Let me tell you about Wise Up Academy
straight from the heart!

It all started because I realized teens need more than just academic knowledge when they graduate high school. They need financial literacy and those important life skills to step into adulthood confidently. I’m a proud parent to two exceptional young adults. My daughter, 22, graduated from The University of Chicago and is now pursuing medical school, while my 19-year-old son is studying at the University of Georgia. They were always diligent students, excelling in their classes with impressive GPAs and strong SAT/ACT scores. However, as they began their college journeys, they faced some unexpected challenges. They called me with questions about W4 forms, renter’s insurance, and co-pays. It made me reflect deeply: Had I overlooked something?

Should I have provided them with guidance on essential life skills and financial knowledge?

It’s true that today’s high school curriculum focuses on Math, English, Science, and History, with the aim of preparing students for college or higher education. And don’t get me wrong; those subjects are important. But I realized that there’s so much more our kids need to know to succeed in the real world.

So, together with my son and daughter, we decided to create Wise Up Academy.  It’s a place where teens can learn all those crucial skills and knowledge that lay the foundation for success. We cover topics like understanding APR and how it’s calculated, nailing that first job interview, demystifying insurance – auto, renters, home, and life, and why a credit score is so important.

It’s a heartfelt mission, and we’re passionate about making a positive impact in the lives of teenagers. By equipping them with practical knowledge and empowering them for the challenges ahead, we hope to see them confidently step into adulthood and embrace their dreams with open arms.

Together, let’s make Wise Up Academy a reality for all the teens out there because every kid deserves a shot at success!


Allen K.


Wise Up Academy introduces Traci Bakenhaster, our distinguished Head of Learning and Development. With over 12 years of experience in higher education and career technology, Traci contributes a vast array of knowledge to our team. Her roles as a teen and career coach, resume writer, financial advisor, and mentor are vital in shaping our innovative curriculum, aimed at fostering the growth of young individuals and preparing them for the adult world.

In her personal time, Traci enjoys outdoor activities, family time, and shares her expertise in parenting and youth development through blogging and public speaking.



Jake Cousineau is a personal finance teacher and author of the bestselling book, How to Adult: Personal Finance for the Real World. After years of financial blunders, Cousineau took control of his financial journey and read everything he could on the topic. Along the way, he kept returning to the same question—why wasn’t I taught this earlier? Being a high school teacher, he took action and launched a financial literacy program for his students. Eight years and one book later, Cousineau remains passionate about preparing students for the financial realities of adulthood.