking down concepts into easy to understand ideas, so teens are prepared to properly manage their finances as adults. The students are exposed to numerous topics, including but not limited to: economic principles, credit, financial markets, stocks, bonds, commodities, foreign exchange, entrepreneurship and asset management. This knowledge base provides an individual with the necessary tools to make better decisions regarding their own personal financial future.
The Common Cents Program positively affects the way its participants think about finance and teaches lessons that will alter their life-long personal financial decisions, regardless of their career choices. The workshop fosters an environment encouraging hands-on learning and the utilization of critical-thinking skills, asking students to analyze information and predict outcomes. Hopefully for some, it sparks an interest in pursuing further financial studies in college and leads to a productive career path with a better understanding of the many options available to them throughout the financial industry. For others, it develops a much greater realization of the importance of practicing sound financial planning and acts as an aid in making informed personal financial decisions throughout their adult lives. In either case, the benefits of the program are of tremendous worth.
Jim Gannon, CFEI
President and Instructor
Jim has worked in the financial industry for over 25 years as an equity trader and is currently an adjunct professor in The King's College business and finance department. Additionally, Jim has taught students financial literacy at the Museum of American Finance located on Wall Street and created a high school program, Wall Street in the Classroom, at the Gabelli School of Business for Fordham University. He began his career in 1987 working on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange and then spent 15 years at the Swiss investment bank, UBS, acting as an Executive Director of Domestic and International Equity Trading. Additionally, Jim actively managed a $50+ million trading account for the European institution, Dresdner Bank. His senior-level positions within the financial industry enabled him to obtain various financial expertise, licenses and certifications, all helping to build an extensive understanding of the economics, products and services provided by the financial industry. Jim founded the Common Cents Program because it is his desire to embark on a new path; working to improve financial literacy among teenagers. The competitive nature of today’s business environment has created a greater need for the understanding of how finance works and the earlier a student develops their financial knowledge, the greater advantage they will have over their competition.
Jim lives with his wife and two children in Manhattan and is a graduate of St. Francis Prep, class of ’83 and Queens College, class of ’87. In addition to his professional experience on Wall Street, Jim is a Certified Financial Education Instructor, a member of the Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst Association, the Catholic Finance Association and the National Arts Club. As a participant in the JumpStart NYC entrepreneurship initiative, created by the NYC Economic Development Corporation, he received in-class instruction as well as external consulting experience. Jim closely follows global financial markets as well as new trends in the industry and is always eager to continue to learn; believing curiosity is the best teacher. He is an avid enthusiast of the arts who loves to read and enjoys many genres of music. Jim prefers short stories to novels, underground music to Grammy winners and independent film to studio blockbusters.