Monthly Archives: September 2014

Investing Activity: Sometimes the Simplest Solution…(Fun with Spreadsheets)

Investing is hard to teach.  Talk to personal finance teachers and ask them what concept they find most challenging to teach to high school students and many will tell you it is investing.  How can you possibly cover a landscape that encompasses thousands of stocks, thousand of mutual funds, not to mention that other staple, bonds?  There are so many choices for you to teach (but also for investors to choose from), that it is easy to feel overwhelmed.  No surprise that the market for financial advisors is thriving in this sea of complexity.  Can’t we just teach our students “Don’t try this at home?”

But what if there was a simple solution?   Continue reading

What’s the Catch? Identity Theft Monitoring Services

Home Depot, Target, insert almost any retailer here.  Stories of data breaches abound so interest in credit monitoring or identity protection services are also growing.  Which makes the story this week about a fine levied on U.S. Bank all the more interesting.

Audio here:

Here are the details (from Marketplace): Continue reading

Top 5 September Posts on Next Gen Personal Finance Blog

Here’s what people were reading this month:

Always interested to hear how some of these posts worked in the classroom.  Drop me a line at to let me know.  Thanks!

Credit Card Trends

  • Your next debit card will likely be “chipped.”  Bank of America leading the way (MarketWatch)

Bank of America Corp. is the first major U.S. bank to issue debit cards with chip technology, a move that other banks are sure to follow, according to financial industry experts.  The bank says it already offers the chips on credit cards and will issue cards with chips when replacing expired cards and to new customers.

  • Watch out for those charges on your credit card (WSJ):

Continue reading

Question of the Day: What Is The Lifetime Value of A College Education (By Major)?

Another Question of the Day!

I have been waiting for a resource like this to demonstrate to students how lifetime earnings can vary significantly based on the major they select in college.  In other words, not all college degrees are created equally.  The Hamilton Project is out with a database showing lifetime earnings for 80 college majors.  They have an excellent interactive tool that allows students to select various majors (and types of degrees) and compare lifetime earnings for each of them.  It might be fun to have students select 3-4 majors they think they might be interested in and compare the potential outcomes.  This will lead to interesting conversations about whether students should follow the money (choose majors with high earning potential) or their passion (career they love but pays less).

Here’s the chart showing lifetime earnings by major (that’s millions of 2014 dollars on the top axis):

Median lifetime earnings

Continue reading

Activity: Mindfulness In Personal Finance

Reading this NYT article about mindfulness and how reflecting for even a few milliseconds about a purchase can influence our decision-making.  Here’s the research:

A recent study by Tobias Teichert and Jack Grinband discovered that “postponing the onset of the decision process by as little as 50 to 100 milliseconds enables the brain to focus attention on the most relevant information and block out irrelevant distractors.” Continue reading