Illustration by Edpuzzle Staff
A 2018 survey of over a thousand millennials found that 84% said their high school education did not prepare them to manage their personal finances.
Let that sink in.
What would the students have liked to learn instead? The top three areas respondents said should be mandatory high school subjects were personal finance, stock market basics and filing taxes, in that order.
By neglecting to teach our students these invaluable life skills, we’re failing to prepare them for the real world.
But it’s not too late to start teaching today’s students how to manage their money. There are plenty of great resources to choose from, and Edpuzzle’s online course in personal finance for students is the perfect place to start.
The Personal Finance for Students Certification Course
The course is organized into eight manageable modules of interactive video lessons. They’re perfect if you love the flipped classroom model, or you can also watch them together in class and then debate the contents together.
Make it a cross-departmental venture and use the videos in math, social studies, economics and sociology, or present it to your homeroom or study hall students. However you choose to use the course, you’ll be setting your students up for financial success in their futures.
Module 1: Manage Your Money (~7 mins)
The first section of the course introduces students to the concept of managing their money. While it may seem fairly basic, many students have never thought about making a budget, having an emergency fund or how to build up savings. Think of your mindset when you were a teenager!
This is the perfect way to start the conversation about personal finance and gauge your students’ experience with money. Having a class discussion to start things off will help spark interest.
Here’s a taste of just one of the videos from the first module:
Module 2: Make a Budget (~13 mins)
This section breaks down how to make a budget and gets into keeping track of your income, fixed vs. variable expenses, auto-payments and what to set them up for, and savings.
Some students might have a good grasp of the types of expenses they’ll be facing as adults, but they’ll probably also need a reminder about expenses like insurance, which they may have never stopped to think about before.
The last video in this module details how to set up a budget for yourself using Google Sheets – perfect for a practical exercise your students can do at home or in class!
Module 3: Saving (~14 mins)
Of all the topics related to personal finance for students, saving can be the hardest to put into practice. Start by asking your students if they have a part-time job during the school year or have ever worked a summer job. That will at least give you an indication if they’ve had an opportunity to save.
This module covers spending trade-offs, tips and tricks to save money once students are living on their own, what discretionary expenses are, and how to build an emergency fund. This last one could be a life saver and keep students from falling into the black hole of credit card debt.
Module 4: Loans and Borrowing (~15 mins)
With the predatory nature of loan sharks and the instant gratification of payday loans, your students might be tempted by these dangerous practices if they don’t fully understand their implications.
Here, your students will learn about taking out a loan, what interest is, the dangers of payday loans, and get an overview of credit scores and credit reports. There’s a whole module on building credit as well, so hang tight for that important unit.
Module 5: College (~14 mins)
Nowhere else in the world is higher education as expensive as in the United States. This means that if your students will be attending college, they’re almost guaranteed to need some form of financial aid.
This section starts off by comparing costs in 2-year public, 4-year public and 4-year private universities. Students will learn how to calculate the net cost of a year of college, plus the types of grants and scholarships available to help alleviate the financial burden.
It also introduces students to FAFSA and the importance of completing it as early as possible. Finally, the Student Loans 101 video lesson will show your class what kind of financial aid is available and which would be best for them.
This module is excellent for showing your high school seniors at the beginning of the school year, and bonus points for having them watch at home with their parents.
Module 6: Build Credit (~9 mins)
The concept of credit is one of the most important pillars of personal finance for students. Chances are, your students have already been offered credit card applications as almost every clothing and electronics store has their own credit card they push on shoppers.
Students will learn what a credit score is and why they’ll need it for in the future, plus learn how to get started building credit with a secured credit card.
The module also dives into the difference between debit and credit cards and the advantages and disadvantages of each, in the last video of the section:
This super useful knowledge has likely never been explained to them before!
Module 7: Costs of Living (~20 mins)
One of the things your high school students are likely most eager about is moving out and living on their own. In this section of the course, your students will learn about how to calculate their cost of living to make sure they can make ends meet every month.
The videos break down the expenses included in the cost of living, and how to choose a destination based on the available job opportunities versus the cost of living. They’ll also learn the ins and outs of renting a place and all the costs associated with it.
Finally, there are a couple of handy videos about the expenses involved in owning a car, like insurance, gas and maintenance, plus evaluating whether to buy a new or used car.
Here’s an example of a video showing students how to calculate what a car would cost them, with everything included:
Module 8: Taxes (~10 mins)
The last module of the personal finance for students course delves into the complex world of taxes. Remember that in the study conducted of more than a thousand millennials, the third subject they listed that should be mandatory for high schoolers was how to file taxes.
Students will learn about income versus sales tax, what services taxes pay for, and what the W-2 and W-4 forms are for.
There’s also a video lesson on retirement and the different types of IRAs plus 401k plans. Even though retirement may be the furthest thing from your students’ minds, you’ll be doing them a monumental favor by getting them to start thinking about saving for retirement now.
How to Use the Personal Finance Video Lessons
To sum up, in less than two hours, you can dramatically increase your students’ financial literacy that will put them worlds beyond their peers.
To get the most out of the course, copy the video modules to your own content on Edpuzzle so you can edit the questions and personalize them for your group of students.
Giving your students financial freedom, keeping them out of debt, and teaching them life skills they’re guaranteed to use is a beautiful thing!