Financial Pitfalls Activities

ANALYZE: Change a Bad Financial Habit

In this activity, students will be able to:

  • Examine a bad financial habit of theirs that they would like to change 
  • Understand the Habit Cycle as described by Charles Duhigg in his book, The Power of Habit
  • Create and execute a plan to help them change their bad financial habit
  • Reflect on how the Habit Cycle empowers them to change their habits 

ANALYZE: The Influence of Advertisements

In this activity, students will be able to: 

  • Understand the various strategies advertisers use to influence consumers
  • Analyze 6 different commercials and identify which strategies advertisers are using most effectively

CALCULATE: Play the Lottery or Save? (Sp)

In this activity, students will be able to:

  • Use an online calculator to calculate the value an average Texan who normally plays the lottery would extract by investing the money in a retirement account instead.
  • Available in English & Spanish

CALCULATE: The Cost of Rent-to-Own

In this activity, students will be able to:

  • Use a credit card calculator and some data from Consumer Reports to compare the cost of “purchasing” a washer dryer from Rent-to-Own versus purchasing the same washer dryer on a credit card.

CARTOONS: Predatory Lending

In this activity, students will be able to: 

  • Examine a number of cartoons about predatory lending and choose one to analyze in more depth
  • Explain the cartoon's key message about predatory lending and how it depicts that message

COMPARE: Types of Identity Theft (Sp)

In this activity, students will be able to:
  • Explore the various types of identity theft and risk factors for each.

FINE PRINT: Auto Title Loan Agreement

With this Fine Print students will be able to:

  • Read an auto title loan agreement by reviewing details such as interest rate and payment schedules  
  • Recognize how auto title loans can cause consumers to fall into deeper debt

FINE PRINT: Payday Loan Agreement

With this Fine Print students will be able to:

  • Read a payday loan agreement by examining details including APRs and interest
  • Recognize how payday loans can cause consumers to fall into deeper debt

INTERACTIVE: Have You Been Hacked?

In this activity, students will be able to:

  • Complete a quiz to see how many times their personal information has been hacked
  • Propose solutions to avoid these hacks 

INTERACTIVE: Shady Sam

In this activity, students will be able to:

  • Play the role of a loan shark 
  • Understand what tactics lenders use to maximize their profits
  • Determine which loan terms increase profits for lenders
  • Learn about different types of loans and fees lenders offer and charge

INTERACTIVE: Win the Powerball!

In this activity students will be able to: 

  • "Play" the Powerball using an online lottery simulation and explore the likelihood of winning the huge jackpot
  • See how they fare standing up against the powerful positive imagery and allure of the Powerball advertisements
  • Complete an optional math bonus section to dive a little deeper into the probability of any individual number being selected a winner

MOVE: Is This a Pitfall?

In this activity, students will be able to:

  • Think critically about some common financial pitfalls and realize that individual values and circumstances have a great impact on the financial decisions people make.
  • Get up and moving, out of their seats!

PROJECT: Create a Scam Guidebook

In this activity, students will be able to:

  • Work in groups to create a Scam Guidebook
  • Have a full Scam Guidebook that each student can reflect on once every group contributes

PROJECT: Create a PSA or Ad for Predatory Lending

In this activity, students will be able to:

  • Work in groups to either
    • Create a public service announcement teaching their audience to stay away from predatory lenders OR
    • Create advertisements convincing their target audience to use their type of predatory lending product

PROJECT: Launch an ID Theft Awareness Campaign

In this activity, students will be able to:

  • Launch a Public Awareness Campaign to help students at school learn about different types of ID theft and ways they can protect their information
  • Work in groups to conduct research and create communication tools that they will use during the campaign

PROJECT: The Million Dollar Question: Is the Lottery Good or Bad?

In this activity, students will be able to:

  • Engage in a debate on whether state-operated lotteries benefit or harm lottery winners and society as a whole
  • Take a side, conduct research on arguments and counterarguments, and form a personal opinion after the debate

PROJECT: The Real Relationship Test: Reconcile Your Finances

In this activity, students will be able to:

  • Take on the role of a character who is soon to be married
  • Practice reconciling their finances with a partner on a variety of topics in their financial lifestyles, such as housing, debt, etc.
  • Reflect on the importance of having a conversation about finances with a spouse or partner

PROJECT: Write a Children's Book on Bankruptcy

In this activity, students will be able to:

  • Work in partners to write and create a Children’s Book about Bankruptcy

READ: Bankrupt at 23

In this activity, students will be able to:

  • Read and respond to a blog post from a woman who had to file for bankruptcy at age 23 because of out-of-control credit card spending and debt.

READ: Personal Loans

In this activity, students will be able to:

  • Use this reading guide to learn about all personal loans and strategies to use if a family member or friend asks for money.

RESEARCH: Bankruptcy Web Quest (Sp)

In this activity, students will be able to:

  • Use the internet to research definitions for key bankruptcy terms.
  • Define the vocabulary in their own words and provide examples.
  • Available in English & Spanish

ROLEPLAY: Say NO to Loan Requests (Sp)

In this activity, students will be able to:

  • Role-play declining to give personal loans to family and friends in a variety of real-world scenarios.
  • Available in English & Spanish