Personal Finance

/Personal Finance
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Wrong Question: Should College Students Be Required to Take A Personal Finance Course?

Kudos to WSJ for asking the question and getting opposing viewpoints on the answer to the question. I am having trouble containing myself so I thought I better get my thoughts down on paper before I explode. First, the newspaper is asking the wrong question. The right question is “Should High School Students Be Required to Take A Personal Finance Course?” College is too late. The biggest financial decision that young people make occurs BEFORE college. Those decisions are “where are they going to continue their education?” and “how are they going to pay for it.” I received way too many calls in my days at Student Lending Analytics from sobbing students and their parents about their predicament of high debt and “I am only a junior.” As we know student debt has a long tail to it and has ramifications far into the future. It is that much harder to course correct several years into one’s college career. 

New Curriculum: Our 8-Hour Workshop!

Asked to teach a 7-hour course at Castilleja School in Palo Alto, we polled the seniors at this high performing all-girls school to find out what personal finance topics they most wanted to learn, and they came back with:

  • How to budget during college and/or grad school
  • Understanding how credit cards and loans work
  • Buying a car
  • And how to invest

We rounded out their 5-class course with an hour on credit scores and, after working with the students, realized they also had a lot of questions about taxes. So, we turned our awesome Casti course into an 8-Hour Workshop to share with you.

Here are a few quick reasons I love this workshop:

  • It’s perfect if you don’t have a full semester course on Personal Finance. You can use part or all of the 8 hours in a senior seminar, an advisory, an after-school program, an intersession course, etc. Or, the individual lessons may be JUST what you’re looking to add into your full Fin Lit course.
  • It inspired us to create two new activities:
    • A whole-class, up-out-of-your-seats way to teach mutual and index funds (thanks, NGPF Fellow Andrea Stemper for the inspiration)
    • A new spin on our
By |March 6th, 2017|New Products, Personal Finance, Teaching Strategies|

What Do You Say When You Only Have 90 Minutes To Talk Money With College Students?

I had a great time at Paul Smith’s College (Paul Smiths, NY) earlier this week meeting with about 40 students to answer their questions about money. Thanks to President Dove, Jill Susice and Terry Lindsay for organizing the event and giving me a great opportunity to engage with your students. They were actively involved in the conversation and shared some great money management ideas that they are using in their lives.

Planning for this talk forced me to get to the essence of what I felt was most important when it comes to money management for a college student. Rather than talk at the students I wanted them to be involved too.  I eventually settled on setting up some pollinq questions on PollEverywhere with a few slides prepared also to make key points. In terms of topics to cover, I thought I would tackle budgets, saving and checking accounts, credit scores and credit reports, credit cards, investing and student loans. A lot to cover in 90 minutes but I only had one shot…I hoped for active student participation and I was not disappointed.

I started by asking students what they hoped to get out of the workshop to help me figure out where to focus my time. Here’s a smattering of what they wanted to know (via Poll Everywhere):

By |February 23rd, 2017|Personal Finance|

Time Launches Coinage, A Video-First Site Dedicated To Personal Finance

From Press Release:

Today, Time Inc. (NYSE:TIME) launches Coinage, a new video-first brand covering personal finance that runs across 22 Time Inc. sites. Coinage will feature 600 short-form videos throughout 2017 to help guide everyday choices consumers make in spending, saving and investing for themselves and their families across all stages of life in a lighthearted and entertaining fashion.

Here are the first three videos they released. Each are between 1-2 minutes:

Schools in the News

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  • Hall, Gainesville schools put renewed focus on teaching personal finance (Gainesville Times)

Eighth-graders in Janet Roland’s business and computer science class at Gainesville Middle School got a dose of what so many Americans appear to have a tough time doing — putting together a budget and sticking to it. Roland handed out a sheet that explained a recent class exercise for her students.

By |February 2nd, 2017|Current Events, Personal Finance, Schools In News|

NGPF Podcast: Tim Talks to Author, Columnist and Personal Finance Advocate Beth Kobliner

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I had a great conversation with Beth Kobliner recently. Beth has an incredible personal finance focused CV. She’s been a columnist at Money Magazine, authored one (and soon to be two) New York Times Bestsellers (Get a Financial Life: Personal Finance in Your Twenties and Thirties), served on the President’s Advisory Council on Financial Capability, and gave financial advice to Elmo on Sesame Street (and a whole lot more too)! In this NGPF podcast, Beth shares the money lessons she learned growing up in Queens, New York as well as the motivation for her latest book, Make Your Kid a Money Genius, to be released in February. You will benefit from Beth’s insights on how to invest, use credit cards wisely and a simple test to control those impulsive purchases. Parents will find Beth’s new book a godsend in describing developmentally appropriate actions to build that financial decision-making muscle that your children need to thrive in this financially complex world. Enjoy!

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Let Them Tell Stories Too…

download (3)As educators, we know the power of storytelling in the personal finance classroom. What better way to bring an abstract or dry topic like compound interest to life than to explain how $10,000 you invested in your IRA in your 20s was now worth $30,000 today due to gains in the stock market compounded over many years. There is even research that shows that student recall concepts better when told as a story as compared to a lecture (from Bryant and Harris):

The use of storytelling allows lecturers to engage students in a dynamic and enthusiastic way while encouraging students to develop a higher order of thinking and recollection. Storytelling allows the lecturer to show their interest in the material and in the students. Lectures can utilize the art of storytelling to communicate expertise and transfer information. This paper empirically examines the effectiveness of storytelling as a means of increasing student intrigue and recollection. We find that students recall a statistically significant 6.5% more of the storytelling lecture than those students who were exposed to the text book lecture.

Yet the focus when we talk about stories is usually on the teacher and yet…students have their stories and advice to share also. I was reminded of that today at Eastside College Prep., where we are beginning our 6-week course with the senior class. The discussion was about savings and why it can be so difficult to save. A student shared how she had a weak spot for her “hobbies” which she described in further detail with one word: shoes. I dug a bit deeper to understand more about her habits and she proceeded to say something along the lines of this:

NGPF Podcast: Tim Talks To HS Educator Jonathan Joseph About Weaving Sports into His Economics Course

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Happy New Year! I am excited for another year of podcasts (and hope that you are too). This week’s guest, Jonathan Joseph, is an award-winning Economics and personal finance teacher at his alma mater, White Plains High School in White Plains, New York (proving that you CAN go home again!). He shares his secrets to engaging ALL students through an innovative curriculum he built which uses examples from sports to demonstrate economic principles. Who knew the NFL salary cap would find its way into a high school classroom? You will also learn how he develops empathy for his students starting on day one and how he uses this to create a class that addresses their economic anxieties.

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