LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Former President Bill Clinton addressed more than 7,000 boys and girls Sunday afternoon at the world’s largest financial literacy education event.

The event was designed by Banc of California to inspire students, between the ages of 10 to 15-years-old, to reach their goals in life while learning the importance of financial skill sets.

All of the students come from at-risk communities through Southern California.

Clinton told them, “A lot of you grow up in homes, like mine, people have to watch how they spend their money. But it can set you free.”

“If you want to be powerful, if you want to live your dreams, if you want to get an education and make the most of it, you got to know how to handle your money. Financial literacy is a very fancy term for saying spend it smart, don’t blow it, save what you can.”

According to 2008 national foundation for credit counseling and financial literacy survey results, only 34 percent of American parents taught their teenagers how to balance a checkbook.

That same survey found even fewer families have discussed how credit card interest and fees work with their children.

University of Southern California hosted Sunday’s event inside of the Galen Center, their basketball area, where the campus marching band performed.

“I learned my needs versus my wants, and where to save my money,” student Maryann Cortez said.

Additional participants included Banc of California CEO Steven Sugarman, former L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Magic Johnson Enterprises President Eric Holoman and Chad Brownstein, Vice Chairman of Banc of California’s Board of Directors.

“What we really want is for you to live your dreams the way we’ve lived ours. And you can’t do it if you don’t know how to handle your money,” Clinton said.

Guinness World Records officials were also on hand to verify the conference was the largest financial literacy education event.

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