Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Financial Literacy

April is Financial Literacy Month. Ok, I know that doesn’t sound all that creative, nor even interesting, but no one has the ability to be creative or free unless they have their finances in order.  I struggled with debt most of my life for no good reason except I had no financial literacy. Once my eyes were open to how much I was wasting by giving it to the bank, I was fired up. Next month, my husband and I will celebrate our second anniversary of being totally debt free thanks to Dave Ramsey. He has come through again this year and is running a contest for teachers and students with over $5000 in prizes.  Check out his newsletter. I can’t understand why every student in the whole country isn’t required to take his course.  Not only is the course critical, it’s fun! Can you imagine what a clean start students would have in life if they were proactive instead of reactive to debt? It gets even better. Did you know that Fifth Third Bank will sponsor the teacher and student materials?  Why isn’t this course in every school?

A creative website

Finance in the Classroom is Utah’s Go-To website in which the Utah State Board of Education and the Legislature have taken bold steps to empower their students.  Beginning with the class of 2008, ALL Utah students are required to pass a ½ semester Financial Literacy Course. (Yeah!) Curriculum throughout the grade levels will be offered beginning in kindergarten!  Students can earn an Economic Passport by completing coursework online. Their entire curriculum is available in their Lessons/Activities K-12 section, enhanced with an extensive reading list and vocabulary terms.  Barnes and Noble even offer a 20% discount for teachers, too! Kudos to the state of Utah for this outstanding initiative. Another fine website is the Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy which provides great resources and reasons for empowering our students. They have written national financial standards and benchmarks for students and teachers. It is my passion to see the next generation live within their means and become debt-free! 

An image to share

Dollar Sign, This file is licensed under
 the Creative Commons Attribution-Share
and 1.0 Generic license.

A proverb
“ A penny saved is a penny earned.”  Benjamin Franklin

An encouragement
I don’t know about you, but I really didn’t have anyone teaching me how to make sound financial decisions when I was in high school and college never mind kindergarten.  My parents were excellent examples of money managers and modeled the value of hard work, but we never talked about money. The first time I really heard about handling money was in church.  After decades of paying for things on credit, I finally learned about the miracle of compound interest, but that it was working against me. We stopped borrowing money and slowly worked on removing debt, but it wasn’t until we heard about Dave Ramsey that we became “gazelle intense.”   We paid more off in 8 months than we did in 8 years.  We now have NO mortgage, NO car payments, NO credit cards and NO payments.  Be encouraged.  If we can do it, anyone can.  And just imagine, if we set the next generation up from the beginning, they will never even struggle through the debt removal trials. Making financial literacy a requirement for all students will do more than any standardized test score and will turn our nation around. Can you imagine a generation of givers? If our students never go into debt, they will be savers who not only support themselves, but help those who are less fortunate. It doesn’t matter what tool is used, it only matters that we give them the wisdom to never go into debt.

How do you do that?

How do you make financial literacy a high priority in our high schools and even middle schools?  Get Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace School Curriculum for your school if you want turn-key, DVD driven, fast-paced, standards-based lessons, his curriculum is second to none.  If you have no budget or sponsors, Utah’s Finance in the Classroom site is loaded will free resources for teachers. To begin, go to their Professional Development section and click around.  I found webinar archives, PowerPoints to download, national conferences I had never heard about. The PowerPoints included lessons on bankruptcy, bulletin board ideas, budgeting, giving, entrepreneurialism and much more. I thought the music section was fun because they created financial songs to the tunes of old songs. They even had a Money Menagerie with the history of money, money as art, and fun facts like:
How long do bills last? The Federal Reserve System lists the following life spans:
                  $ 1 - 22 months

                  $ 5 - 2 years

                  $ 10 - 3 years

                  $ 20 - 4 years

                  $ 50 - 9 years

                  $100 - 9 years

                  Coins usually survive in circulation for about 30 years.
How we handle our finances will determine our lifestyle and quality of life. Doesn’t it make sense to train our children? I just wish I knew what I know now when I was in school.  Let’s make sure our students are financially literate.

tuesdays with Karen” is a weekly newsletter/blog designed to encourage, equip and empower teachers to be creative with educational technology. This week you are actually getting "tuesdays" on Tuesday during the day! I'm in flight to Canada and had wireless. Fun!

As always, I am
Ubiquitously yours,

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