Celebrating Black History Month: Highlighting Marsha Barnes of The Finance Bar

Feb 17, 2021

Twice weekly, NGPF is celebrating Black History Month by highlighting Black financial leaders and educators via dedicated posts and student activities on the NGPF blog. 

With this fifth post, we are highlighting the work of Marsha Barnes, creator of The Finance Bar! Marsha is a Certified Financial Social Worker, Official FICO Brand Ambassador, and was named GOBankingRates’ 2018 Best Money Expert in the Net-Worth Category. This week, we were inspired by The Finance Bar Instagram account (@thefinancebar) to create a student activity idea you can bring to your class! 

Featured Resource and Activity Idea: The Finance Bar Instagram Account

One thing we hear from educators over and over again is that students love learning about personal finance because of its relevance. Wouldn’t it be great, then, if students could have an easy and fun way to keep track of all the important tips and strategies they learn over the course of their class? The Finance Bar Instagram account inspired an activity idea to do just that! 




The Gist of the Activity: Students record 3-5 important personal finance strategies, reminders, quotes, and other key takeaways after completing a unit in their personal finance class. At the end of the course, students will have a record of the main things they want to remember and implement in their own lives. Below are a few ways students can categorize their takeaways, as inspired by The Finance Bar: 

  • #UNIT TIP -- for example: #Budgeting Tip, #Investing Tip
  • REMINDERS -- these can be weekly, monthly, annual action items 
  • DO THIS -- general best practices to improve their personal finances 
  • GOALS -- what are their 6 mo., 1 year, 5 year, 10 year goals? 
  • INSPIRATION -- quotes, images, etc. to motivate them to reach their personal finance goals
  • REFLECT -- questions to help them reflect on the “big picture” and evaluate if their personal finance decisions align with their values and goals


Implementation Ideas: Students should focus on creating an end product that is digestible and easy to review. Below are a few options on what students can create for their end product: 


  • Have students write down their takeaways on individual index cards or construction paper cut outs. By the end of their course, they’ll have a lovely deck of cards to go through!
  • Post a poster-paper for each student on the wall. Students write down their takeaways on individual cards and “post” them to their poster. It might be fun to have students do a gallery walk and see what personal finance concepts and strategies stood out to their peers.  


  • Students can create a Google slide deck and record each takeaway on a slide. Students can format the slides as social media posts or as something else. 
  • Students can create a faux Instagram or Facebook account and “post” their takeaways for each unit. (Thanks to NGPF's Kathryn for finding some of these great resources below!)
  • Students can record 1-minute videos in which they explain their takeaway. These can be uploaded to platforms like Flipgrid and shared with other students, or just stored to their own Google Drive as a way to organize them all. 


Want to learn more about The Finance Bar? Check out The Bus - a “first-of-its-kind financial literacy hub on wheels” and The Finance Bar Blog

If you’re looking for more ways to celebrate Black History Month, check out our collection of blog posts and Questions of the Day here.

About the Authors

Sonia Dalal

Sonia has always been passionate about instruction and improving students' learning experiences. She's come a long way since her days as a first grader, when she would "teach" music and read to her very attentive stuffed animals after school. Since then, she has taught students as a K-12 tutor, worked in several EdTech startups in the Bay Area, and completed her Ed.M in Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She is passionate about bringing the high quality personal finance content and instruction she wished she'd received in school to the next generation of students and educators. When she isn't crafting lesson guides or working with teachers, Sonia loves to spend her time singing, being outdoors, and adventuring with family and friends!

Jessica Endlich

When I started working at Next Gen Personal Finance, it's as though my undergraduate degree in finance, followed by ten years as an educator in an NYC public high school, suddenly all made sense.