Careers of the Future! A Guest Post from Andrea Stemper

Andrea Stemper’s one of our NGPF Fellows who integrates personal finance into her economics classes (but not for long — she’s also advocating at her district to make personal finance its own elective course, which we’d LOVE to see happen). Adept at integrating financial capability into econ, Andrea’s written in with this suggestion for a lesson on job prospects and supply & demand:

Question: What Impact Has Education Had On Wages of Young People Over Past 50 Years?

Neat interactive from Flowing Data demonstrating the importance of education when it comes to income for young people (18-34):

Students can toggle between 1966 and 2016 to see how the median as well as the dispersion of wages changes over this fifty year period.


By |May 18th, 2017|Career, Chart of the Week, Current Events, Math, Research|

Question: Who Are The Top Earners From The Class of 2017?

From Korn Ferry International, the highest paying fields among the 25 they analyzed were:

As in years past, those entering Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) careers can expect to garner the best starting salaries. The five highest-paying fields of the 25 jobs in the analysis include:

  • Software Developer $65,232 (31 percent above average)
  • Engineer $63,036 (27 percent above average)
  • Actuary $59,212 (19 percent above average)
  • Scientist/researcher $58,733 (18 percent above average)
  • Environmental Professional $56,660 (14 percent above average)

Wondering what the average was for the Class of 2017?

By |May 17th, 2017|Career, Current Events, Employment, Question of the Day|

Chart: How Has The Job Market Changed Over the Past 100 Years?

From Quartz:

Questions (Note: Students should also read the Quartz article which will help in answering the questions):

Question: How Much Money Do You Need To Earn In Your State to Be “Happy?”

Answer (from Advisor Perspectives):

By |May 8th, 2017|Career, Chart of the Week, Question of the Day, Research|

Question: What Is Your Most Valuable Asset Today?

Answer: You!

To a student with little in the way of financial assets, this is a critical question for them to answer. Why? Because it provides them with the right mindset as they are coming to conclusions about their post-high school life.

From “Of Dollars and Data,” one of my new favorite blogs:

Nearly all articles written about investment and personal finance (mine included) focus heavily on financial assets despite the fact that most of your value (like mine) is likely not contained within financial assets. Most of your financial value is already contained within yourself, waiting to be unlocked over time. What I am talking about is a concept called human capital, or the value of all of your skills and knowledge. Your human capital can be thought of as an asset that you use to earn money. Understanding this concept should provide the motivation behind why you should save and invest.

He goes on to introduce the concept of present value to come up with a dollar value for human capital based on a future income stream discounted to the present using a discount factor. The example he gives is pay of $50,000 over 40 years discounted at a 3% rate yields a present value of $1.1 million. The point he makes is that human capital is an asset that eventually declines over time which explains why saving is so important.

He provides this nifty graph to display this concept:

Interactive Chart: Which Careers Are The Biggest Gamble?

Hat tip to Of Dollars and Data blog (great content for math educators!) for posting this chart (see the interactive version of the chart from plotly):

Screen Shot 2017-04-27 at 9.05.38 AM

First, a little orientation: The X axis is hourly median wage for a given career and the Y axis is the differential in wages between the 10th and 75th percentile. So what the graph is telling us is that the careers that have the highest values on the Y axis have the highest percentage increase in wages between top (75th percentile) and bottom performers (10th percentile). As displayed on the graph, most of the high Y-axis values align with jobs in the entertainment business. For example, to take one job, Actor, you can see the hourly median wage is about $20 and the wage percentage increase between the 10th and 75th percentile is over 400%.

Have some fun with this graph by going to the interactive version here where your students can scroll over and find what career aligns with a given plot on the graph. Here are some questions:

  • What 4-5 jobs have the lowest amount of wage dispersion between top

Chart: Which College Majors Are Hottest (In Employers Eyes)?

From WSJ: