February 1996 // Volume 34 // Number 1 // Tools of the Trade // 1TOT2

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The High School Financial Planning Program

"The High School Financial Planning Program" is a complete teaching curriculum provided free of charge to trained teachers. Extension Educators can provide inservice training to high school teachers and community resource persons to utilize the program. The goal of the program is to encourage students to understand personal finances, to give students exercises and activities to help them learn to manage money effectively, and to ultimately reduce the rate of bankruptcy.

Beverly J. Keil
Extension Agent
Family and Consumer Sciences
Internet address: belm@agvax2.ag.ohio-state.edu

Beverly M. Kelbaugh
Extension Agent
4-H Youth Development

Ohio State University Extension

The "High School Financial Planning Program" is a six-unit course to acquaint students with basic financial planning concepts and how these concepts apply to everyday life. The program is a partnership between the College of Financial Planning, the Extension Service - U.S. Department of Agriculture, and local Extension professionals. As a public service, the college seeks to increase the financial planning literacy of America's teens through a course which is taught by high school teachers and community resource people who are enlisted to volunteer and be trained by the Extension Service.

Financial illiteracy is a growing problem. In 1991, the average U.S. teen spent $3,000 with total teen spending for 1993 projected at $89 billion. More than 40% of teens use their parents' credit cards and 11% have their own. U.S. citizens, on the average, save only 2.6% of their gross income. Every year, thousands of people file for bankruptcy in the United States. Often this is due to lack of financial planning and over extending their resources. One goal of this program is to reduce the rate of bankruptcies and to give teens a basic understanding of what it takes to manage money.

To achieve this goal, the College of Financial Planning in Colorado developed this resource and offered it free of charge to teachers who attend training workshops offered by local Extension professionals. The resources available include: "The High School Financial Planning Instructor's Manual," individual student workbooks, and teacher's supplemental materials such as overheads, quizzes and exams, case studies, and possible student activities.

In return for the free materials, teachers agree to conduct the program in their classroom as designed, teaching a minimum of 10 classroom hours on the subject matter, and covering all six of the lessons. There are six units:

    Unit 1, "Understanding the Financial Planning Process," covers the importance of planning and goal setting and how today's decisions affect future decisions.

    Unit 2 deals with "How Income Affects Your Goals," with emphasis on how education affects earning potential. Taxes, take home pay, and earning statements are explored.

    Unit 3 stresses the "Management of Income and Credit" in developing a spending strategy.

    Unit 4 on "Owning and Protecting Your Assets" helps youth understand insurance.

    Unit 5 is "Saving to Achieve Your Financial Goals."

    Unit 6 helps students pull it all together by developing personal spending plans.

Insurance representatives, bankers, and other people who volunteered to help with the program by serving as resource people for some of the units attended the training programs so that they understood the importance of stressing the key concepts.

Local teachers commented that students became more money conscience. They began to think more long term and to recognize the need for advanced education to meet long term financial goals. Many students did develop saving plans and demonstrated wiser use of money earned. As one county commissioner who also teaches put it, "I would recommend this program to all teachers. This was some excellent information."

Interested agents can access this program by contacting their Financial Planning Specialist or by writing to High School Financial Planning Program, 4695 South Monaco Street, Denver, CO 80237-9811.