Category Archives: Case Study

A Tale of Two Credit Scores: A Case Study

I have been working on a case study to help students understand credit scores.  Let me know what you think about my draft. Contact me at if you have any comments or just want the answer key:

A Tale of Two Credit Scores: A Case Study

Staring at the two student files on your desk, you know that you only have a few minutes to review them before your afternoon meetings. Your role as peer financial advisor provides you not only with the opportunity to help others but also has deepened your understanding of so many personal finance topics. Both students have come to you with one simple request: teach me how to increase my credit score. As more financial institutions have freely shared credit scores with their customers, you have seen interest in this topic grow.   Continue reading

April 13th Activity of the Day: The Case of the High Senior With a $72 Million Portfolio…

Late in 2014, a story in New York Magazine caught my attention because it seemed too preposterous to be true, Because a Stuyvesant Senior Made Millions Picking Stocks. His Hedge Fund Opens As Soon As He Turns 18.  As I dove into the story further, I thought, what a great way to let students put on their accounting detective hats and figure out if the story was credible.  As they complete the NGPF Case Study, your students will familiarize themselves with investing terms like hedge fund, investments, trading stocks, oil and gold and also learn how to use a rate of return calculator.  Continue reading

April 10th Activity of the Day: The Case of the Missing Millions

Happy Friday!  A 401(k) can be a difficult topic for high school and college students whose idea of long-term thinking might be their plans for this weekend.  This NGPF Activity “Case Study:  401(k) Missing Millions” asks students to play financial detectives to figure out why Boeing’s 401(k) plan is missing millions of dollars.  In the process, students will familiarize themselves with the structure of a 401(k) plan and how not contributing to the plan is “leaving dollars on the table.” Continue reading

Question: What Percentage of 18-29 Year Olds ARE NOT Investing in the Stock Market?

Answer:  About 75%.

Flurry of articles about results from a recent survey that asked Americans about their investing habits.  This presents a great opportunity to ask your students whether they currently own stocks or intend to own stocks and their reasons for owning/not owning.  Here are some of the highlights of the survey:

Young adults aged 18-29 are the least likely age group to own stocks, according to Gallup, and their numbers are falling as well. Just over a quarter of that group owned stock in 2013 – down from 33 percent in 2008, thanks in part to a lingering mistrust of the equity markets and the financial industry at large in the wake of the 2008 crash.

  • As for the general population, over half (52%) have no investments in the stock market (USA Today):

Continue reading

Investing Case Study: Skill or Luck?

Another day, another story of an investing wunderkind.  From CNN:

At age 16, he put almost all of his life savings, $650, into three stocks: Citi (C), GE (GE) and United Airlines (UAL). That was back in 2009. No one calls him an idiot now.

Justin made a nearly 250% return on his initial stock investments before he graduated from Miami University last spring. To put that another way, while his friends were spending money, he was making about $1,600.

Later the article describes the success of one of his investments:

Summer of … 2009: Justin turned his homework into a real investment after convincing his dad to cosign a Scottrade account with him. Justin bought United for $4 a share in 2009, and sold in 2014 for $41, or 10 times higher.

With those two pieces of data, I thought it would be great to have students do a little work to understand what was driving his performance: Continue reading

Case Study: The Mystery of The $8 Million Janitor

Great opportunity to use this inspiring case of the part-time janitor with an $8 million investment portfolio to teach critical investing and budgeting lessons including the power of compound interest, investing in stocks for long-term growth, living frugally and sharing your wealth.

From CNBC: Continue reading