Thursday, June 8, 2017

High School Personal Finance Class

First an update on G2's hives...
They are still going strong, unfortunately!  As a matter of fact, the nurse sent her home from school due to their severity and her discomfort around 8:30 this morning.  I called the pediatrician who decided to pull out the big guns....a short course of Prednisone.  So yeah good times here.  Haha!


As G2 was home itching her way through the day, she was working on her Personal Finance class final.  Since it is a take home project and she had it spread out, I took a peek and was shocked!

When the school first implemented a mandatory PF class a year or two ago, I initially thought it was a great idea.  At least G2 (G1 was exempt from taking this class since she is a senior) would learn some of the basics (balancing a checkbook) and some of the more intricate stuff (stock market anyone?).  But, I admit that I hadn't really asked any questions about the class before today.  Now I wish I had looked more into it.

The final project (aka final for this class) is actually a decent idea.  The students have to basically play "life".  In the beginning of the class, they took some test to see which careers suit them best.  Then they had to choose one career to research.  (While I'm not thrilled with the idea of these "tests" to determine career, I could still go with this part.)
Now, that career was being put to the test in "real life".

Sounds like a pretty awesome project don't you think?

Until I saw the numbers that G2 was given to use....

Here are the highlights....

She had to research the salaries of her profession in Connecticut and then had to use 25% as her starting salary.  That seemed a little low to me but okay I guess.

She was required to save 10% of her net pay - she had to do calculations to get to her net pay.

She had to find an apartment/house to fit her budget.....or if she couldn't find one she could afford, she had to "find" roommates in her class.  Luckily her boyfriend is in the class so they could work together.

She was required to purchase a car.  The car had to be between the years 2010 to current and she HAD to borrow at least 11K to do it, get either a 60 or 48 month loan, and were given percentage rates to use.  Apparently they didn't talk about searching for the best loan rates?  And,  yet students HAD to do it.  (((insert eye roll)))
Oh and car insurance?  They had to use 2200 if you were female/2600 if you were a male for a simple sedan.  MY car insurance for TWO cars (one being sporty) isn't that much per year!
Also, they had to plug in $160 month for gas.

And, of course, she HAD to have student loans for college!  She had to research a college that fit her career choice, figure out room and board, books, and use a loan calculator to get her loan payment.  (At least the teacher was "generous" enough to let them deduct 20% for scholarships - she writes sarcastically)  Unreal! 

Other monthly budget lines that the students got to chose from....

Landline telephone:  $60  SIXTY DOLLARS?!?!  What?  Who pays that much for a landline?!?!
Cell phone:  $180  Again?!?!  What the hell?  For one phone?
Cable & Internet:  $120  (too low for our area to be honest)
Health insurance:  $80 (way too low!)

Lets not forget the credit card debt they were required to use of:  $100.

They had to come up with a grocery budget and meal plan as well.  BUT, they were not allowed to comparison shop at all!  They were required to use ONE store that is known to have high prices!  And they had to buy everything including health, bath, beauty, and paper goods from this one store!

I know there is more craziness but I can't remember it all.  And, I don't want to bother G2 right now because I hear her on the phone with her boyfriend working on it.

Like I said, in theory, a great project!  I just want to know how came up with these numbers and how they were pulled out of the air!

I don't know much about personal finances - as you all have seen as I bumble my way through month to month....LOL  But, doesn't it make sense that the students should have been given more/better direction?

Anyone have any opinions on this final project?  I'm curious....

Also excuse any typos, run-on sentences, etc.  I'm hurriedly typing this as my dog is barking her head off for a walk!  =)


  1. Its the end of the her do the work to follow the written rubric. But use it as a teachable moment that real life might not be that way. Sadly a lot of kids don't get any guidance in this stuff at home

  2. Sadly that car insurance rate isn't that bad of a number. When I graduated college I was paying close to that a year for full coverage on my car (with a clean driving record).

  3. Too bad the teacher doesn't say "ok class I gave you all the most typical costs associated with being an adult and this is what you can do to not fall into the trap of debt"

  4. I look at it as just an exercise in balancing a budget. I would not get too bogged down with the details, because everything about the project is artificial. Just look at it as a good learning lesson and it sounds like G2 is wise enough to understand the unreality of it and see that if she had a real budget she would have other options.

  5. Thanks Ladies. It was definitely a teachable moment for sure. And, not worth emailing the teacher over since it is a final. I think the other thing that bothered me is that some of the kids in G2's class took the "What Should I Be When I Grow Up" test to heart originally and that makes the future look pretty bleak. For example, G2 wanted to be a kindergarten teacher in this exercise (and possibly as a career but she isn't sure yet). Following the instructions, G2 would bring home less than 3K per month NET....which, after adding in the rest of what she was required to "do", makes life in Connecticut close to impossible. My hope is that this final doesn't discourage anyone to not pursue a career they want. I'm guessing that, being freshman, most kids will just "shake it off" and forget about it. At least I hope they will!
    Also, it ended up being a teachable moment for G1! She heard me discussing it with Papa and was like "What the heck? That's not how people do things." So, at least I know both girls have some clue. LOL

  6. I agree with my answer I think it was just exercises and learning how to budget. It's up to us to teach our kids how to be good bargain shoppers and find the best rates for everything that they need to do in adulthood

  7. I've done something similar with my kids-my own personal finance class. Granted, yes, with better home instruction, they won't fall into the averages and will learn to cost compare, but I think that is a good part of the exercise. If they see more month than money, that small little outcome might stick with them. Between early years of high school and middle years of college, kids may change mind multiple times so I wouldn't worry that it will detract them form a chosen career.

  8. I had to do something similar years ago in high school. I used it as a "what not to do" kind of exercise.

    I repeated it with my children from an early age and on into young adulthood. Sometimes the best teaching tools are like this. You can definitely use it to show her how different life can be....because if we are all honest, we know at least a few people who do live that way.

  9. G2 had her "final" this morning - complete with PowerPoint presentation. She practiced last night on me and I was very proud of her takeaway of the whole thing. For her last slide, she spent a LOT of time talking about the things she would do differently if given the chance to repeat this exercise. It's a relief to know that she has picked up on some of my (more newly adopted) frugalish ways.
    She and G1 will be ahead of the game more than I was at their ages so I am hopeful that the struggles Papa and I faced with money won't happen to them! =)