A Message from Arkansas Leaders

By Dennis Milligan and Johnny Key on Friday, May 14, 2021

You are at a crossroads in life preparing for the next turn, the next step. What your future will be is no longer a dream whispered in your sleep, but a real challenge laid out before you to conquer.

Some of you are already financing that path by working part-time jobs. Others are plotting out scholarships to finance that next step or investigating what loans might be needed to accomplish the goal you have in mind.

In any case, so much of your future success depends upon your ability to manage finances. Your financial knowledge in these early days will determine how smooth your journey will be. It is critical to gain a solid grasp on managing money, debt and balancing wants versus needs.

Our hope with this publication is to give you a better insight into the financial decisions that await you in the next few years—and the implications those choices will have for the rest of your life.

It delves into topics including credit cards, cars, student loans, bank accounts and investments—and teaches about managing all those in a holistic way.

You might feel overwhelmed or lacking in the ability to confront this subject, but don’t shy away from it. There are many resources here that you can utilize to better prepare yourself, and hopefully, there are even some you can share with your family to help in their efforts to manage finances.

You make financial decisions every day and will continue to do so. The most important thought I can leave with you is to make your money work for you as opposed to you working for it.

Dennis Milligan
Arkansas Treasurer of State

I hear it all the time, “Kids today don’t understand finances, why aren’t we teaching personal finance in school?” And it isn’t just coming from boomers, or from Gen Xers like me; I hear it from students!

With everything our education system is tasked to do, it is difficult for your teachers to cover all the critical topics you need to be successful, and personal finance is definitely one of those topics.

That is why I am glad Arkansas NEXT: Money magazine is here to help. Developing good personal financial habits is a journey, and Arkansas NEXT: Money addresses the concepts of personal finance, provides helpful ideas and points you to other resources that can guide you on your journey!

Johnny Key
Secretary, Arkansas Department of Education

Keeping It Real

My first job was ...
… “as a busboy at a Mexican restaurant when I was 13.” –Treasurer Milligan
… “mowing lawns in Gurdon.”  –Secretary Key

I got serious about saving when …
… “I started my own business in my mid-20s.” –Treasurer Milligan
… “I was 14 and my parents told me they would match what I saved to buy my first car (a 1965 Mustang).”  –Secretary Key

My financial role model is “my uncle” because “he taught me that it’s not how much money you make, but what you do with what you make.”  –Treasurer Milligan

When it comes to money, “set a savings goal and start today—you will be surprised how good you feel when you hit that goal” is my go-to advice for students. –Secretary Key
If you learn one thing from this magazine, I hope it’s that …
… “there is no such thing as free money.” –Treasurer Milligan
… “making good financial choices now will give you better choices in the future.”  –Secretary Key

My fave podcast about money is ...
… “‘Popcorn Finance.’” –Treasurer Milligan
… “‘The Dave Ramsey Show.’” –Secretary Key