Monthly Archives: July 2015

How Much Is That Investment Education You Provide Your Students Really Worth?

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According to this research study which I unearthed from 2014, more financially knowledgeable workers have higher returns on their 401(k) balances.  While not all that surprising, the research was able to quantify how much that knowledge was actually worth.  It also provides a set of five questions that they used to measure financial knowledge that you could use to test your students.

Here’s their summary:

We show that more financially knowledgeable employees are also significantly more likely to hold stocks in their 401(k) plan portfolios. They can also anticipate significantly higher expected excess returns, which over a 30-year working career could build a retirement fund 25% larger than that of their less-knowledgeable peers. Their investment portfolios are also somewhat more volatile, exposing them to slightly more idiosyncratic risk.

I highlighted the key insight from their research.  So, what do we need to teach students about investing so they can be knowledgeable and generate that larger 401(k) nest egg? Continue reading

Can You Go On A Cash-Only Diet?

This BusinessInsider article might be a useful activity to try in your classroom for a few weeks or even a month.  Challenge your students with debit and/or credit cards to put them away and only use cash for a period of time. Probably best for them to estimate their weekly expenses and then take out that amount at the beginning of the week. While they spend, they should also be sure to collect receipts so they can track their spending. The research is well documented that we spend less when use cash instead of plastic. Continue reading

Curious About The History of Credit Scores?

For the history lovers out there, a Time article provides an almost 200 year history of credit reporting.  A few interesting morsels:

  • Earliest credit reports were character based:  “In 18th-century America, for instance, country storekeepers secured loans by asking well-regarded neighbors to vouch for their character to bankers and merchants. And urban creditors mined far-flung rural acquaintances for rumors and hearsay regarding applicants for credit.”
  • Retailers saw benefits of selling on credit and therefore were early pioneers in developing credit histories on their customers: “Eager for these workers’ hard-earned dollars, many retailers—including America’s newfangled department stores and auto industry—extended generous credit lines.”

Continue reading

Looking for A Great Hands-On Budgeting Activity….


I think of this no-tech, kinesthetic Bean Game activity as “Ol Reliable” when it comes to my six week summer program I have taught at Eastside Prep. for the past five years. Each year this game has been one of my students’ favorite activities.  Here’s a sampling of feedback from students when I asked what they liked best about the class this year:

  • “The activities we did in class like the bean game because it helped me better understand what budgeting would be like in the future.”
  • “I loved the real life examples we did like the bean game.”
  • “What i liked most about the class was participating in the bean game where we use beans as money for our needs such as phone payment, buying a car and living in our own apartment.”

The game has a very simple set-up: Continue reading