Understanding basic financial principles is key to economic stability for individuals and communities. That's why T. Rowe Price is committed to helping people of all ages develop skills required to make wise financial decisions for themselves and their families. Helping people become educated investors has been a part of the T. Rowe Price mission for over 80 years.
Did you know that less than half of high school seniors qualify as financially literate and only half 10-14-year-olds could pass this financial quiz? These findings suggest our students aren’t money-confident kids. And, while no one argues that teaching students how to solve quadratic equations or write a paragraph isn’t important, financial literacy is too. But schools are lagging, and teaching money smarts is too often a “nice to have” when it really needs to be a “must have.” Teachers know that when you teach kids about money, you are also teaching them important life skills like self-awareness, goal setting, and impulse control. But teachers don’t always have access to financial literacy curriculum or the time to teach it. The good news? We don’t have to start from scratch or be experts to teach this. That’s why we love these five financial literacy lessons for middle schoolers. Here’s what students will learn and how:
1. Goal setting is the first step toward money confidence. Help students envision why they are saving and what they are saving for.
Students will learn how to create SMART goals and how to create and monitor a budget to reach their financial goals as they explore a scenario where Nikki, a fictional middle schooler, works to reach her goal of saving $140.00 in two weeks for her awesome robot project.
2. Understanding the ins and outs of financial decision making is an important skill. Teach students how to talk about money and weigh the pros and cons before they act.
Students learn the difference between needs and wants. In this activity, students go on a back-to-school shopping trip with Nikki and her brother. Students have to decide what purchases are necessary or not. There’s another activity where students have to use a budget to help Nikki plan a party. We love how these lessons use real-life scenarios that students are likely to experience.
3. Students learn the concept of inflation through fun games, activities, and conversation starters.
Students learn about Nikki’s dream to save for a house, and they read about how Nikki needs to consider inflation when she makes a budget. We especially like how this lesson teaches students the importance of saving for unexpected expenses like roof repairs.
4. Our students may not have assets, but we can still teach them how to set long-term goals for making their money grow.
We wish someone taught us about saving for retirement and how 401Ks work when we were in school! In this lesson, students learn about different types of investments and how someone’s age might affect their investment strategy.
5. It’s not too early to teach students about investing. Students consider different investment options and scenarios.
Students learn the meaning of the expression, “don’t put all your eggs in one basket,” in this lesson on diversification. They consider different scenarios and will learn how important it is to have a mix of investments.
Want more? Our friends at T.Rowe Price put together a comprehensive Teacher’s Guide and Student Workbook with these lesson plans, activity sheets, and more so, have everything you need to help your students get money confident.