Activity Idea: Personal Finance in 833 Words

Good column in WSJ over the weekend which cuts through the complexity of personal finance with some simple truths.  Here is a flavor:

On investing:

Keep it simple. Complicated financial strategies and investments are mostly designed to enrich managers and salesmen. A simple, diversified portfolio of low-cost index funds, rebalanced yearly, will do just fine—if not better.

On lotteries (check out NGPF’s Lottery Lesson here):

Never buy a lottery ticket. The lottery runs a profit, which means the players run a loss. And a study once found that the people who won ended up no happier than those who lost.

Importance of saving early:

Save early, save often. Time and patience are the investor’s best friends. Invest a dollar for 10 years at 4% and you’ll have $1.50. Invest it for 40 years and you’ll have nearly $5.

All in all, he provides 23 personal finance tips.  Have students identify the 4-5 items that they feel are most pertinent to them (or that they want to learn more about).  Have them write a few sentences about how they can develop goals around these tips.  This may require them to do some additional research too.