Moving Beyond the "What" to the "How": Financial Literacy Curriculum Returns to the Boulevard

Financial planning, debt management, environmental stability…all of these topics (and more) were tackled last week when the folks from PricewaterhouseCoopers took over the Boulevard and Middle School classrooms to work with Speyer's students for the second session of this year's Financial Literacy curriculum. Moving beyond the "what" to the "how," each grade explored a different financial concept. 

How much should you save to become a millionaire by a certain age? That’s what the fifth graders were asked as they learned about investing and saving, going in-depth to explore just how money "grows" when you invest it. Breaking down concepts such as investing and interest (both compound and simple), the students analyzed how saving a certain amount of money each day for a certain amount of time would increase with interest.  They created a college savings plan as well as the aforementioned millionaire savings plan. One fifth grader’s idea to become a millionaire: he’s starting his millionaire savings program by picking up dropped coins in front of Starbucks and saving them now instead of buying apps for his phone.  

The sixth graders analyzed something we use every day – a light bulb – as a way to explore the impact of purchase choices and the financial and environmental implications of energy efficiency. After discussing incandescent bulbs and LED bulbs and ways to measure energy, students then did a side-by-side comparison of how the use of incandescent and LED bulbs would affect them financially, as well as how these choices affect the environment. The topic was so “illuminating” that one student became determined to remove all the LED bulbs out of their current apartment when they moved!

Meanwhile, seventh graders jumped right into their study of credit scores. From why it is important to establish a positive credit history to the value of credit reports to borrowers and to lenders, students came away with key knowledge about credit and debt. They also applied legal guidelines to determine permissible uses of a credit report other than granting credit and discussed ways that a negative credit report can affect a consumer's financial future. Pretty important conversations arose, including the question about what happens to debts when someone passes away or cannot afford to pay back debt.

The eighth graders asked and answered questions such as How do you make a budget? How do you plan financially for an emergency? Why is a budget important? and What are fixed expenses and variable expenses? as they began to learn the practical, yet essential skills of budgeting and financial planning. It was interesting to observe the students incorporating clothes and electronics into their budgets.

Stay tuned for more updates soon on the Speyer Stock Challenge and the Financial Literacy Fund Portfolio!