In its quest to help bridge the financial education gap, Junior Achievement USA created two new series of free, downloadable teaching tools designed to help teachers and parents talk to young people about smart money management. The lessons, called Junior Achievement $ave, USA, are posted at JA.org—click “Programs”—and cover such topics as budgeting, the importance of saving, understanding the cost of credit and how to use it, and planning how to pay for college. The lessons are sponsored by The Allstate Foundation.
Each of the three one-hour lessons is targeted to a specific range of grades for implementation by JA volunteers and schools. The easy-to-use, downloadable courses focus on saving and sharing money for grade five; the importance of establishing a budget to manage money for grades six through eight; and learning about credit for grades nine through 12. All students will gain valuable financial knowledge that could improve their ability to make wise financial choices in the future.
In addition, JA has created 12 lessons for parents to use to talk to their children about personal financial literacy. According to the 2009 “Teens and Personal Finance” survey by Junior Achievement and The Allstate Foundation, the majority of teens surveyed (56%) feel that their parents are the best source of information about financial matters. The tools are intended to foster dialogue about sound personal finance practices, with a goal of having families put these practices into action.
“These new teaching tools respond to the heightened awareness that our future generation needs to understand the basics of personal finance,” said Simantel’s chief financial officer and Junior Achievement of Central Illinois board chairman, Rick Richardson. “The lessons are intended to get classrooms and families talking about finances, while providing young people with practical money management skills.”
Here’s a sneak peek at one of the elementary lessons, titled “Money Doubles by the Rule of 72.”
Jack and Jill are twins. When he was 10 years old, Jack started to save $20 a month. After 20 years, he stopped adding to his savings. Jill didn’t start to save until she was 20. Then, she saved $20 a month and kept adding to her savings until she retired 45 years later. They each earned 6% interest on their savings. Who had more money at the retirement age of 65?
Even though Jill saved for 45 years and Jack saved for only 20, at age 65 Jack had $66,000 in his account compared to Jill’s $54,000. This seems like a paradox, something that seems the opposite of common sense. How can you save less and have more? The answer is compound interest.
The lesson goes on to prove that saving isn’t futile, refuting that common belief in society today.
JA also offers in-class K-12 programs focusing on work readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy, typically delivered by a volunteer from the local business community. Junior Achievement of Central Illinois reaches over 13,000 students annually with its programs. They can be reached at 682-1800 and JuniorAchievement.biz. iBi