WASHINGTON, Mo. – It may sound like a strange combination, but a rock band is mixing music and a message about financial literacy to reach kids with a valuable life lesson.

The band Gooding will perform a couple of shows in Missouri in October as part of a 60-date nationwide tour of high schools aimed at getting a message out to kids about saving money and avoiding payday or “same-day” loans to get by.

The concerts are part of the Funding the Future program, and the band’s frontman, who also goes by the name Gooding, said the earlier kids learn how to handle money, the less likely they are to make life-altering mistakes.

“We’ve heard so many stories about people who are working hard and just getting these weird cycles of debt, and 1,000 percent interest and some of these same-day lenders,” Gooding said; “all these kind of things where you’re not going, you know, slow and steady.”

The band members perform and then they talk to students about their own personal stories about handling money. They will be at St Francis Borgia Regional High School in Washington on October 24, then at the Federal Reserve Bank and Prohibition Hall in Kansas City on the 28.

Gooding said kids need to know that things like winning the lottery or signing a big sports or record contract can be a good dream to have, but it isn’t likely to happen.

“I was one of those kids who believed you either have to be a rock star or a sports star, and you know you gotta get famous overnight – all this hype you see on television,” Gooding said. “And we’re really there to say, ‘Look, we’re a rock and roll band and a lot of great stuff has happened to us, but it took us a while and we’re still a small business.’ “

Gooding said it’s important for young people to avoid getting caught up in so-called payday loans with super-high interest rates, which he sees as one of life’s biggest financial traps. They’re regulated on a state-by-state basis, with some states allowing annual percentage rates of up to 1,400 percent.

In Missouri, payday lending is regulated but not prohibited.

(Veronica Carter, Missouri News Service)