2. Focus on student goals
Compound interest is a really important concept, but talking to teenagers about how much theoretical money they’ll have in retirement will fall flat. I want my students to think about short-term goals, like figuring out how their class can afford an end-of-year field trip, and long-term goals, like whether graduating from college debt-free or owning a home is important to them. We can’t assume every student has the same goals, either, so it’s important to have materials that acknowledge that.
3. Apply learning to authentic practice
There’s nothing like the real world to extend and cement learning. The makerpreneurs at Mansfield High School (students in my entrepreneurship class) have a real business. They put their learning to work for market research, budget planning, advertising, and pricing. They test their ideas in an actual marketplace (the hallway or cafeteria), go back to a Pathway to Financial Success module to boost a skill, and then revise their plans. And they donate their profits to local charities, which is a great motivator and builds another kind of wealth altogether.
Being able to manage your finances to reach your goals is a skill that serves students throughout their lives. In fact, a Discover survey found that 81 percent of those who took a financial education course in college or as adults feel somewhat or very confident in their ability to make smart financial decisions.
It’s so important to teach these skills and to start early. Every student should have the opportunity to develop the financial literacy that will enable them to make decisions that will support whatever kind of future they design.
Happy Financial Literacy Month!
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