Interactive: Your Financial Well-Being
Many teachers perceive that their personal finance class provides a great opportunity to teach students the skills to improve their financial well-being. This skill development can also reduce the likelihood of future mental health problems that can be brought on by money worries. This longitudinal study found that the financial stress of college students causes depression, anxiety, alcohol abuse, and eating disorders (in females). For many lower to moderate-income students, low measures of financial well-being can often be the cause for dropping out of college.
We have the wisdom to draw a direct line between financial well-being and mental health and happiness, but not all students do. So, what is financial well-being and how can it be measured? The CFPB has a financial well-being interactive to help answer that question. Answer 10 questions (4 examples below) and your students will see the factors that go into financial well-being and get a score that can be compared with national averages. Since many of the questions may seem more appropriate for an "independent adult," various scenarios are provided below.
You can assign students to one of these financial scenarios and have them make assumptions as to how a person in that situation might answer a survey like this:
- You do not make a living wage, you have trouble getting by, and do not have any money set aside for emergencies.
- You are middle class and spend nearly all of your money each month, you don’t have much money set aside for unexpected events.
- You are middle class. You could spend more each month if you want but choose to set aside for unexpected events.
- You make great money and spend nearly all of it each month, you don’t have much money set aside for unexpected events.
- You make great money. You could spend more if you wanted and have plenty of money set aside for unexpected events.
Here are some example follow-up questions you can ask with resources that can help with answers or can lead into the next activity:
- As you review the questions, what do you think are the key ingredients to financial well-being?
- What was the score from the scenario you had? What patterns do we see in the class? For example, what is the financial health of someone who spends less than they make and sets aside money for unexpected events? [INVESTIGATE: Mystery of the $8 Million Janitor]
- Do you believe that most Americans are financially healthy? [DATA CRUNCH: How Would Americans Cover a $400 Emergency?]
- How much money do you need to be happy? [Question of the Day: How Much Money Do You Need To Earn In Your State to Be "Happy?"]
- What is the relationship between money and happiness? [NGPF Podcast: Dr. Ashley Whillans on Time, Money, and Happiness]
If you enjoyed using this interactive, consider visiting our Interactive Library and explore other interactives you can use to engage your students.
About the Author
Making a difference in the lives of students through financial capability is Brian’s greatest passion. He comes to NGPF after fifteen years of public school teaching where he was the ‘11 Ohio Department of Education recipient of a Milken National Educator Award, the CEE Forbes Award winner, and a Money Magazine/CNN "Money Hero". He served on the working group for President Obama's Advisory Council on Financial Capability. He has private school experience as a Trustee for the Cincinnati Country Day School and was a past Ohio Jump$tart President. Brian holds a BBA and M.Ed. When Brian isn’t working alongside his NGPF teammates he is likely spending time with his wife, three children, and dog; hiking, or watching Ohio State football.
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