Author Topic: What would you try to teach disadvantaged teenagers about finances?  (Read 2309 times)

Mr Mark

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One of the many things I'd like to do post fire is hold a pro-bono 3hr session for some of the local high schools on finance and basic financial literacy.

What suggestions does the community have for what to include in such a course? Parents too?

Obviously I already have some ideas and FWIW I'm a professional instructor / adult educator.

Michael in ABQ

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Re: What would you try to teach disadvantaged teenagers about finances?
« Reply #1 on: September 01, 2017, 01:11:25 PM »
If you can teach them simply not to borrow money to buy vehicles you will probably save them $500,000 - $1,000,000 over their lifetime.

The power of compound interest.

Live within/below your means.

Invest in the stock market, preferably with broad based index funds.

nawhite

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Re: What would you try to teach disadvantaged teenagers about finances?
« Reply #2 on: September 01, 2017, 01:15:42 PM »
You should volunteer with Junior Achievement: https://www.juniorachievement.org/web/ja-usa/ja-programs?p_p_id=56_INSTANCE_abcd&p_p_lifecycle=0&p_p_state=maximized&p_p_mode=view&p_p_col_id=ja-maincontent&p_p_col_count=1&_56_INSTANCE_abcd_groupId=14516&_56_INSTANCE_abcd_articleId=19571

That is their "Personal Finance" course for 9-12th graders and when I taught it 5 years ago, it was fantastic. The curriculum is great, the materials make it easy to work with people with different learning styles and you have the classroom teacher to help out with any issues you see.

No reason to re-invent the wheel.

Jaida

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Re: What would you try to teach disadvantaged teenagers about finances?
« Reply #3 on: September 01, 2017, 01:20:56 PM »
I work with community college students, in career services.  To start, 3 hours feels a bit long (I teach 2.5 hour workshops that include a break and I still feel like I lose my audience a bit at the end) but if you chunk the content well and let them move around a little it could work.  I'm also assuming this is one-shot instruction vs. multiple sessions.

I would focus on the very basics of finance and budgeting, banking/credit, car purchasing, and financial aid (especially not squandering Pell Grants / other assistance on Stuff instead of actual cost of living needs) - the stuff they'll need to know right then, or in the next couple years.  I would also try and throw in content about job preparation / professionalism - in order to not spend more than they earn, they'll have to earn a fair bit, and they'll do that by getting better jobs, but some of this you could outsource by making sure to mention offices like mine or local organizations that may have job training programs for the under-18 or under-19 set.  There's only so much content you can cover even in 3 hours and it goes pretty quick.

Getting the participants to read something ahead of the session (flipped instruction) would probably help with engagement and discussion, but that might only be possible if you're partnering directly with instructors in the schools & they can assign something before your one-shot instruction takes place.  Being an extra credit opportunity also helps with getting bodies in the door.

Mr Mark

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Re: What would you try to teach disadvantaged teenagers about finances?
« Reply #4 on: September 01, 2017, 01:34:51 PM »
Already great comments and suggestions. I really appreciate the tremendous support we can get from this community.

Keep the ideas coming. Will revert later with what I've gleaned. For background this will be in Detroit so a lot of these kids already have some headwinds compared to my teen years.

soccerluvof4

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Re: What would you try to teach disadvantaged teenagers about finances?
« Reply #5 on: September 01, 2017, 02:10:23 PM »
I like what your doing big time!

The usual suspects like compounding, avoiding debt, savings rate and how and why or why not to buy a home. Also I would suggest some easy reads like the Millionaire next Door, Your money or your life and the Overspent American.  The latte effect! explain that. I use that all the time. Reading the small print on anything your going to borrow, buy etc..

Keep us posted on how this goes! we need more of this.


ambimammular

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Re: What would you try to teach disadvantaged teenagers about finances?
« Reply #6 on: September 02, 2017, 06:14:08 PM »
Focus on the habit of saving. High schoolers won't have much now, but keeping some chunk of it out of every paycheck will be a good start.

Also, the graph from
 www.fourpillarfreedom.com/want-to-retire-early-focus-on-your-savings-rate-not-investment-returns
has been pretty inspiring for young college students I've talked with.

Both show how they can have control over what happens with their money instead of money being a thing that happens to them. (internal vs external locus of control)

AnnaGrowsAMustache

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Re: What would you try to teach disadvantaged teenagers about finances?
« Reply #7 on: September 02, 2017, 06:41:32 PM »
I would teach them that every item, even grocery store items, has more than one price. You can pay a lot for it, or you can pay a little. What you pay is where your choice comes in. For example, if you have even $20 of savings, you can buy a dozen items when they're on sale instead of one item not on sale. This has some far reaching consequences:

1. You pay less per item than the guy down the street
2. You therefore have greater buying power than the guy down the street.
3. The more money you can save, the greater your buying power is.
4. The greater your buying power, the less money you spend, which leads to more savings and even greater buying power.
5. The longer you can keep your savings, so long as they're in an appropriate place, the even greater they become. This is the gift of compounding interest.
6. THIS, kiddies, is how the rich stay rich.

This comes with provisos, though, the biggest being that buying things you don't need is not a saving. This might be a time to mention Mike Tyson, his pet tiger and his low net worth.


koshtra

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Re: What would you try to teach disadvantaged teenagers about finances?
« Reply #8 on: September 02, 2017, 07:25:38 PM »
Depending on their backgrounds, they may have grown up thinking the only decent thing to do with money, when you have it, is spend it and/or share it. You might spend some time talking about this: ask them what names they and their families and their neighbors use for people who don't spend or don't share -- kids coming from some cultures will have a rich vocabulary of words that mean "tightwad" or "killjoy," and if they do, you need to bring that cultural discomfort up to the surface and talk about it.

Generosity and celebrating the moment are wonderful things, but so is being able to get a friend out of a financial hole, or being able to take care of your parents when they get old. They'll need to be clear that you're not trying to turn them into tightwads and killjoys. (They're likely to have much more colorful words for these things. Use those, if you can get away with it :->)

Concepts like checking accounts and brokerage accounts, which we take for granted, are apt to be totally foreign and intimidating to these kids, and will look to them like just one more way that the man tries to screw them out of what little they have. (They'll have questions like, how do you get your money back out, if you don't have a reliable mailing address?) If you can bring in successful business people from their own communities, it will help a lot. Your biggest hurdle will just be getting them to believe that saving & investing is something that people like them do.