Question: What Financial Products Should A Young Person Use To Manage Their Money?

Mar 23, 2017
Writing assignment, Question of the Day, Research, Budgeting, Credit Cards, Checking Accounts, Debit Cards, Teaching Strategies

Hanging out on the Boglehead Forum today skimming the topics that have received the most replies. Forums seem so “old school” in this age of social networks (Facebook, Twitter, SnapChat) but the ones that have survived and thrived have done so for a reason. For those not familiar with the Boglehead Forum, the forum is named in honor of John Bogle, founder of Vanguard Investments, and attracts knowledgeable, thrifty investors passionate about sharing their knowledge in a variety of topics. Anytime I descend into the rabbit hole of a forum thread, I find myself wiser for the time invested. Students need to know where to go for reliable, credible sources for financial information.

I thought your students would benefit from this thread titled “College-bound teens and finances,” since it takes a holistic view on how to set up a young person for financial success from a parent’s perspective (other people’s parents which probably helps:) Here was the opening question on the thread: 

For those of you who have sent your teens off to college, or are planning to in the next year: what are your thoughts about setting up the basic financial mechanisms for them? Checking account (joint?) Debit card? Credit card (gulp)? I know there’s a broader question in here about teaching your kids about finances, but when college is on the horizon, there are some practical issues to be decided re: money management.

I guess the question is really: what to set up, and when? I’m not even sure what is allowable prior to age 18.

Here’s the assignment:

  • What financial products do you currently have (Checking, debit card, credit card, other)? What do you plan on having upon graduation from high school as you begin the next chapter of your life?
  • What is the prevailing wisdom from the crowd as it pertains to (do most of the respondents think these products are a good idea?):
    • Checking accounts?
    • Debit cards?
    • Credit cards?
    • Students?
  • Write down 2-3 terms that you are not familiar with and find their meanings.
  • Choose one response that you found most useful when thinking about your financial life. Summarize it. What action will you take as a result?
  • Now write your own one paragraph response to the original question about what financial products a soon-to-be college student should have.


Looking for writing assignments that engage your students? Check out these other ideas from the NGPF blog.

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.