Financial Literacy – Helping Students To Become Independent Citizens
Guest post by Laura Pearson
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Teachers like you understand the importance of educating students on financial literacy. You’ve seen what happens when kids don’t learn about money and responsibility, and you want to prevent such disasters and hardships by training your students early on. Yet you might sometimes be at a loss about how to do this. Read on for some ideas to incorporate financial literacy training into your classroom.
Your first step in promoting financial literacy for your students is to get them comfortable with numbers. Let them know that math isn’t just abstract but is highly useful in everyday life. Assign activities that teach students how people use math in real life. You might have kids work on classroom crafts or cooking projects that require measurement or encourage them to sit with their parents to learn about the family budget. Assign students to ask their parents how they use math in their jobs. Mostly, get them used to the idea that numbers and math are necessary nearly all the time.
You might also get kids to think about financial literacy by developing some role-playing games. Younger children might benefit from a classroom store. Allow each student a certain amount of pretend money, and ask them to make a shopping list. They’ll practice decision-making skills, math functions, and budgeting. Older students could participate in a stock market exercise in which they virtually invest “money” in the stock market and follow their investments over time.
Lessons in Savings
Teach your students about saving money, too. Talk about the options for savings accounts and how people cut expenses to save money. Discuss how valuable it is to have a financial cushion for emergencies, education expenses, and retirement. You could even encourage students to start their own savings accounts and keep track of how much they’re saving.
High school students could certainly use some instruction and practice in budgeting. You might center your lessons around budgeting for rent or mortgage payments. Make sure students understand what they must consider before deciding to rent or buy a home, such as current income, job stability, and ability to maintain a house. Also, teach young people about additional costs of homeownership, including homeowner’s insurance. Explain to them that, on average, costs for Florida homeowners insurance are at around $1,960 (higher than the national average of $1,249) and that such costs can fluctuate. This helps them understand the importance of budgeting and careful consideration.
You might even extend your lessons to include more homeownership information. Introduce concepts such as equity and asset building as well as financial security, which can all come from homeownership. But also talk to students about the necessity of knowing what they can afford before they purchase a home and about the risk of becoming house poor. Discuss the nature of mortgages, the importance of pre-approval, and the home-buying process. You’ll provide your students with practical knowledge they’ll use down the road.
Young people need to learn financial literacy if they’re going to be productive, responsible adults. As a teacher, you have a prime opportunity to give them the knowledge they need, so get creative. For more teaching strategies, visit the Teach & Kids Learn website.