Debt and personal finance are hot topics for today’s teens. Economics classes are not only tackling the topics of risk, return, bulls and bears, but are also exploring the topics of personal finance and financial literacy. According to Dave Ramsey’s website, 89 percent of high school students want to learn about money and how to make it grow.
I know many kids who leave for college with a credit card in hand, only to rack up thousands of dollars in debt. They do not know how to make sound financial decisions. Likewise, they do not know how to make the most of their earnings in college. I wish I had known how to manage debt better in college. Then I might not be five years out of college, still making payments on credit cards and school loans.
In this case especially, knowledge is power. When students have to rely on “experts” to tell them what to do with their money, they are putting themselves in a precarious situation. They are opening themselves up to waste or lose their money. When they have principles to base their decisions upon, they are in control of their own destiny and can make educated decisions based on sound judgement.
Some school districts are making strides to make sure their students leave high school “money smart.” Economics classes are tackling the topic, using real world scenarios and teaching otherwise confusiong terminology.
Economics teachers have access to websites that allow students to experience “real world” spending and saving scenarios without the financial risks.
The Mint is an educational site designed to help kids become financially savvy. The site has four sections. Fun for kids’ area is where kids can play games that teach the principles associated with earning, saving, spending and giving. Tips for teens allow teenagers to navigate major life choices and see the financial repercussions of each decision. Parents and teachers can also find a number of resources that will help them as they teach children and teens about personal finance. The site is the result of a partnership between the National Council on Economic Education and the Northwestern Mutual Foundation.
Manage Your Money
American Express and Junior Achievement joined forces to teach financial responsibility through their PASS Money website. JA Money Might is an online financial simulation game in which students must use critical-thinking skills to make decisions about how to use their money. The Count on It section allows students to learn basic principals in money-management such as planning and goal setting. As a teacher, you can use the Financial Assessment as a pre-test or post-test for the unit.
Foundations in Personal Finance
Foundations in Personal Finance is a curriculum by talk-show host and financial-guru Dave Ramsey. The standards-based curriculum covers topics such as saving and investing, debt, credit, financial responsibility, and insurance.
Junior Achievement Student Center (accessed 11/29/10)
Dave Ramsey Foundations (accessed 11/29/10)