Activity Idea: Putting A Face On What It Means To Be In Debt

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Jun 29, 2015
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Activity, Credit Cards, Student Loans, Current Events

I often hear my high school students remark “why would anyone ever allow themselves to be in debt?” when they see the costs and consequences of being saddled with debt.  Unfortunately, most people don’t plan to be in that situation…life just happens.

I stumbled upon this website, the Debt Project, that I thought would help to put a human face on debt but also help students to understand the life events and decisions that help lead to indebtedness.  The Debt Project has portraits and 47 first person stories that are handwritten and describe the amount of debt and the story behind the debt.

So, what’s the activity idea?

A great assignment would be to have students pick out 10-15 of the stories (they are quite brief) and see if they can find any common patterns or events that might explain why people find themselves in a financial hole.

About the Author

Tim Ranzetta

Tim's saving habits started at seven when a neighbor with a broken hip gave him a dog walking job. Her recovery, which took almost a year, resulted in Tim getting to know the bank tellers quite well (and accumulating a savings account balance of over $300!). His recent entrepreneurial adventures have included driving a shredding truck, analyzing executive compensation packages for Fortune 500 companies and helping families make better college financing decisions. After volunteering in 2010 to create and teach a personal finance program at Eastside College Prep in East Palo Alto, Tim saw firsthand the impact of an engaging and activity-based curriculum, which inspired him to start a new non-profit, Next Gen Personal Finance.

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