Category: Math

Question: Are College Costs Rising?

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Jul 23, 2017
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Chart of the Week, Paying for College, Question of the Day, Research, Current Events, Math, Economics
From WSJ (Subscription required): Questions for students: Create a one sentence description for the trends seen in each of the two graphs. A friend says, “What a bummer that college costs keep rising at an incredible rate!” Using the data from the graph on the left, provide a response to her assertion. Since 1990, all consumer prices (aka the rate of inflation) have basically doubled. Using the rule of 72, make an estimate as to what the inflation rate has averaged from 1990-2016....

Question: Why Should Investors Diversify Their Investments?

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Jul 06, 2017
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Chart of the Week, Research, Index Funds, Investing, Math
This chart reminded why diversification makes a whole lot of sense (hat tip to Big Picture Blog for highlighting it): Let me explain: Each asset class is represented by a different color Purple = Emerging Market stocks from developing economies like Brazil, Russia, India and Blue = Small Capitalization (or Small Cap) U.S. Stocks Dark Gray = International Stocks (from developed economies like Germany, England and Japan) Red = Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) Orange = Large Capitalization...

Chart: How Are Millennials Investing Their Money?

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Jun 27, 2017
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Chart of the Week, Question of the Day, Research, Personal Finance, Investing, Stocks, Current Events, Math, compound interest
Hat tip to The Reformed Broker for this thought-provoking chart which will get your students thinking about the importance of asset allocations: Questions for students: Note: Equities are synonymous with stocks, fixed income means bonds, think of cash as a savings/checking account and alternatives would be alternative investments like hedge funds or private equity. What are the top four assets that millennials are investing in? Now rank the assets from highest to lowest historical return....

Interactive: What Are The Wages For Jobs In Your State?

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Jun 20, 2017
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Career, Question of the Day, Research, Current Events, Chart of the Week, Math, Entrepreneurship
Another great interactive from Flowing Data allows users to see top jobs and salaries by state (and for the entire U.S. of A. also). This static chart that I copied from the site displays job and salary information for the U.S. The green areas in the chart are jobs where the Median Annual Salary is $60,000 or more. What’s cool is that you can set the Median Annual Salary slider (see above) to a certain Median Salary level and you will see what job categories have most of those jobs....

Do Your Weekly Lunches Cost You $90,000 in Retirement Savings?

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Jun 14, 2017
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Chart of the Week, Behavioral Finance, Budgeting, Personal Finance, Article, Math, Retirement
“US households spent $3,008, or about $8.35 a day, on average, eating out in 2015… Investing $3,008 each year… would add up 30 years later to… more than $250,000.  Similarly, investing $3.50 a day for 30 years instead of buying a latte would add up to savings of nearly $107,000”. (USA Today, June 2017) _________ We all know that it is hard to save enough for retirement.  Financial education teachers also know that students sometimes struggle to relate decisions...

Econ Roundup: Latest Jobs Report Indicates a Healthy Economy, But Are There Warning Signs?

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Jun 05, 2017
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Career, Current Events, Chart of the Week, Employment, Math, Economics
The latest Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Employment Situation Summary report, commonly referred to as the “non-farm Payrolls report”, was released this past Friday, June 2.  138,000 new non-farm jobs were created in the month of May,  which was 47,000 jobs lower than the forecast for 185,000 new jobs, while the unemployment rate fell to 4.3% from 4.4% the previous month (BLS, June 2017).  What indication does this data provide about the health of the US economy (MarketWatch,...

What is Bitcoin and How Does Cryptocurrency Work? (A Primer)

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Jun 01, 2017
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Current Events, Identity Theft, Investing, Financial Literacy, Payment Types, Article, Math, Cryptocurrencies, Economics
Recently, Bitcoin, the most famous of the cryptocurrencies, has soared to all-time highs (Fortune, May 2017), increasing the amount of press attention and internet searches (Google Trends, May 2017) surrounding the little-known digital currency.  We’ve also heard this question from many of our users, “what is Bitcoin and what do my students need to know about cryptocurrencies”?  You are not alone!  83% of respondents in a 2015 survey conducted by PwC were “slightly...

NGPF Podcast: Tim Talks To Teacher-Innovator Tara Kelley of Harwood Union HS (Vermont)

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May 30, 2017
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Credit Cards, Payment Types, Teaching Strategies, Math, Featured Teachers, Podcasts
I had a great conversation recently with NGPF Teacher Innovator Award winner, Tara Kelley, a math teacher from Harwood Union High School in Duxbury, Vermont. Tara created a Spring Break Project (who doesn’t want to plan a spring break vacation?) which allowed her students to explore the cost of using a credit card to pay for their Spring Break vacation. They learned through this activity the impact that changing their monthly credit card payments has on the total interest paid as well...

Question: What Impact Has Education Had On Wages of Young People Over Past 50 Years?

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May 18, 2017
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Chart of the Week, Career, Research, Current Events, Math
Neat interactive from Flowing Data demonstrating the importance of education when it comes to income for young people (18-34): Students can toggle between 1966 and 2016 to see how the median as well as the dispersion of wages changes over this fifty year period. Questions: What is the income gap in 1966 for those that have a bachelor’s degree compared to those who don’t have one? Given that there are 100 data points for each of the two graphs, what percentage of those WITHOUT a...

Interactive: How Does Your Disposable Income Compare to Peers in Other Countries?

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May 09, 2017
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Question of the Day, Research, WebQuest, Teaching Strategies, Current Events, Math, Interactive
From the Guardian comes an interesting interactive which displays long-term trends in disposable income among different age groups in different countries. Students start by entering an age and a country (all G-8 countries are represented) and then see a series of charts that show three different analyses: How has the specific age group seen their real disposable incomes, taking into account inflation, change since 1979? How does their age group stack up with the same age group in different...

Think You Can Pick A Mutual Fund That Can Beat the Market? Think Again And Buy An Index Fund Instead!

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Apr 16, 2017
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Index Funds, Question of the Day, Research, Stocks, Current Events, Chart of the Week, Math
Based on this recently analysis, go ahead and buy an index fund. Over any recent time period (1, 3, 5, 10 and 15 years) you would have trounced actively managed funds. Of course, “past performance is no guarantee of future results,” however, when you see the persistence of index fund success over short, medium and long-term periods, and the primary reason for it (they carry lower fees), I would put my money (and do) on this trend continuing. Chart from SPIVA U.S. Scorecard...

What I've Been Reading This Week (For Week Ending 4/8)

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Apr 07, 2017
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Behavioral Finance, Credit Scores, Career, Research, New Products, Current Events, Chart of the Week, Credit Reports, Math
Tesla now worth more than Ford but their valuation depends on hitting aggressive sales targets for Model 3 (Economist) But Tesla is going to have to crank production up by an awful lot more to make the 500,000 cars a year which Mr Musk wants to see pouring off the production line by 2018, let alone the 1m intended for just two years later. To reach those volumes, Tesla is counting on its forthcoming Model 3. Priced at around $35,000, the new car will cost around half that of the other two...

Interactive: What Do Consumers Spend Their Money On?

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Apr 04, 2017
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Activity, Question of the Day, Research, Budgeting, Purchase Decisions, Current Events, Math, Activities, Excel activities, Interactive
If you are a data geek, you will love this interactive tool/data visualization from Flowing Data (be sure to click on the link to take advantage of the interactive nature of the tool): Let me provide some context for what you are looking at. Here are the data sources: The Bureau of Labor Statistics (using data collected by the Census Bureau) estimates spending patterns over time and across demographics, through the Consumer Expenditure Survey. BLS released midyear estimates today. Spending on...

History Lesson: The Dow Jones Industrial Average Since 1896 In One Chart

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Mar 26, 2017
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Investing, Research, Index Funds, Stocks, Chart of the Week, Math
Great infographic showing the price action for the Dow Jones Industrial Average over the past 130 years with historical milestones along the way (click on the graphic to enlarge it): Questions for students: Do some additional research to find the companies that were in the Dow in 1896 and those that are currently in the Dow? Why do you think the chart has the title “Human Innovation Always Trumps Fear?” What was the longest period of time that it took the market to recover for a...

The FED Raised Interest Rates At Their Last Meeting...How Much Will That Cost Credit Card Revolvers (in Billions)?

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Mar 21, 2017
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Credit Cards, Question of the Day, Current Events, Math
Answer (from MarketWatch based on NerdWallet analysis): $1.6 billion From MarketWatch: The Federal Reserve raised its target range for federal funds by a quarter percentage point to 0.75%-to-1% on Wednesday, and signaled two more rate increases in 2017. Put another way, this increases how much banks will be charged to borrow money from Federal Reserve banks. (The Fed raises and lowers interest rates in an attempt to control inflation.) I know some of you are trying to figure out how that...

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