Tips and Tools for Teaching Personal Finance

Article excerpt

ONCE AN INTEGRAL PART OF THE CURRICULUM in many school systems, little emphasis lias limn placed on personal finance education in recent years. As a result of the recession and the collapse of the housing market, educators have realized that we need to refocus our efforts on teaching personal finance. However, as in all areas, the emergence of technology and the Internet have changed the ways we need to teach personal finance. Balancing a cl teekbook must include the frequent use of the debit card; bank statements can he checked online daily; funds can be transferred in a matter of seconds; and the list goes on. Not only has content changed, but the way we teach has changed. Classes are often online, and YouTube, social networking sites and smart phones have become valuable teaching tools.

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How Did We Get Here?

The National Financial Educators Council states:

  "Most adults received their personal financial education
  front the school of hard knocks--they suffered financial
  setbacks and learned expensive lessons along the way. ...
  Why do so moo), college students get deep in debt, max
  out their credit cards and miss payments regularly? It
  comes down to the fact that they never received a
  personal financial education. Mg never had the
  opportunity to learn in a safe environment like
  their home or school; consequently, they often
  mess up their first Jew financial decisions. These
  little mistakes early on sometimes spiral into
  bigger problems later." (1)

What Can We Do About It?

As consumers, when we look at the recent recession and the collapse of the housing market, we have to ask ourselves, "How did this happen?" As educators, we ask ourselves. "How can we prevent this from happening again" The answer is to teach our students personal finance.

Providing personal finance education can help our studnets manage their finances by enabling them to save money. reduce any debt and invest in their future. According to Ben Bernanke, "Financial education must be a lifelong pursuit that enables consumers of all ages and economic positions to stay attuned to changes in their financial needs and circumstances." (2) Students need to realize that the time to be concerned about their financial situation is now. Andriotis found that total student debt fir financing postsecondary education exceeded $1 trillion in 2011, and that 11 percent of students who owed on student loans were 90 days or more past due. (3) A survey or 19 college students in a beginning. business class conducted by this author found that 13 students had a student loan, and seven of those students owed more than $10,000 on that loan.

What Should We Include in Personal Finance?

Standards for personal finance curriculum have been developed by the JumpStart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy. JumpStart is a national coalition of organizations dedicated to improving the financial literacy of pre-kindergarien through college-age youth by providing advocacy, research, standards and educational resources. The JtmipStart Coalition realizes that not all the standards may apply to all courses. To find both the national tandards and the standards (hr your state, go to www.financialeducatorscouncil.org/personal-financialeducation.html.

Education and Entertainment

So how can we get our students interested in personal finance? How can we make the subject interesting and exciting? Rollins states, "Acknowledging the clear need for a financially literate populace, business Leachers must find creative ways to teach fundamental financial concepts." (4) There are numerous activities to interest students and to get their attention. Below are some tools and techniques which may be helpful to personal finance teachers. As always, the classroom teacher needs to make sure copyright laws are not violated.

1. Use music to generate excitement and interest in personal finance. …