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Financial Literacy

Ages 12-14 years

Teacher:  Cynthia Kimura


Homework:  Yes!  There will be some research to do at home.


Prerequisites:  Ability to add and subtract multiple numbers, learn to apply percentages to a number, calculate change and differences!  Ability to do home-research on charities, prices and more!


Teaching children personal finance is crucial for their long-term financial well-being.This hands-on class is designed to make kids smart with their decisions with money!  Should I buy it now or delay?  How much college debt is too much?  What’s a budget, and can I make a fabulous meal within that budget?  How much does it really cost to eat out? Or even to live in Santa Clarita?!   These are the kinds of questions we’ll be asking, and then doing the consumer math to find out!


We’ll start off with a history of money while we play a bartering game.  Who has something that someone else wants?  How do you get what you want based on what you have?  We’ll see that bartering has its limits!  So we’ll look at all the ways money works; Savings and Checking accounts, CDs and bonds.  We’ll watch a short video from the 7 Habits series on Starting With The End In Mind, and then using a simple spreadsheet we’ll see what it would take to save a Million Dollars!  We’ll find out about the difference between simple and compounding interest early on, so that kids can make powerful decisions about saving moneyW, and we’ll make a realistic spreadsheet to show what we can really save, and what that will become when we graduate from high school or college.  Who doesn’t want a nice nest egg when they get out of school?!   We’ll also be learning how to write a check - even though they’re not used much anymore.  We’ll spend more time on Credit Cards and learn about how interest rates work on Credit Cards & Loans.  Why do we earn such a small amount of interest in a savings account and pay such a large amount of interest to borrow money???  We’ll look at our favorite colleges, and see what it would take to attend that college for 4 years with no financial aid vs. lots of financial aid.  Is it worth it?  Let’s look at the average salary for several different degrees to get an idea of how long it would take to pay off college debt.  Every teen needs to understand college debt in today's world!  Our fall session is the perfect time to start playing The Stock Market Game!  In this online game, we will place actual trades of stock with an initial budget of play money, and then see what happens with that investment over time!  Are you risk averse?  That’s ok!  You can invest in a mutual fund that mirrors one of the stock indices.  Like to play it a little more aggressively?  Have fun investing in the world of AI stocks!  It’s all fun and games with play money in the real stock market!  We’ll also learn about SCAMS and fraud.  Why do we pick the passwords we do?  Did you know that a password that is only 6 characters long, with any combination of numbers, letters and special characters can basically be figured out by a hacker instantly?  Let’s get better passwords! We’ll also see how we can easily be scammed and how to protect ourselves from this.  This is the perfect time to talk about Online Safety, so we’ll coordinate this discussion with our parents to help kids understand how to be safe online.  According to data from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the most common type of scam in the United States is an imposter scam where someone pretends to be a government official, a tech support person, or a representative from a well known company. But that’s not all that can be stolen.  Many students are having their likenesses stolen and then re-imagined. It’s never too early to be on the lookout for what is real, and what is a scam, and how to protect ourselves online.


When we come back in the Winter, we’ll be playing a game of let’s get a LOAN!  From Car Loans to Home Loans it’s important to understand why banks loan money and how much you will end up paying for any loan. Nothing is free!  Let’s start out early by picking our favorite car, and seeing what it would take to either save up to buy it for cash, get a loan, or get a lease?  Don’t like these options?  Let’s look at buying a used car!  But we’ll also have to look at car maintenance.  Who knew how much tires cost?!  Once we’ve done this exercise, we’ll personalize this to set some goals and then figure out what it will take to get there! It doesn’t matter what we want - the math is the same!  If we don’t have the cash (or even if we do!), we have to decide what we’re willing to do to get it!  This will be the perfect time to play Cash Flow, a game invented by Robert Kiyosaki to help kids understand the real difference between an asset and a liability as well as passive vs active income.  Expect your child to want to talk about starting a new business pretty soon!  So we’ll look at some common ways for kids to start their own business.  From pop-ups to online stores, only creativity can stop kids today!  This will also be a great session to collaborate with our Entrepreneur class on Entrepreneur Day!  We’ll end this session with a short unit on customer service.  What is it?  How do we want to treat our customers?  How do we respond to complaints?  Let’s practice!


In our Spring session we’ll continue our consumer awareness unit by looking at different prices for the same or similar products, the art of thrifting, and the best time to look for deals!  We’ll play the grocery cart game - who can get the best deals with $100!  Should you shop in multiple places or just one?  We’ll plan a quick So Cal Beach Getaway, and figure out the real cost.  Just how much does GAS cost?!  What gas mileage does our family car get?  What’s tax on a hotel?  Are we eating out and staying in a hotel or should be we a condo and make meals ourselves?  We’ll do a nice side project on eating out vs eating in to see just how expensive it is to go out to eat!  It’s powerful to know that you can experience all that life has to offer when you can be creative about how you choose your experiences.   We’ll also start to look at some jobs in this session that we could possibly apply for when we’re old enough!  What sounds like fun?  How much does it pay?  What are all those taxes being taken out of my check!  It’s always a shock to see our taxes!  Our ending project will be to become part of our Giving Back Team!  Somebody has more than me.  Somebody has less than me.  Do I want to save or fundraise for somebody that has less than me?   Kids will make something to sell or run a gofundme type campaign to support their favorite charity!

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