Author Topic: Teaching personal finance to college freshmen  (Read 7625 times)

Rural

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Teaching personal finance to college freshmen
« on: August 11, 2015, 08:21:46 PM »
Okay, so I've volunteered to teach a "how to college" class to new freshmen, and I have a couple of class sessions to spare that I can devote to personal finance. Two sessions, hour and fifteen minutes each - what should I prioritze? Most but not all of these will be traditional-aged students just out of high school.


Any good resources also welcome. I'll have 35 students.

lbmustache

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Re: Teaching personal finance to college freshmen
« Reply #1 on: August 11, 2015, 08:36:42 PM »
I teach college freshman. My best advice would be to try to create visuals so they can see how things impact them in their daily life. Abstract ideas, or too many numbers, are going to cause them to lose interest. I had an older student who gave a speech on credit scores but very few kids paid attention due to the delivery and lack of relevance to their life (what 18 year old cares about their credit score?).

Might be an unpopular opinion, but I would leave RE till the end, if spoken about at all. It's a concept that, to me, very few people "get," especially given our culture. FI is totally reasonable especially when you emphasize FREEDOM. Huge for this generation. Mention that you can still enjoy life, people hear FI and think they can't buy anything: a lot of my students prioritize spending/buying highly. You can still enjoy things, but think about whether or not you want FI/debt/etc.

CmFtns

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Re: Teaching personal finance to college freshmen
« Reply #2 on: August 11, 2015, 08:41:14 PM »
I think a lot of people in the early years of college don't realize or choose to ignore the impact their loans will have on their future selves. I would at least spend some time focusing on the realness of the money they are borrowing and some things you shouldn't do with student loan money. Most 40k student loans could have easily been a 25k-30k with smart financial decisions and even lower with a little bit of part time work throughout college.

-Buy used books
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-Do some home cooking
-Dont buy a car, your young, bike to class
« Last Edit: August 11, 2015, 08:44:40 PM by comfyfutons »

Paul der Krake

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Re: Teaching personal finance to college freshmen
« Reply #3 on: August 11, 2015, 09:06:32 PM »
Put an emphasis on reducing stress.

acorn

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Re: Teaching personal finance to college freshmen
« Reply #4 on: August 11, 2015, 09:09:14 PM »
Time value of money. At their age, they don't have much money, but they have the potential advantage of starting early.

Cover the idea of compound interests - how it can work for us through investment, and how it works against us through credit card debt/student loans etc. There are graphs around that show the effect of compound interest (e.g. this?).

Case studies with real numbers would be helpful, something like, acorn decides to study engineering, which will cost an average of $$$ at a college, with student loans at x%. When acorn graduates, and gets a job that pays $ on average, it will take 10 years to pay off the student loans.  But if acorn spends less money (cooking at home, less booze, etc), it will only take 5 years to pay it off, etc etc.

For freshmen, I wouldn't even bother about RE, credit scores and things that are way off into the future (mortgages). If you can create realistic case studies (based on actual numbers and sources that they can look up) that are an accurate projection of their lives for the next 5-10 years, that can get them thinking about how they want to spend/earn money.

If they can get some good habits going (budgeting, saving, etc) after those 2 sessions and maintain them through college/life, the rest will hopefully come relatively easily to them as they get older. Start with the basics, and build a nice strong foundation for those kids.

Kudos for volunteering to teach the class!! They're lucky to get a personal finance class from a mustachian :)
« Last Edit: August 11, 2015, 09:12:55 PM by acorn »

Zamboni

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Re: Teaching personal finance to college freshmen
« Reply #5 on: August 11, 2015, 09:33:02 PM »
This is a great type of topic for team based learning.

Prior to class, I'd have them watch a video or two. Lots of entertaining personal finance videos and documentaries on youtube. Maybe watch a 5 or 10 minute one to start class.

I would give them group activities to do where they are given power: a large and fictional amount of money and they have to decide how to allocate between set choices you define. To be funny, you could make it the initial compensation of a professional athlete who has gone bankrupt * but don't tell them that up front! * They can be daily living choices (how much to spend on rent vs. food vs. transportation, for example.) Make sure that the choices all add up to way more than the money they have, so they have to make choices. Maybe you could also give them a choice to borrow additional money? Make sure they can't just fund all choices an equal amount (make that against the rules) and make them pick at least one thing to not fund at all. Then let them defend their rationale. Let each group "reporter" describe what they did, and then after everyone has reported discuss the implications of their choices as a whole class.

At that point you can decide what you want to focus on for the next class or two based upon what they seem to be doing with "their" money.

All of this is with the caveat that I've never taught personal finance and would have to look at a lot of resources before deciding what to do. I just think that giving resources which are insufficient to fund everything on a list is always an interesting way to see what a group of people chooses.

I'm interested in hearing what you decide to do.

bwall

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Re: Teaching personal finance to college freshmen
« Reply #6 on: August 11, 2015, 10:47:19 PM »
I have taught different ages and different settings so I understand that you have to tailor your topic to your audience. I would definitely take this opportunity to talk to the class about FIRE. But, as lbmustache said, present it in terms of freedom. Perhaps even question their world view;

"What would you do if you had unlimited free time at age X?

"What must a regular college grad do to retire after 17 years of work? Is it even possible? What about 12 years? Possible? What if I told you that a regular person, just like you, could graduate college, work for 9 years, and then retire?

"The information you are about to hear is perhaps the most valuable information (in terms of dollars and cents) that you will hear in the next four years, if not in your entire lifetime" (bam! Now you have their attention!!). "You are very lucky to hear this at the beginning of your studies and not four years from now. You have a choice, to listen and act upon it and gain your freedom. Or you can be like most people out there (point to the door or window) who have no idea what the world has to offer. The choice is yours and after we are done you will have the tools to decide what kind of a life and lifestyle you wish to enjoy." And then launch into your MMM/FIRE lecture.

Taran Wanderer

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Re: Teaching personal finance to college freshmen
« Reply #7 on: August 11, 2015, 11:00:05 PM »
I have taught different ages and different settings so I understand that you have to tailor your topic to your audience. I would definitely take this opportunity to talk to the class about FIRE. But, as lbmustache said, present it in terms of freedom. Perhaps even question their world view;

"What would you do if you had unlimited free time at age X?

"What must a regular college grad do to retire after 17 years of work? Is it even possible? What about 12 years? Possible? What if I told you that a regular person, just like you, could graduate college, work for 9 years, and then retire?

"The information you are about to hear is perhaps the most valuable information (in terms of dollars and cents) that you will hear in the next four years, if not in your entire lifetime" (bam! Now you have their attention!!). "You are very lucky to hear this at the beginning of your studies and not four years from now. You have a choice, to listen and act upon it and gain your freedom. Or you can be like most people out there (point to the door or window) who have no idea what the world has to offer. The choice is yours and after we are done you will have the tools to decide what kind of a life and lifestyle you wish to enjoy." And then launch into your MMM/FIRE lecture.

That's an interesting way to approach it.  You might hook them quickly and build some real interest.  I would suggest then diving into basic financial literacy.  What is a checking account?  What is a savings account?  How do credit cards really work?  (You have to pay them back!)  What are interest rates and how can you make them work for you or against you?  What is a brokerage account?  What are stocks, bonds, and mutual funds?  How do you use a brokerage account (or Vanguard account) to buy stocks, bonds or mutual funds?  What sort of legacy (debt or riches) do you want to leave for your future self?  This is where you make the point of investing $20/month in their future selves.

I doubt you will create any mustachians, but if you can encourage some bogleheads, they will be well down the road if they choose to go mustachian later.

vagon

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Re: Teaching personal finance to college freshmen
« Reply #8 on: August 12, 2015, 12:49:14 AM »
Suggest you do some learning theory reading and implement the lessons subtly into your lectures.
I'll third the recommendation from bwall to sell the benefits rather than launch into the theory straight out.

Rural

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Re: Teaching personal finance to college freshmen
« Reply #9 on: August 12, 2015, 03:43:03 AM »
Thanks for the suggestions so far, everyone, and for the link and the group activity idea. I suppose I should have clarified that about half of my teaching already involves freshman classes, so I do spend a great deal of time interacting with them. What I'm struggling with is prioritizing topics that will really help them given that I can only spend a couple of sessions on this during the semester, and the discussion here helps.


We have an unusual demographic at my college - mostly first-generation college students, culturally Appalachian, which in part means extremely debt-averse. In that class of 35, I may have a few with student loans, but I wouldn't be surprised if there were none. On the other hand, I'd be shocked if I had more than five who did not qualify for Pell grants (low income). A few of those who would qualify will not have applied for grants on the basis of not accepting charity.


And then I'll have a smattering of the middle class eighteen year olds most of us think about with college freshmen. I should check my roll, too, to see how many over 25, because that might change the dynamic.


A few will be away from home for the first time, but most will be living at home or with relatives who live near the college.


So, we're not a community college in the sense that we award mostly bachelor's degrees, but think community college costs and demographics and you'll have a clearer picture of who I'll be talking to.


I'm not doing the personal finance bit right away, so I'll have a little time to get to know them first.


Thanks for the ideas, everyone, and please keep them coming!

Zamboni

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Re: Teaching personal finance to college freshmen
« Reply #10 on: August 12, 2015, 06:59:42 AM »
Actually, now that you've described the demographic of your students, I'd split the activity into two parts, delivered separately but on the same day. Part 1 would be the superstar athlete money, maybe $500K to a million a year or something (don't tell them it's athlete money, just give them some big pot presented as an annual salary and some big ticket items choices like a mortgage for a huge mansion, some cars, so smaller homes, other cars, food, entertainment options, etc. along with investment choices like the employer's 401K.) Say they are not limited by this list and they can even pay for things for other people if they want to, as some might want to buy a house for another family member, or pay for their sister's phone. Use this as a chance to talk about wants versus needs. Make them make choices and a list with how to spend or save all of the money. I wonder if some of the groups won't fully cover needs? I wonder how many will save 10% and think they are doing awesome? Then, after they've spent 20 minutes pondering and discussing that, have a group discussion to see what they chose (is there a way each group can project how they spent/saved it?) Next clue them in that it's an athlete, perhaps in the NFL or WNBA, and let them know what the average career is only 3.3 - 6 years, depending upon whether you want to believe the numbers from the players' association or the owners.  What would they do now? If they need to save a lot more, what option should they use? Savings account? Friend's restaurant? Stocks/Bonds? Have them redo their lists. Some groups won't want to change their list, which is fine. Discuss again. Perhaps then use some clips from that ESPN documentary about athletes going bankrupt (Broke.)

Then as a homework, I'd give them much more modest means to ponder on their own individually. Perhaps $25K a year? Perhaps whatever is an average salary where you live? Have them research where they would live locally on their own (would they have roommates?) and decide what they would spend each month on other things. What would they save, and how? Make this worth enough points that they do it, perhaps with some additional incentive by telling them they will discuss and compare with their group for 10 min right at the beginning of the next class, so please come ready and don't be late! Now you can hear what they would theoretically do.

At this point, some of them might be ready to listen to your ideas about it. Show them what you would do after they've all presented and explain why. By next year you can use one of this year's student examples for comparison. Who will be more financially secure? Maybe at this point they will actually do some readings.

Good luck!

AlwaysLearningToSave

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Re: Teaching personal finance to college freshmen
« Reply #11 on: August 12, 2015, 07:55:02 AM »
Consider using MMM's concept of present self versus future self.  I think college students are generally pretty self-interested and framing it in this way might help them see frugality as a gift to their future self rather than mere "deprivation."  I think a lot more college students would be interested in setting themselves up to receive a constant stream of gifts in the future than would be interested in choosing not to spend 50% of their hard-earned and very modest college student incomes.

CmFtns

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Re: Teaching personal finance to college freshmen
« Reply #12 on: August 12, 2015, 08:17:46 AM »
We have an unusual demographic at my college - mostly first-generation college students, culturally Appalachian, which in part means extremely debt-averse. In that class of 35, I may have a few with student loans, but I wouldn't be surprised if there were none. On the other hand, I'd be shocked if I had more than five who did not qualify for Pell grants (low income). A few of those who would qualify will not have applied for grants on the basis of not accepting charity.


And then I'll have a smattering of the middle class eighteen year olds most of us think about with college freshmen. I should check my roll, too, to see how many over 25, because that might change the dynamic.


A few will be away from home for the first time, but most will be living at home or with relatives who live near the college.


So, we're not a community college in the sense that we award mostly bachelor's degrees, but think community college costs and demographics and you'll have a clearer picture of who I'll be talking to.

It seems like much much different college demographics then I am used to. The amount of loans my friends and acquaintances had and still have was and is truly astonishing. Seems like your students already have a good start being debt-adverse/living at home

Jules13

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Re: Teaching personal finance to college freshmen
« Reply #13 on: August 12, 2015, 08:53:10 AM »
I haven't played this game that Design Mom made up and posted on her blog, but I thought it looked pretty interesting and covers basics of living on your own and how upgrading/downgrading your lifestyle can affect your budget.  Don't know how or if it addresses saving or loans, but some of these kids are likely starting from ground zero.  I know adults who don't have these basic concepts down yet.

http://www.designmom.com/2015/07/a-budget-game-for-teens-that-i-totally-made-up-and-maybe-your-kids-will-like-it-too/

Cwadda

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Re: Teaching personal finance to college freshmen
« Reply #14 on: August 12, 2015, 09:01:40 AM »
This is something I found on the forums a while back. I did NOT make this outline, another member did. I forget who the user was, but looks like she spent a lot of time with it. If I figure out who made it, I'll be sure to give credit.

MrsPete

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Re: Teaching personal finance to college freshmen
« Reply #15 on: August 12, 2015, 04:32:46 PM »
Cool project.  I teach high school seniors, so you're teaching "my kids" -- but you're only getting the best of them.  I strongly suggest that you don't just lecture the whole time; you'll lose them.  Create little games for them.  Give them some information, then break them into groups and have them work through simulations.  Include videos.  Throw candy at those who give right answers, and you'll see your participation increase.  In other words, vary your instruction.  Here's what I'd include in the lessons:

- I'd start with time management.  If I had to name ONE THING that my high school seniors "don't get" it'd be time management.  They weedle away hours on nothing, they underestimate how much time something will take, and when they do sit down to work at something, they aren't particularly efficient in their work habits.  It's true of even my best students:  A project I could knock out in 30 minutes takes them 2-3 class days.  I'd suggest some sort of weekly planner that would include their classes, time they intend to study, and their other goals (part time job, time spent working out, whatever).  I really think that kids who master time management are going to "get" everything too -- probably because it's tied into self-discipline. 

- Have them make a four-year plan for themselves.  This is something else that college kids "don't get".  In high school their counselors helped them with their schedules, so they definitely took an English and a math every year, and they progressed towards graduation.  They need to understand that in college they're allowed to take a whole year of art, choir, and -- oh, fill in something else easy -- and no one will stop them from making that choice -- but at the end of that year, they won't have progressed much towards graduation.  They need to understand that a plan increases their chances of graduating on time.

- Be sure they understand that their college offers TONS of helpful resources, but they have to seek them out themselves.  Most colleges have a writing resource center, math help sessions, computer-fixing centers, counseling centers.  My own daughter got sick her first week of school (this is not uncommon), and although I'd made sure she understood that Health Services was there for her, she called me and asked if her symptoms were "bad enough to bother them".  Emphasize that reading the things the university sends can be very helpful; for example, my daughter gets an email from Food Services every month -- and it includes coupons!  Good coupons, for example, Buy a bowl of soup and get a free grilled cheese; Get a 12-inch sub or burrito for the price of a 6-inch; Buy any meal and get a free apple.  She could print as many of these coupons as she wanted, and they helped stretch her meal plan dollar.  But MANY STUDENTS just ignore the university's various "helps". 

- Someone above mentioned stress relief.  Yes, include something on healthy ways to manage stress.  Every year that I teach, the kids whine more and more about their stressful lives. 

When it comes to money, I think you should divide the topic into two sections:  Managing your money now in college and long-term financial planning. 

- The first item in managing your money now, of course, should be avoiding debt.  I'm amazed at how many students just don't seem to try to avoid debt at all -- I mean, at least half the college students I know personally don't even work in the summer.  You could make this into a cute exercise:  This group borrows/works in summer AND school year ... next group borrows/works in the summer only ... that group borrows/doesn't work ... how much difference does it make in their total repayment? 

- This seems crystal-clear obvious to you and me, but have them look at their resources ...and how many weeks are in a semester ... and figure out a "ceiling" for spending.  I say "resources" because I'm thinking of my oldest daughter's college meal plan.  They don't get X number of meals per week; rather, they have X amount of money (and the university tells us how much we must put in), and they can spend it in the various food service venues around campus -- in college terms, it's called a Declining Balance Meal Plan.  My girl was smart enough to divide X by 14 weeks and write a dollar figure on each Friday's calendar.  She figured that as long as she still had MORE than that amount on Friday, she wouldn't run out of money at the end of the semester.  However, she says that MOST of the boys on her hall ran out of money around Thanksgiving, and some of them didn't have access to more meal plan money.  This could've been avoided with a little better planning.

- I'd give a nod to the idea of saving for the long-term and retiring, but I don't see this crew really buying into it -- even with the idea of retiring after only a decade or two of work.  It's hard to be worked up for college, to dedicate yourself to four years of study for a career ... and at the same time think about leaving that career.  Oh, talk about saving from that very first professional paycheck; talk about how continuing to live as a student will allow you to get a good financial start; but I think your best bet for this topic is to send home "additional reading" for the few who are able to think that far ahead.

- Consider a follow-up group on social media, a group that'll allow them to ask you questions and find support as they begin that toughest year in college. 






« Last Edit: August 12, 2015, 04:37:17 PM by MrsPete »

Spork

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Re: Teaching personal finance to college freshmen
« Reply #16 on: August 12, 2015, 05:02:11 PM »
Time value of money. At their age, they don't have much money, but they have the potential advantage of starting early.

Cover the idea of compound interests - how it can work for us through investment, and how it works against us through credit card debt/student loans etc. There are graphs around that show the effect of compound interest (e.g. this?).

Case studies with real numbers would be helpful, something like, acorn decides to study engineering, which will cost an average of $$$ at a college, with student loans at x%. When acorn graduates, and gets a job that pays $ on average, it will take 10 years to pay off the student loans.  But if acorn spends less money (cooking at home, less booze, etc), it will only take 5 years to pay it off, etc etc.

For freshmen, I wouldn't even bother about RE, credit scores and things that are way off into the future (mortgages). If you can create realistic case studies (based on actual numbers and sources that they can look up) that are an accurate projection of their lives for the next 5-10 years, that can get them thinking about how they want to spend/earn money.

If they can get some good habits going (budgeting, saving, etc) after those 2 sessions and maintain them through college/life, the rest will hopefully come relatively easily to them as they get older. Start with the basics, and build a nice strong foundation for those kids.

Kudos for volunteering to teach the class!! They're lucky to get a personal finance class from a mustachian :)

This.

I have always been a saver.  But I always saved "for something" -- and then probably spent most of it when I had enough.  The power of compound interest didn't hit me until almost 30 (and after I was starting from zero after a divorce.)  How awesome would it be to really "get it" and start earlier?

Rural

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Re: Teaching personal finance to college freshmen
« Reply #17 on: August 12, 2015, 06:52:06 PM »
Thanks again, all. I really like the game linked, and it led me to a page at the Utah DOE aimed at high schoolers, but which has a lot of suitable stuff, anyway.


Mrs Pete, you described several of the units in the crest of the course in the first half of your post. I don't have to worry about keeping up with them as they start college; this is a full-semester course, so I'll have them for the first half of that year. I like your idea to examine a finite resource they have; I'll have to think of something other than a meal plan since we don't offer one, but it may well be that the remainder of Pell checks would do. For some, that's what they'll live on for the semester, and the rest will be working and we can use wages.


....okay , just went through the list. Most of the students are between 18 and 20, with as many 20 as there are 18. That may well mean several have worked a couple of years since high school to save up money for college. Then I have four between 25 and 35, and one well over 50. I'll have to plan a way to avoid annoying them as much as possible, and in more than the financial unit.

I definitely do want to talk ab t compound interest, in both directions (investing and borrowing). Will need to be careful not to depress my fifty something too much with that...
« Last Edit: August 12, 2015, 06:53:41 PM by Rural »

Jules13

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Re: Teaching personal finance to college freshmen
« Reply #18 on: August 12, 2015, 07:47:28 PM »
Maybe the older students will have some great words of wisdom for the younger set. :)

Rural

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Re: Teaching personal finance to college freshmen
« Reply #19 on: August 13, 2015, 03:10:23 AM »
Maybe the older students will have some great words of wisdom for the younger set. :)


I'm hoping so, but I try very hard not to turn my nontraditional students into resident experts or unpaid TAs - it's not right, and its not the education they're paying for. It's a fine line managing all that. :)

libertarian4321

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Re: Teaching personal finance to college freshmen
« Reply #20 on: August 13, 2015, 03:33:08 AM »

-Buy used books
-Get a roomate
-Do some home cooking
-Dont buy a car, your young, bike to class

More helpful topics:

Get FREE beer.  Use fraternity rush parties to your own advantage.  Also, join the Rugby team- you can easily make up the cost of joining in free beer, if you work at it.*
Figure out when and where the free wine and cheese events occur*.  No one will know you aren't supposed to be there.  Just look like you give a damn about early Modern Ethiopian Art History while you munch and drink.
Hook up with a girl who knows how to cook, even if she's not great looking, this is a strategic move, not a love affair.  Not only do you get free grub, it's gonna taste better than any crap you eat out of a can.  Bonus:  if she's in your major, you can use her as a study partner or have her take class notes for you.  Plus, you'll save money on the weekends if you don't have to chase tail, which can be damned expensive.

*Er, only if you are over 21, of course.  God knows, I wouldn't advocate breaking the ridiculous laws against underage drinking for college students.  I gotta say that because, as we know, our idiotic government has decided that at 18, you can vote, enter into legal contracts, or join the military and kill people, but can't legally drink a freakin' Coors Lite.  How moronic is that?  Next topic- vote Libertarian to end such STUPID laws.

And lest you think me a crabby, old sexist bastard, this works for girls, too.


Rural

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Re: Teaching personal finance to college freshmen
« Reply #21 on: August 13, 2015, 03:44:37 AM »

-Buy used books
-Get a roomate
-Do some home cooking
-Dont buy a car, your young, bike to class

More helpful topics:

Get FREE beer.  Use fraternity rush parties to your own advantage.  Also, join the Rugby team- you can easily make up the cost of joining in free beer, if you work at it.*
Figure out when and where the free wine and cheese events occur*.  No one will know you aren't supposed to be there.  Just look like you give a damn about early Modern Ethiopian Art History while you munch and drink.
Hook up with a girl who knows how to cook, even if she's not great looking, this is a strategic move, not a love affair.  Not only do you get free grub, it's gonna taste better than any crap you eat out of a can.  Bonus:  if she's in your major, you can use her as a study partner or have her take class notes for you.  Plus, you'll save money on the weekends if you don't have to chase tail, which can be damned expensive.

*Er, only if you are over 21, of course.  God knows, I wouldn't advocate breaking the ridiculous laws against underage drinking for college students.  I gotta say that because, as we know, our idiotic government has decided that at 18, you can vote, enter into legal contracts, or join the military and kill people, but can't legally drink a freakin' Coors Lite.  How moronic is that?  Next topic- vote Libertarian to end such STUPID laws.

And lest you think me a crabby, old sexist bastard, this works for girls, too.


We have no fraternities, wine tastings, or Ethiopian art, but I'll take your notes about cooking under advisement. Cooking is very Mustachian. :)

MrsPete

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Re: Teaching personal finance to college freshmen
« Reply #22 on: August 13, 2015, 07:18:06 AM »
Time value of money. At their age, they don't have much money, but they have the potential advantage of starting early.

Cover the idea of compound interests - how it can work for us through investment, and how it works against us through credit card debt/student loans etc. There are graphs around that show the effect of compound interest (e.g. this?).

Case studies with real numbers would be helpful, something like, acorn decides to study engineering, which will cost an average of $$$ at a college, with student loans at x%. When acorn graduates, and gets a job that pays $ on average, it will take 10 years to pay off the student loans.  But if acorn spends less money (cooking at home, less booze, etc), it will only take 5 years to pay it off, etc etc.

For freshmen, I wouldn't even bother about RE, credit scores and things that are way off into the future (mortgages). If you can create realistic case studies (based on actual numbers and sources that they can look up) that are an accurate projection of their lives for the next 5-10 years, that can get them thinking about how they want to spend/earn money.

If they can get some good habits going (budgeting, saving, etc) after those 2 sessions and maintain them through college/life, the rest will hopefully come relatively easily to them as they get older. Start with the basics, and build a nice strong foundation for those kids.

Kudos for volunteering to teach the class!! They're lucky to get a personal finance class from a mustachian :)

This.

I have always been a saver.  But I always saved "for something" -- and then probably spent most of it when I had enough.  The power of compound interest didn't hit me until almost 30 (and after I was starting from zero after a divorce.)  How awesome would it be to really "get it" and start earlier?
I specifically remember grasping the concept of compound interest in high school Algebra 2, though initially what I understood was that the bank would TAKE money from me if I borrowed -- it took me a while longer to understand that I could be on the receiving end of compound interest. 

You're right though:  It would be a good thing to discuss.  Since it might seem more personal to the students, I'd start with how compound interest on a student loan takes from you ... insert an exercise in which students figure up interest for themselves /see how low rate is so much better than a high rate ... and then move on to the idea of investing putting you on the right side of compound interest ... and definitely do an exercise to help them understand that their greatest asset is time.  Sorry for the 50 year old, but you've gotta go with what's good for the group here.
Mrs Pete, you described several of the units in the crest of the course in the first half of your post. I don't have to worry about keeping up with them as they start college; this is a full-semester course, so I'll have them for the first half of that year. I like your idea to examine a finite resource they have
Yes, they'll remember it if you connect it to something REAL.  All the people who whine that they weren't taught anything about finance in high school just don't remember it because it seemed so distant, so unconnected to their own lives, so much less important at that moment than whether they had money for pizza after Friday night's football game. 

Zamboni

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Re: Teaching personal finance to college freshmen
« Reply #23 on: August 13, 2015, 04:51:24 PM »
Quote
Figure out when and where the free wine and cheese events occur*.  No one will know you aren't supposed to be there.  Just look like you give a damn about early Modern Ethiopian Art History while you munch and drink.

Haha, on of my former colleagues even set up a facebook website for people to post alerts about free food events on his campus. He has an enthusiastic following, and if you want to know when the gals of Delta Zeta will next have free donuts on the quad, then he's your man. He has an semi-annual event called "swipe fest", where students with leftover swipes invite random people to just show up at a certain time and be their guests at the all you can eat cafeteria near the end of the term. It's surprising that the food services people haven't found out at shut this down or at least limited the number of guests you can host at one meal, because swipes are use em or lose em. I went to a couple of odd events with him when we worked together (like a Q&A with the transportation department because it had good snacks.) He almost never buys food, and often only eats one giant meal per day. Interesting guy, with a background very different from mine, and he did open my eyes about a different way to view life.

There are two elderly people on campus who are widely known for doing this. I don't know that either even has any association with my school, but I've seen them at my friends' art openings around town and apparently they are appear at the law school for the free lunch seminars. At the art openings, they pretty much just eat and run.

The move $5 a Day, starring Christopher Walken, shows a man taking this to a new level.

Back on topic, it seems crazy that a 50 year old would be in a "how to be a college student" course. You are wise to do your best to view him or her as just another student.

robartsd

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Re: Teaching personal finance to college freshmen
« Reply #24 on: August 13, 2015, 05:12:44 PM »
Back on topic, it seems crazy that a 50 year old would be in a "how to be a college student" course. You are wise to do your best to view him or her as just another student.
My thought is that either:
1) the school requires the course - in which case you might figure out an arrangement where the student get credit for the course but doesn't have to put in nearly as much time
- or -
2) going back to school is a big deal for the student and they can really use a boost in confidence that they can succeed at it (or counseling on how it may or may not benefit them financially).

Rural

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Re: Teaching personal finance to college freshmen
« Reply #25 on: August 13, 2015, 07:31:46 PM »
Back on topic, it seems crazy that a 50 year old would be in a "how to be a college student" course. You are wise to do your best to view him or her as just another student.
My thought is that either:
1) the school requires the course - in which case you might figure out an arrangement where the student get credit for the course but doesn't have to put in nearly as much time
- or -
2) going back to school is a big deal for the student and they can really use a boost in confidence that they can succeed at it (or counseling on how it may or may not benefit them financially).


The course is required for all new freshman, so presumably this student has never been to college. That means there should be at least some useful stuff in the class. It's also generally an easy boost to the GPA, so there's that. But yes, this is a student I'll work with as needed and appropriate - I'll know more when I've had a chance to get to know the student.