Alyse oversees a group of 8 interns at a financial advisory firm, and happily acts as a mentor to all of her team members. She really wanted to show them some money management lesson plans to help them quickly develop a foundational level of knowledge, but she didn’t know where to find a reliable resource. Rather than teaching them directly, she opted to find some outside help in delivering this extremely helpful information.
Following a series of informal interviews with the majority of her interns, she realized that the majority of this group needed to start at the beginning. She knew that, because they had little-to-no basic knowledge on the topic, an easy-to-digest resource would be most beneficial.
With Alyse already settled on her near-term blueprint and long-term goals, she could then turn her attention to finding the ideal presentation method for this vital material. How would this material best be delivered? At what pace should it be presented? She hoped to go with a program that allowed the group to go at their own pace, in order to deal with their mismatched schedules – which drove her to select an internet-based program that was able to present the material. She also filmed a series of money management PowerPoint presentations students could watch when they were free.
At the heart of any money management lesson plan lies the notion that money is going to influence our lives, whether we like it or not. In Level 2 of its Financial Capability Curriculum, the National Financial Educators Council (NFEC) reaches 3rd- to 5th-grade students with this message: Money is going to affect your life no matter what; so you need to choose whether that impact will be positive or negative.
The goal of the NFEC’s money management lessons is to help students of all ages—from preschool to adults—comprehend that their willingness to learn about money determines how money will impact their lives. It’s not hard to see how a person who’s open-minded to learning personal finance has an advantage over people who learn money lessons at the “school of hard knocks.” Money can work for us or against us, but we get to make the choice.
The NFEC’s curriculum for teaching money management encourages an understanding of how money forms an integral part of our daily lives. That includes knowledge about the concepts cost of living versus standard of living:
- Cost of living: the average cost of life’s basic necessities such as food, shelter, and clothing.
- Standard of living: the average level of wealth, comfort, goods, and necessities available in a given region.
These concepts, says the NFEC, are important for kids to grasp at an early age because they form the underlying principles behind learning to manage money effectively. Too many people today face debt burdens that cause them horrendous worry and stress, and that may even lead to bankruptcy or foreclosure. Teaching children money management early gives them a foundation for learning to live within their means. To this foundation they can add more money skills that eventually build a solid structure of good personal finance habits to carry into adulthood.