John-Michael Johnson

Young Leadership Council’s Financial Peace University teaches New Orleanians how to manage their personal finances. By instructing students to beat debt, build wealth and invest for the future, the classes help participants achieve real results. Ultimately, many students are able to use their better financial standing to reinvest in the community.

Class to Leader

After going through the class, John-Michael Johnson was so impressed with the program that he volunteered to take over as project leader. He stresses the importance of providing financial literacy for everyone in the community.

“It’s very simple stuff that’s just not taught anymore in high school or even at home. So many people who have good educations and don’t know these things,” he says.

What Classes Entail

Each class group consists of nine sessions, and each session follows a standard format. Students have dinner, take part in a lesson and review, and then have a discussion. Socializing is also a big part of the classes, and by sharing their financial backgrounds – and sometimes even horror stories – students can learn from each other’s experiences.

To date, the program has served over 100 students through the classes. Johnson also noted that most participants, even those struggling with student debt, eventually begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel. By giving them the tools to succeed, the program helps many young New Orleanians achieve fiscal stability.

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The Take Away

Johnson adds that the program isn’t just for young professionals, but also for anyone in the community who may need help balancing personal finances. In fact, his goal now is to reach high school and college students, a huge demographic that generally needs better financial information.

“If we could get 10 percent of kids under 18 in New Orleans to learn this and apply it for the rest of their lives,” Johnson says, “you’ll have huge results that will only make this city better.”

Once students achieve more solid financial standing, he says, they enjoy peace of mind and empowerment. Overall, the program gives people the tools to manage finances correctly so they can help others as well.



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