Personal finance should really be part of every
student's mandatory curriculum for middle and high
I teach 200 community college
students each semester and, even at this young age, most
of them are in serious financial trouble! You
wouldn't believe it. They have 20 credit cards --
all maxed. They've made late payments and,
practically, have FICO scores of 0. You may or may
not know this, but the second these kids hit their
college campus, they are greeted with a row of tables
with friendly credit card representatives ready to give
them a new pair of sun glasses if they just sign up for
their credit card... that charges 20% interest.
It, somehow, feels like free money and they spend it
And it's not just college
students who are in financial trouble -- most people in
their twenties are in trouble too. Why?
Because we aren't teaching them about this stuff! Offers to buy
an apartment full of furniture that they won't have to
start making payments on until next year is just too
good to pass up.
Like I said, personal finance
should really be part of every student's mandatory
curriculum for middle and high school... SO, LET'S
PUT IT THERE! Make your math class REALLY useful
for everyone, not just the kids going into science.
ALL kids want money, so let's teach them what to do with
it! You CAN teach them something that will change
their futures. (You should require 10% of their
future earnings for this!)
Finance FREAK is a simply
written course that you can easily incorporate into your
math classes. You can visit this site as a class
or assign it as outside reading (please check out our
copyright and fair use rules).
Here are some FAQ about how you
can use Finance FREAK with your classes:
age and math level is the site appropriate?
Age is a pretty relative thing. I think a bright
10 year old could get into this, but the typical age
would probably be 13 and up. As for the math
level... Yes, Finance FREAK does explain the math
behind compound interest and more... But, as long
as your kids know about exponents and can use a
calculator, they are good to go! So, I would say
Prealgebra and up.
class time with this take?
I think this is really up to you. Finance FREAK
consists of 42 lessons -- some can be gone through
quickly and on others, you'll want to linger.
If you work straight through the lessons, you can
probably do it in the first 3-4 months of the school
year. But, I suggest that you really take your
time with some and do some extra projects. Here's
a site map, so you can see
the whole lay-out of what's available. I suggest
that you talk about finances a little during most class
periods, say, after you lecture on regular material.
Trust me, it will take them a little while to get "into"
it... But, when I talk about this stuff in my
classes, you can hear a pin drop! The students
hang on every word.
some extra projects I can do with Finance FREAK?
Wow, there are lots of things you can do... and
I'm sure you'll come up with some of your own.
Here's what I've thought of:
them investigate things. For example, have them go
online and find the best bank to have their first
checking account. Our advertisers may be a good
starting place for this. Or you can have them just
Google for the info. We've provided a Google
search option at the bottom of appropriate pages.
Note: The Google search that
appears on Finance FREAK is a "safe search" which means
that your students cannot search for, uh, inappropriate
Suggestions for investigations:
||The best bank to
open a savings and checking account.
The best online bank.
The best money market rates.
The best CD rates.
Credit cards interest rates.
How to get student loans.
The best auto loan rates (dealer vs. bank).
What is their FICO score?
(This is for students who
have started a credit history - gotten a car
loan or have a credit card.)
What stock brokers have the best
What stocks are good to buy?
(See #4 for more ideas here.)
What mutual funds are good to buy?
(See #4 for more ideas
assignments that utilize our online financial
calculators. For example, have them compare which
investment is better.
Have them keep a budget. (This is best for high
school kids who are out buying gas, fast food etc.)
Check out the "Give
it Up to Get Rich" lesson to see what to do here,
then have them use the associated
see the effects.
going to love this one! Give them some fake money
($5000 or $10,000 or $20,000) and have them investigate
and buy some stocks and mutual funds with the money.
Have them create a portfolio of their purchases (and
sells). This could be a notebook that's turned
into you at the end of the year. Have them track
the prices of their stocks and mutual funds. (This
can be done daily or weekly.) You can use
for this. At the end of the semester, the student
whose portfolio shows the best return, wins a prize!
Hey, if you come up with a great idea, let us know about
Well, I hope
you like our
site and find wonderful ways to make it come alive for