How Do I Read This Statement?

Sep 16, 2014

Think back to your first credit card bill or your first bank statement or maybe even the first college bill.  Full of jargon you may not have understood with scary terms like penalties and fees popping up in too many places.  Oh, and the small font left you wondering whether 1)  anyone could ever read it and 2) was someone trying to hide something from you.

Hat tip to Brian Page who suggested we expand our curriculum to include a “How to Read” guide for these common financial statements.  Turns out this is a great way to check for understanding with vocabulary also.  Check out the first two 10-15 minute activities that we have created to date which are meant so supplement your existing curriculum.

What do we have on the drawing board?

  • College bill
  • Credit report
  • Student loan statement
  • Pay Stub
  • 401k/Brokerage Statement
  • Cell phone bill
  • W-4 Form

Any other suggestions?  Please let me know at if you have some ideas to share on statements that we should be including.  Thanks!

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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