Date Filter: 2015/01/

What’s New in Schools?

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Jan 30, 2015
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Personal Finance, Schools In News
Scanning the headlines to find out what high schools are up to when it comes to personal finance education: Students at Marion HIgh School (Virginia) participated in a checking account simulation recently (SWVA Today): “The Financial Literacy Project—Your Checking Account, sponsored by Bank of Marion, is a simulation is designed to teach the skills necessary to maintain a checking account. Students first learn about checking account basics and then actually write checks, make deposits and...

New Product: Would You Use A Peer-to-Peer Payment App?

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Jan 30, 2015
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Activity, Question of the Day, Payment Types, New Products, Current Events
The peer-to-peer payment space has exploded of late.  One of the fastest growing companies in the space is a company called Venmo (Want to know how to find out about apps like this?; ask your college-aged relatives or children). This Investopedia article provides a good description of these new financial apps that high school and college students will be using (if they don’t use them already).  Still wondering about the use case? Want to split the restaurant bill among friends but don’t...

Question of the Day: What’s The Biggest Money Mistake You Ever Made?

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Jan 30, 2015
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Activity, Behavioral Finance, Question of the Day, Personal Finance
Part of personal finance is having good habits (think budgeting, paying yourself first, comparison shopping for all purchases, etc.) but part of it is also avoiding financial disasters (think credit card debt and onerous student loan balances). I am back in the classroom this week.  Just before class started, a student approached me to say he had incurred a checking fee this week (we are on the checking unit).  When asked for more details, he described how he had used his debit card one time...

Question of the Day: At What Age Can I Get A Credit Card?

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Jan 29, 2015
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Credit Scores, Question of the Day, Credit Cards, Current Events, Credit Reports
Some students come into class having heard that responsible use of a credit card can help build their credit history.  Their first question is often along the lines of “So, when can I get a credit card and start building that history?” Here’s a quick answer and a resource to get a more detailed and nuanced answer: If you are between 18-21, you CAN NOT get your own credit card, unless you can prove to the credit card companies that you have a source of income significant enough to pay...

It’s FAFSA Season: How Many Questions Are Asked On the FAFSA?

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Jan 28, 2015
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Paying for College, Question of the Day, Student Loans, Current Events, Audio Resource
Answer:  Up to 108. This four minute audio from Marketplace.org explains efforts in place to simplify the process down to 2 questions (in case you were wondering, those questions would be about family income and household size).  As for advice to impart to your students, the early bird gets the worm, so file it early: A recent report from Edvisors, a publisher of student aid information, says students who file their FAFSA in the first three months of the year get more than twice as much...

Question of the Day: What’s the Cost of that Debit Card Swipe To Your Local Grocer?

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Jan 28, 2015
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Question of the Day, Checking Accounts, Debit Cards, Current Events
Answer (from The Guardian):  21 cents/transaction (down from 44 cents in 2010). This may seem like a trivial amount but think of the volume ($1.4 trillion, see if students capture the error in the article).  Those so-called interchange fees represented about $16 billion in fees that banks received annually from retailers, who presumably passed that cost on to consumers. So, what’s the problem with the fee being reduced to $0.21 (which by the way, the Supreme Court ruled cannot be raised)?...

Chart: Why Do Millenials Switch Checking Accounts?

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Jan 28, 2015
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Question of the Day, Research, Checking Accounts, Payment Types, Chart of the Week
A good chart to use while discussing the factors that are important (hint:  consumers don’t like fees!) in selecting a checking account (from the Financial Brand):   ————– Check out the NGPF Lesson:  Beware of Checking Fees ...

Activity Idea: Student Loan Repayment

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Jan 28, 2015
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Activity, Career, Paying for College, Research, Budgeting, Lesson Idea, Student Loans
This is a topic that I dreaded trying to teach.  When you look at the changing regulatory environment, the alphabet soup involved (IBR, ICR, PYE, etc.), the myriad repayment options (6 at last count) and the math calculations, it can seem a tad overwhelming. And then along comes this tool (The Student Loan Repayment Calculator), which manages to make this issue of student loan repayment much more approachable (Full disclosure:  I do have some qualms with their assumption of 5% annual income...

Question of the Day: Do I Have To Pay To See My Credit Score?

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Jan 28, 2015
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Credit Scores, Question of the Day, Identity Theft, Current Events, Credit Reports
Answer:  It depends. Most readers are aware that one can view their credit reports from the three credit bureaus 1X per year for free at annualcreditreports.com (and even that is changing, as Credit Karma recently announced that they would provide this information from two of the three bureaus updated weekly for FREE).  However, when making yes/no credit decisions, lenders usually turn to your credit score (which is based on your credit report) in making their determination.  Until recently,...

Chart of the Week: What is the Average Credit Score for 18-24 Year Olds?

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Jan 27, 2015
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Credit Scores, Question of the Day, Chart of the Week, Credit Reports
A good chart to kick-off your credit score lesson.  We know that a high credit score is desirable, so why do you think credit card scores for 18-24 year olds are so low? Here are some explanations (from CreditCardForum): Let’s be honest here… there are many people who mangle their credit during college and post-college years. It’s not until a bit later when they realize how much damage was inflicted and finally start managing their credit properly. Credit scores (FICO and competitors)...

A Budgeting Challenge and The $5,000 Sweater

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Jan 27, 2015
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Activity, Budgeting, Current Events
Parents and teachers often wonder, “How can I teach my children/students to be more frugal?” Now that we are in the dead of winter (with the northeast socked in by a nor’easter), I thought it would be interesting to issue a challenge to students (and their families too).  OK, this idea might not make you so popular but heck it will save folks a lot of money. The genesis of this idea came from this very entertaining NY Times Op/Ed piece entitled “This Cold House (you might see where I am...

Making a Mobile Deposit On Your Smartphone? Read This.

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Jan 27, 2015
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Research, Identity Theft, Checking Accounts, Payment Types
With the dramatic growth in consumers depositing checks via smartphone (11% of consumers in 2013 used this feature), it is important for consumers to know some of the drawbacks.  NY Times to the rescue:   Some banks, for instance, don’t offer immediate availability of funds deposited by smartphone, as a way to control fraud. Banks also impose limits on the amounts that can be deposited using mobile phones, also to protect against fraud. But it can be difficult to find that information; some...

Question of the Day: Debit or Credit?

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Jan 27, 2015
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Question of the Day, Credit Cards, Identity Theft, Checking Accounts, Debit Cards
Consider yourself in good company if you wonder what are the best situations to use a credit card in lieu of a debit card.  Daily Finance identifies several instances that you should always choose credit: Online purchases:  Credit card fraud is easier to fix than if someone drains your bank account with your debit card. Gasoline and Hotels:  Purchasing gas with debit card can lead to short-term hold of $50 to $200 (hotels) so if your balances are low this can lead to overdraft charges....

Chart of the Week: How Has The Average Investor Fared Over the Past 20 Years?

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Jan 22, 2015
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Behavioral Finance, Research, Index Funds, Investing, Mutual Funds, Stocks, Current Events, Chart of the Week
This is a great chart to show in your class when you are discussing two different strategies for investing:  active vs. passive management.  So, here’s what you are looking at.  It shows returns over the past 20 years (through end of 2013) for forty-three indices.  For example, an index made up of energy stocks returned over 12% per year (roughly translated $1 invested in 1993 in a basket of energy stocks would be worth almost $10 at the end of 2013.  From where I stand in 2015 with...

Question of the Day: How Do I Network?

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Jan 20, 2015
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Activity, Career, Question of the Day, Current Events, Internships
This might be a good question of they day for your Careers Unit.  Being an effective networker helps not only in the an initial job search but is a skill that pays dividends throughout a career. The article from the Economist highlights the skills needed to be a consummate networker: Networking is not just for the elites. A study of staff at a range of German workplaces, carried out over three years by Hans-Georg Wolff and Klaus Moser of the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, found a positive...

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