Financial Literacy and Real Estate Investment Lesson Plans

A Helpful Guide for Teachers

As students learn about the various investment and income-generating opportunities available for adults, their lessons are embedded in the broader framework of financial literacy and preparedness. When preparing student for financially sound futures, from income generation to investing skills, it’s important to provide a global perspective on income-related matters.

In an age where almost half of Americans report problems keeping up with bills, yet more than 60% own homes, it’s vital that the future generations develop wiser spending habits than previous generations have. The following lesson plans are curated for educators who recognize the importance of teaching young people the value of money and the importance of proper investment.


National Standards for Financial Literacy

The National Standards for Financial Literacy were developed to help K-12 educators plan appropriate lesson plans and tutorials on wisely earning, spending and investing money. Full financial literacy instruction is divided into six sections, with unique learning standards for each grade grouping:

I. Earning Income
II. Buying Goods & Services
III. Saving
IV. Using Credit
V. Financial Investing
VI. Protecting & Insuring

This lesson plan packet uses the National Standards for Financial Literacy as a guide for listing educator resources. Lesson plans within each standard are designed for students across socio-economic backgrounds.

Related Resources

Webinar on the National Standards for Financial Literacy: This educator-directed webinar reviews the newly developed national standards as well as the six areas of knowledge. A great introduction for educators of any grade level, this webinar demonstrates the big picture of financial literacy education.

The Institute for Financial Literacy provides a detailed checklist of benchmarks and standards that should be understood by financially responsible adults.

Jump$ lists competency levels for each of the national standards, serving as an additional reference guide for educators.

Grades K-4

Financial literacy education in the early grades introduces students to the ideas of jobs and incomes, basic financial literacy and the function of credit and investments. In these early grades, students are introduced to basic financial concepts and vocabulary words that are built upon in later grades.

Earning Income – Grades K-4

According to the National Standards for Financial Literacy, by grade 4, students should have an understanding of the following income benchmarks:

  • People have many different types of jobs from which to choose. Different jobs require people to have different skills.
  • People earn an income when they are hired by an employer to work at a job.
  • Workers are paid for their labor in different ways such as wages, salaries, or commissions.
  • People can earn interest income from letting other people borrow their money.
  • People can earn income by renting their property to other people.
  • People who own a business can earn a profit, which is a source of income.
  • Entrepreneurs are people who start new businesses. Starting a business is risky for entrepreneurs because they do not know if their new businesses will be successful and earn a profit.
  • Income can be received from family or friends as money gifts or as an allowance for which no specified work may be required.
  • Income can be received from family or friends as money gifts or as an allowance for which no specified work may be required.

Being Resourceful Lesson Plan: This lesson plan introduces students to the idea of generating income with a specific purchase in mind. Students brainstorm various ways to earn money and work together to decide on a “good” to produce. Students then work to understand the resources they’ll need to produce this good and generate revenue.

Learn to Earn When You Tend to Spend Lesson Plan: This lesson plan introduces students to the relationship between earning money and spending money. Students will use simple mathematics to add and subtract from pretend budgets.

Lemonade Stand Online Game: This game can be played in-classroom or assigned as homework. It introduces students to the concept of supply and demand with a virtual lemonade stand. As the weather varies, day-to-day, students must decide how much to charge for their lemonade in order to maximize profits.

Buying Goods & Services – Grades K-4Child Shopping.

According to the National Standards for Financial Literacy, by grade 4, students should have an understanding of the following goods & services benchmarks:

  • Economic wants are desires that can be satisfied by consuming a good, a service, or a leisure activity.
  • People make choices about what goods and services they buy because they can’t have everything they want. This requires individuals to prioritize their wants.
  • People spend a portion of their income on goods and services in order to increase their personal satisfaction or happiness.
  • Whenever people buy something, they incur an opportunity cost. Opportunity cost is the value of the next best alternative that is given up when a person makes a choice.
  • Informed decision making requires comparing the costs and benefits of spending alternatives.
  • Costs are things that a decision maker gives up; benefits are things that decision maker gains.
  • People’s spending choices are influenced by prices as well as many other factors, including advertising, the spending choices of others, and peer pressure.
  • Planning for spending can help people make informed choices. A budget is a plan for spending, saving, and managing income.

Understanding Goods & Services: This lesson plan teaches students how to differentiate between goods and services and explains the necessity of resources when developing goods and services for sale.

Common Cents: This unit plan introduces students to U.S. currency and the concept of using currency to purchase goods and services. Students learn how to count money and use it responsibly when shopping for goods and services.

Goods for You!: This lesson teaches the definition and practical uses of “goods” and “services.” Students will use U.S. quarters to identify and differentiate between goods and services and will list goods and services they use in their daily lives.

Saving – Grades K-4

According to the National Standards for Financial Literacy, by grade 4, students should have an understanding of the following savings benchmarks:

  • Income is saved, spent on goods and services, or used to pay taxes.
  • When people save money, they give up the opportunity to spend that money to buy things now in order to buy things later.
  • People can choose to save money in many places—for example, at home in a piggy bank or at a commercial bank, credit union, or savings and loan.
  • People set savings goals as incentives to save. One savings goal might be to buy goods and services in the future.
  • A savings plan helps people reach their savings goals.
  • When people deposit money into a bank (or other financial institution), the bank may pay them interest. Banks attract savings by paying interest. People also deposit money into banks because banks are safe places to keep their savings.

Do You Like to Spend or Save?: This lesson plan helps students gain a better understanding of their spending habits, to prepare them for budgeting and money-monitoring in the future.

Fun With Coins: These in-class or take-home games give students the opportunity to work with and gain better understanding of coin denominations.

All In It Together – Economic Climate Lesson Series: This lesson series gives students a bigger-picture understanding of family budgets and encourages them to think of saving money as a family-togetherness goal.

The Pickle Patch Bathtub: This lesson plan provides students with an example of a real-life savings scenario and helps them to understand the concept of saving up for a large purchase – in this case, a pickle patch bathtub!

Using Credit – Grades K-4

According to the National Standards for Financial Literacy, by grade 4, students should have an understanding of the following credit benchmarks:

  • Interest is the price the borrower pays for using someone else’s money.
  • When people use credit, they receive something of value now and agree to repay the lender over time, or at some date in the future, with interest.
  • By using credit to buy durable goods—such as cars, houses, and appliances—people are able to use the goods while paying for them.
  • Borrowers who repay loans as promised show that they are worthy of getting credit in the future. A reputation for not repaying a loan as promised can result in higher interest charges on future loans, if loans are available at all.

How Credit Works: Students learn the process and vocabulary around credit cards and loans and credit reports. Students are also advised of the potential pitfalls of taking out too much credit or not paying back credit on time.

Analyzing Credit Cards: Students learn vocabulary around credit cards and imagine scenarios in which credit use may be beneficial or harmful. They also gain an understanding of credit use in the U.S.

Financial & Real Estate Investing – Grades K-4

According to the National Standards for Financial Literacy, by grade 4, students should have an understanding of the following financial investing benchmarks:

  • After people have saved some of their income, they must decide how to invest their savings so that it can grow over time.
  • A financial investment is the purchase of a financial asset such as a stock with the expectation of an increase in the value of the asset and/or increase in future income.

Double Your Money: Students will work with coins to better understand and visualize the concept of “exponential growth.”

Practical Money Skills: This lesson plan series helps students understand the basic concepts behind financial decision making, to prepare them for instruction on real estate and investing in later grades. Students will learn about money and its value and how to spend it wisely.

Hands on Banking: This online game for kids explores various parts of bank usage and helps students understand the value of money saving.

Protecting & Insuring – Grades K-4

According to the National Standards for Financial Literacy, by grade 4, students should have an understanding of the following financial protecting & insuring benchmarks:

  • Risk is the chance of loss or harm.
  • Risk from accidents and unexpected events is an unavoidable part of daily life.
  • Individuals can either choose to accept risk or take steps to protect themselves by avoiding or reducing risk.
  • One method to cope with unexpected losses is to save for emergencies.

Wise Pockets: In this lesson, students learn about two young girls who earn the same amount of money – one girl saves hers, the other spends it. Students learn to evaluate the risks and rewards of saving and spending.

How to Teach Health Insurance to Kids: This one sheet defines common insurance terms and scenarios in language for elementary school students, preparing them to further study insurance and risk in later grades.

Grades 5-8

By the middle school years, students are accustomed to making small purchases on their own and are more familiar with the way adults spend money. The classroom lessons are expanded to include more detailed real-world concepts and situations.

Middle school students learn that financial responsibility often involves the making of difficult decisions – to earn money now and put off further education, or to go into debt now and hope to earn more money later? To take a risk and invest in a riskier stock that could earn a big return, or to play it safe, but with less of a chance of earning big dollars?

Students in the middle grades are even better prepared for faux real-world scenarios, such as investing a pretend $100,000 in the stock market or holding a fake auction for goods and services. These types of games teach students concepts while also reinforcing the practical applications of their financial lessons.

Practical Money Skills provides a full unit of financial lessons for middle school students, including lessons on earning income, budgeting, saving, credit, and home buying.

Earning Income – Grades 5-8

Boy Mowing Lawn.

According to the National Standards for Financial Literacy, by grade 8, students should have an understanding of the following income benchmarks:

  • Careers are based on working at jobs in the same occupation or profession for many years. Different careers require different education and training.
  • People make many decisions over a lifetime about their education, jobs, and careers that affect their incomes and job opportunities.
  • Getting more education and learning new job skills can increase a person’s human capital and productivity.
  • People with less education and fewer job skills tend to earn lower incomes than people with more education and greater job skills.
  • Investment in education and training generally has a positive rate of return in terms of the income that people earn over a lifetime.
  • Education, training, and development of job skills have opportunity costs in the form of time, effort, and money.
  • People often use a portion of their savings to help themselves or their family members build human capital through education or job training.
  • Entrepreneurs take the risk of starting a business because they expect to earn profits as their reward, despite the fact that many new businesses can and do fail. Some entrepreneurs gain satisfaction from working for themselves.
  • Interest, dividends, and capital appreciation (gains) are forms of income earned from financial investments.
  • Some people receive income support from government because they have low incomes or qualify in other ways for government assistance.
  • Social Security is a government program that taxes the income of current workers to provide retirement, disability, and survivor benefits for workers or their dependents.

What Education Do You Need to Live Comfortably? This lesson plan encourages students to plan for their education future with income-generation in mind. Students will perform research to better understand how much money they’ll need to make in order to live comfortably and will develop an understanding of the education levels needed for those income levels.

Frugality Game: This online tutorial teaches students the basics of banking and income generation.

Finance Park: This online game provides students with a fictional job, age, income, and education and tasks them with balancing a personal budget and making life decisions.

Buying Goods & Services – Grades 5-8

According to the National Standards for Financial Literacy, by grade 8, students should have an understanding of the following goods & services benchmarks:

  • When making choices about what to buy, consumers may choose to gather information from a variety of sources. The quality and usefulness of information provided by sources can vary greatly from source to source. While many sources provide valuable information, some sources provide information that is deliberately misleading.
  • By understanding a source’s incentives in providing information about a good or service, a consumer can better assess the quality and usefulness of the information.
  • People choose from a variety of payment methods in order to buy goods and services.
  • Choosing a payment method entails weighing the costs and benefits of the different payment options.
  • A budget includes fixed and variable expenses, as well as income, savings, and taxes.
  • People may revise their budget based on unplanned expenses and changes in income.

Understanding Goods & Services: Students outline a list of goods & services they use every day and learn about the necessity of choosing between goods & services depending upon the resources available.

Applying: Goods & Services: Students learn about the difference between natural and human resources and consider the resources needed for a peanut butter & jelly making business.

Analyzing: Goods & Services: Students consider the pros and cons of developing a plot of land into a park, a library or a shopping mall, based on the goods & services needed for, and created by, each development.

In Great Demand: Students apply the principles of supply and demand through a pretend auction.

Think Before You Buy: In this online lesson, students hear from kids their age about the pitfalls of poor spending habits and learn to consider their own purchases.

Bring Home the Bacon: This online game teaches students the basics of supply & demand. Students set the price of a good they’re selling in order to earn the most revenue.

Saving – Grades 5-8

According to the National Standards for Financial Literacy, by grade 8, students should have an understanding of the following savings benchmarks:

  • Banks and other financial institutions loan funds received from depositors to borrowers. Part of the interest received from these loans is used to pay interest to depositors for the use of their money.
  • For the saver, an interest rate is the price a financial institution pays for using a saver’s money and is normally expressed as an annual percentage of the amount saved.
  • Interest rates paid on savings and charged on loans, like all prices, are determined in a market.
  • When interest rates increase, people earn more on their savings and their savings grow more quickly.
  • Principal is the initial amount of money upon which interest is paid.
  • Compound interest is the interest that is earned not only on the principal but also on the interest already earned.
  • The value of a person’s savings in the future is determined by the amount saved and the interest rate. The earlier people begin to save, the more savings they will be able to accumulate, all other things equal, as a result of the power of compound interest.

Banking: Students learn how to correctly write a check and develop other banking-related skills in this interactive lesson.

Budgeting: Students learn the value and importance of keeping a budget, take a look at different types of family budgets, and develop their own pretend spending plan.

Where Does the Money Go? Students learn about the importance of budgets and create a personal one-month spending budget.

Alexander’s Coin Conundrum: Students apply a fictional story to the real world, by considering how one boy can spend all his money in a week.

Charity Fair: Students learn the importance of budgeting and financial decision-making in this online game where they must choose among various charities to donate to.

The Secret to Becoming a Millionaire: Students learn new savings-related terminology, such as incentive, interest, and opportunity cost, interest rate, and compound interest. They learn to calculate compound interest and learn the value of long-term savings plans.

Spreading the Budget: This lesson plan teaches new, budget-related vocabulary, such as periodic, variable and fixed expenses while reinforcing the concept of university preparedness by encouraging students to create a college budget.

Using Credit – Grades 5-8

According to the National Standards for Financial Literacy, by grade 8, students should have an understanding of the following credit benchmarks:

  • People who apply for loans are told what the interest rate on the loan will be. An interest rate is the price of using someone else’s money expressed as an annual percentage of the loan principal.
  • The longer the repayment period on a loan and the higher the interest rate on the loan, the larger is the total amount of interest charged on a loan.
  • A credit card purchase is a loan from the financial institution that issued the card. Credit card interest rates tend to be higher than rates for other loans. In addition, financial institutions may charge significant fees related to a credit card and its use.
  • Borrowers who use credit cards for purchases and who do not pay the full balance when it is due pay much higher costs for their purchases because interest is charged monthly. A credit card user can avoid interest charges by paying the entire balance within the grace period specified by the financial institution.
  • Various financial institutions and businesses make consumer loans and may charge different rates of interest.
  • Interest rates on loans fluctuate based on changes in the market for loans. Lenders charge different interest rates based on the risk of nonpayment by borrowers. The higher the risk of nonpayment, the higher the interest rate charged. The lower the risk of nonpayment, the lower the interest rate charged.
  • People can use credit to finance investments in education and housing. The benefits of using credit in this way are spread out over a period of time and may be large. The large costs of acquiring the education or housing are spread out over time as well. The benefits of using credit to make daily purchases of food or clothing are short-lived and do not accumulate over time.

Give Me Some Credit: Students learn the value of responsible credit card activity and learn to distinguish between good and bad credit by learning and reviewing credit-related terms such as interest and finance charge. Students will also review and discuss the Credit CARD Act of 2009.

Charge?!: Students learn about the features of credit cards and learn to evaluate the merits of different credit card offers.

Using Credit: Students read a book about earning money, saving, credit and debt. They apply these learned principles to real-world knowledge via an in-classroom look at the various types of credit and a class discussion on how the book’s characters handled their finances. Students will learn the difference between paying with cash and paying with credit and will look at example credit card statements to understand the concepts and terminology behind credit card debt.

The Business of Interest: Middle school students learn vocabulary and concepts behind bank loans, develop an understanding of loan interest, and play an interactive game to apply these concepts with an imaginary bank loan for a t-shirt business.

The Business of Credit: This lesson plan teaches students the basics of credit ratings and the factors that go into calculating a credit score. Students will also learn about managing the credit and finances for a small business by creating a model business and taking out a pretend loan to cover the expenses.

Financial & Real Estate Investing – Grades 5-8

According to the National Standards for Financial Literacy, by grade 8, students should have an understanding of the following financial & real estate benchmarks:

  • Financial assets include a wide variety of financial instruments including bank deposits, stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. Real estate and commodities are also often viewed as financial assets.
  • Interest is received from money deposited in bank accounts. It is also received by owning a corporate or government bond or making a loan.
  • When people buy corporate stock, they are purchasing ownership shares in a business. If the business is profitable, they will expect to receive income in the form of dividends and/or from the increase in the stock’s value. The increase in the value of an asset (like a stock) is called a capital gain. If the business is not profitable, investors could lose the money they have invested.
  • The price of a financial asset is determined by the interaction of buyers and sellers in a financial market.
  • The rate of return on financial investments consists of interest payments, dividends, and capital appreciation expressed as a percentage of the amount invested.
  • Financial risk means that a financial investment has a range of possible returns, including possibilities of actual losses. Higher-risk investments have a wider range of possible returns.
  • The rate of return earned from investments will vary according to the amount of risk. In general, a trade-off exists between the security of an investment and its expected rate of return.

Real Estate Tycoon: In this year-long classroom project, students “design,” “build” and “sell” a house, learning the basics of home construction and resources as well as the ins and outs of the real estate market, giving them a sense of how a real-world investor earns income from this process.

Play CA Stock Market Game: Students are given $100,000 of pretend money to invest in the stock market any way they choose. Over the course of 10 weeks, students watch their investments grow and fall and gain an understanding of stock market investing.

Invest in Yourself: In this interactive, multimedia lesson, students will learn concepts and theories around personal finance and spending strategies. They will develop various budgets based on levels of debt and create budgets that allow room for investments.

Protecting & Insuring – Grades 5-8

According to the National Standards for Financial Literacy, by grade 8, students should have an understanding of the following financial protecting & insuring benchmarks:

  • Personal financial risk exists when unexpected events can damage health, income, property, wealth, or future opportunities.
  • Insurance is a product that allows people to pay a fee (called a premium) now to transfer the costs of a potential loss to a third party.
  • Insurance companies analyze the outcomes of individuals who face similar types of risks to create insurance contracts (policies). By collecting a relatively small amount of money, called a premium, from each policyholder on a regular basis, the company creates a pool of funds to compensate those individuals who experience a arge loss.
  • Self-insurance is when an individual accepts a risk and saves money on a regular basis to cover a potential loss.
  • Insurance policies that guarantee higher levels of payment in the event of a loss (coverage) have higher prices.
  • Insurance companies charge higher premiums to cover higher-risk individuals and events because the risk of monetary loss is greater for these individuals and events.
  • Individuals can choose to accept some risk, to take steps to avoid or reduce risk, or to transfer risk to others through the purchase of insurance. Each option has different costs and benefits.

Consumer Fraud: Students are introduced to the various types of consumer fraud by creating oral reports on fraud in one of nine key areas: Internet, Identity Theft, Telephone, Home Repair, Modeling & Health Nutrition, Vacation, Pay Day Loans, Sweepstakes, Pyramid Schemes

Proactive Planning: In this classroom game, students learn the importance of preparing for uncertain financial futures by choosing cards with various economic scenarios and budgeting accordingly.

The Hurricane Game: This classroom game shows students how adults prepare for disasters by buying insurance.

Grades 9-12

As students prepare to leave the theoretical side of financial education and enter the “real world,” lessons become more practical and closer to students’ real-world decision making opportunities. Many high school students will have part time jobs and actual spending budgets. All will be preparing for post-graduation life and making decisions about college and careers, student loans and other credit opportunities.

Since high school students are perfectly positioned to learn about real-world financial and investment concepts, there are a variety of resources to provide educators with an overview of high school financial literacy.

Below are three resources that provide lesson plans and modules across many financial literacy national standards:

Money Smart: This FDIC-created lesson program is broken into eight modules to educate students on all aspects of banking literacy, from checking accounts, to credit cards and mortgage loans.

Financial Literacy for Everyone: A lesson plan packet that includes teacher materials, student worksheets, and research ideas for 22 unique lesson plans on financial literacy. Lessons can be used as stand-alone supplements or worked together as a unit, and include topics such as “Selecting a Banking Partner” to “Interest in Investing.”

Foundations U: This online lesson packet provides high school students with more than financial lessons. It includes quizzes, Q&A’s, radio call snippets from a real financial advising show and links to various financial education activities, to educate and prepare students for budgeting, saving and investing.

Earning Income – Grades 9-12

According to the National Standards for Financial Literacy, by grade 12, students should have an understanding of the following income benchmarks:

  • People choose jobs or careers for which they are qualified based on the income they expect to earn and the benefits, such as health insurance coverage or a retirement plan, that they expect to receive.
  • People choose jobs or careers for which they are qualified based on non-income factors, such as job satisfaction, independence, risk, family, or location.
  • People vary in their willingness to obtain more education or training because these decisions involve incurring immediate costs to obtain possible future benefits. Discounting the future benefits of education and training may lead some people to pass up potentially high rates of return that more education and training may offer.
  • People can make more informed education, job, or career decisions by evaluating the benefits and costs of different choices.
  • The wage or salary paid to workers in jobs is usually determined by the labor market. Businesses are generally willing to pay more productive workers higher wages or salaries than less productive workers.
  • Changes in economic conditions or the labor market can cause changes in a worker’s income or may cause unemployment.
  • Taxes are paid to federal, state, and local governments to fund government goods and services and transfer payments from government to individuals. The major types of taxes are income taxes, payroll (Social Security) taxes, property taxes, and sales taxes.
  • People’s sources of income, amount of income, as well as the amount and type of spending affect the types and amounts of taxes paid.

The End & The Beginning!: Students create a portfolio for their lives and careers after graduation, encouraging them to start thinking about their financial futures in concrete terms.

Focus on Economic Data: High school students learn about and look at the unemployment rate to gauge the ease or difficulty of securing an income in the current economic climate. Students will learn about key economic indicators and the various labor markets.

Make Money Choices: This interactive site allows individuals to create budgets based on various salaries or determine the salary necessary for a desired budget. Perfect for high school students looking into the incomes of various career choices, this site brings budget ideas and theories into real-world terms.

Focus on Careers: This online tutorial delves into the details of career choosing, job hunting, small business planning and dealing with bosses.

Battle of the Bands: An online quiz game designed to test high school students’ understanding of various income-related terms and concepts.

Hire Yourself: Students will discuss various strategies for securing employment and play a recession-proof business game in which students vote on whether various career paths are wise choices during an economic recession.

Buying Goods & Services – Grades 9-12

According to the National Standards for Financial Literacy, by grade 12, students should have an understanding of the following goods & services benchmarks:

  • Consumer decisions are influenced by the price of a good or service, the price of alternatives, and the consumer’s income as well as his or her preferences.
  • When people consume goods and services, their consumption can have positive and negative effects on others.
  • When buying a good, consumers may consider various aspects of the product including the product’s features. For goods that last for a longer period of time, the consumer should consider the product’s durability and maintenance costs.
  • Consumers may be influenced by how the price of a good is expressed.
  • People incur costs and realize benefits when searching for information related to their purchases of goods and services. The amount of information people should gather depends on the benefits and costs of the information.
  • People may choose to donate money to charitable organizations and other not-for-profits because they gain satisfaction from donating.
  • Governments establish laws and institutions to provide consumers with information about goods or services being purchased and to protect consumers from fraud.

Reality Store: This interactive lesson plan puts students in a simulation of real-world goods & services decision-making. Students visit fifteen booths, designed to mimic real-world financial decision-making opportunities. Community volunteers man the booths and use dice and other random selection elements to provide students with various economic outcomes.

The Power of Paycheck Planning: This lesson plans taps into the risk of improperly balancing goods & services with a particular income level. Students take an online quiz to determine their understanding of the consequences of poor paycheck planning, then watch a video on the process of foreclosure.

Expense Station Game: Students work to make proper decisions on goods & services purchases in this online, budget-balancing game.

Saving – Grades 9-12

According to the National Standards for Financial Literacy, by grade 12, students should have an understanding of the following savings benchmarks:

  • People choose between immediate spending and saving for future consumption. Some people have a tendency to be impatient, choosing immediate spending over saving for the future.
  • Inflation reduces the value of money, including savings. The real interest rate expresses the rate of return on savings, taking into account the effect of inflation. The real interest rate is calculated as the nominal interest rate minus the rate of inflation.
  • Real interest rates typically are positive because people expect to be compensated for deferring the use of savings from the present into the future. Higher interest rates increase the rewards for saving.
  • The nominal interest rate tells savers how the dollar value of their savings or investments will grow; the real interest rate tells savers how the purchasing power of their savings or investments will grow.
  • Money received (or paid) in the future can be compared to money held today by discounting the future value based on the rate of interest.
  • Government agencies supervise and regulate financial institutions to help protect the safety, soundness, and legal compliance of the nation’s banking and financial system.
  • Government policies create incentives and disincentives for people to save.
  • Employer benefit programs create incentives and disincentives to save. Whether or how much an employee decides to save can depend on how the alternatives are presented by the employer.

Banzai: A free online educational resource for teachers, Banzai provides real-world scenarios designed to help students learn with real-life adult financial dilemmas.

Mapping a Retirement Plan: This online tutorial covers retirement concepts from 401K development to savings tips and tricks. Students preparing to enter the real world are in the best position to wisely plan their financial futures, and this tutorial covers the basics and beyond with methods for students’ futures.

Creating an Emergency Fund: This online tutorial helps students prepare for potential bumps in their financial future by developing an emergency savings fund. Students will also learns tips and tricks to help them save up for a rainy day.

Hands on Banking Program: This online game takes students through virtual financial and investment scenarios, from budgeting and savings to retirement savings plans. Students will learn the importance of preparing for the future and develop a better understanding of real-world ways to achieve their financial goals.

Savings Account Strategies: Students take a survey to determine which type of savings account is best for their financial objectives and learn about the various types of savings accounts available to bankers, as well as the questions to ask when opening a savings account.

Save USA – Taxes: This lesson plan provides students with an overview for understanding income taxes. Students will learn the difference between a gross income and a net income and why taxes are necessary in a democratic society. Students will also learn where their current and future tax dollars go.

To Be In Debt, Or To Not Be In Debt – That Is The Question: Students learn how to use their smartphones to aid in budgeting household and extraneous expenses. This lesson plan also teaches students about the various expenses adult budgeters can expect to come across.

Using Credit – Grades 9-12

According to the National Standards for Financial Literacy, by grade 12, students should have an understanding of the following credit benchmarks:

  • Consumers can compare the cost of credit using the annual percentage rate (APR), initial fees charged, and fees charged for late payment or missed payments.
  • Banks and financial institutions sometimes compete by offering credit at low introductory rates, which increase after a set period of time or when the borrower misses a payment or makes a late payment.
  • Loans can be unsecured or secured with collateral. Collateral is a piece of property that can be sold by the lender to recover all or part of a loan if the borrower fails to repay. Because secured loans are viewed as having less risk, lenders charge a lower interest rate than they charge for unsecured loans.
  • People often make a cash payment to the seller of a good—called a down payment—in order to reduce the amount they need to borrow. Lenders may consider loans made with a down payment to have less risk because the down payment gives the borrower some equity or ownership right away. As a result, these loans may carry a lower interest rate.
  • Lenders make credit decisions based in part on consumer payment history. Credit bureaus record borrowers’ credit and payment histories and provide that information to lenders in credit reports.
  • Lenders can pay to receive a borrower’s credit score from a credit bureau. A credit score is a number based on information in a credit report and assesses a person’s credit risk.
  • In addition to assessing a person’s credit risk, credit reports and scores may be requested and used by employers in hiring decisions, landlords in deciding whether to rent apartments, and nsurance companies in charging premiums.
  • Failure to repay a loan has significant consequences for borrowers such as negative entries on their credit report, repossession of property (collateral), garnishment of wages, and the inability to obtain loans in the future.
  • Consumers who have difficulty repaying debt can seek assistance through credit counseling services and by negotiating directly with creditors.
  • In extreme cases, bankruptcy may be an option for consumers who are unable to repay debt. Although bankruptcy provides some benefits, filing for bankruptcy also entails considerable costs, including having notice of the bankruptcy appear on a consumer’s credit report for up to 10 years.
  • People often apply for a mortgage to purchase a home. A mortgage is a type of loan that is secured by real estate property as collateral.
  • Consumers who use credit should be aware of laws that are in place to protect them. These include requirements to provide full disclosure of credit terms such as APR and fees, as well as protection against discrimination and abusive marketing or collection practices.
  • Consumers are entitled to a free copy of their credit report annually so that they can verify that no errors were made that might increase their cost of credit.

Credit as Currency: Students use a lesson on quarters to discuss why credit and other forms of exchange have become prevalent in the U.S. economy. Students also study the use of credit in other cultures, such as ancient China, to gain a global perspective on credit. This online resource is best for college-ready students who are considering student loans as a way to fund their education. It explains the processes of procuring and paying back student loans in detail and provides students with information on how to avoid too much debt.

Keys to Credit: This lesson teaches students the overall pros and cons of taking out a line of credit for everyday purchases. Students will learn how to establish credit and what to do if they are denied credit.

Credit Cards – What You Need To Know: This manual helps prepare educators for instruction on the uses and abuses of credit cards. It prepares instructors to teach the difference between revolving cards and charge cards and the options available for people with poor credit, such as subprime cards. The manual also provides information on credit card applications, terms and conditions of credit cards, and billing statements.

Dealing With Debt: This workshop for college-ready students provides information on preparing for student loans and other financial burdens of college. Including an editable powerpoint presentation, this lesson enables educators to teach the basics of debt in a lesson modified to their students’ needs.

Credit Reports & Credit Scores: Students will learn the difference between a credit report and a credit score and the factors that affect both. This lesson also provides information on what credit scores and credit reports are used for and tips on how to keep both in a financially healthy range.

Financial & Real Estate Investing Teacher Resources – Grades 9-12

Money and Gold.

According to the National Standards for Financial Literacy, by grade 12, students should have an understanding of the following financial & real estate investing benchmarks:

  • The real return on a financial investment is the nominal return minus the rate of inflation.
  • Federal, state, and local tax rates vary on different types of investments and affect the after-tax rate of return of an investment.
  • Expenses of buying, selling, and holding financial assets decrease the rate of return from an investment.
  • Buyers and sellers in financial markets determine prices of financial assets and therefore influence the rates of return on those assets.
  • An investment with greater risk than another investment will commonly have a lower market price, and therefore a higher rate of return, than the other investment.
  • Shorter-term investments will likely have lower rates of return than longer-term investments.
  • Diversification by investing in different types of financial assets can lower investment risk.
  • Financial markets adjust to new financial news. Prices in those markets reflect what is known about those financial assets.
  • The prices of financial assets are affected by interest rates. The prices of financial assets are also affected by changes in domestic and international economic conditions, monetary policy, and fiscal policy.
  • Investors should be aware of tendencies that people have that may result in poor choices. These include avoiding selling assets at a loss because they weigh losses more than they weigh gains and investing in financial assets with which they are familiar, such as their own employer’s stock or domestic rather than international stocks.
  • People vary in their willingness to take risks. The willingness to take risks depends on factors such as personality, income, and family situation.
  • An economic role for governments exists if individuals do not have complete information about the nature of alternative investments or access to competitive financial markets.
  • The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Federal Reserve, and other government agencies regulate financial markets.

Pop Goes the Housing Bubble: In this lesson, students learn about real estate investment and risk, in the context of the recent housing bubble rise and collapse. They will learn the difference between undervalued and overvalued assets and use role-play to analyze the incentives behind real estate purchase decisions.

Understanding Mortgages: This online tutorial provides students and educators with a comprehensive view of the various types of mortgages, how to secure a mortgage for a home, and the potential surprises found in mortgage contracts.

Value Your Home Equity: In this online tutorial, students learn the meaning of “home equity” in relation to a mortgage and how homeowners can use their equity to apply for additional lines of credit. Students will also learn techniques for determining if a home equity loan is a sound financial decision.

Learning, Earning & Investing: This lesson packet provides 21 lessons on various aspects of investing, such as the vocabulary of financial markets, gathering information on investments, and the nature of U.S. financial institutions. Students end the unit with a bowl game on financial markets.

Mortgage Calculator: This online loan calculator provides students with an easy tool for classroom lessons on real estate investment or real-world use.

High School Financial Literacy Course: This course on finances educates students on real-estate-specific terms and concepts. Students watch presentations and continue with class discussions on responsible home buying, and how to close a home purchase.

Stock Market Game: This web-based game teaches students the basics of investing by setting up pretend investment scenarios for each student participant. It includes a Teacher Support Center with links to relevant, teachable information on stock market investments.

Protecting & Insuring – Grades 9-12

According to the National Standards for Financial Literacy, by grade 12, students should have an understanding of the following protecting & insuring benchmarks:

  • Probability quantifies the likelihood that a specific event will occur, usually expressed as the ratio of the number of actual occurrences to the number of possible occurrences.
  • Individuals vary with respect to their willingness to accept risk. Most people are willing to pay a small cost now if it means they can avoid a possible larger loss later.
  • Judgment regarding risky events is subject to errors because people tend to overestimate the probability of infrequent events, often because they’ve heard of or seen a recent example.
  • People choose different amounts of insurance coverage based on their willingness to accept risk, as well as their occupation, lifestyle, age, financial profile, and the price of insurance.
  • People may be required by governments or by certain types of contracts (e.g., home mortgages) to purchase some types of insurance.
  • An insurance contract can increase the probability or size of a potential loss because having the insurance results in the person taking more risks. Policy features such as deductibles and copayments are cost-sharing features that encourage the policyholder to take steps to reduce the potential size of a loss (claim).
  • People can lower insurance premiums by behaving in ways that show they pose a lower risk.
  • Health insurance provides funds to pay for health care in the event of illness and may also pay for the cost of preventive care. Large health insurance companies can often negotiate with doctors, hospitals, and other healthcare providers to obtain lower health care prices for their policyholders.
  • Disability insurance is income insurance that provides funds to replace income lost while an individual is ill or injured and unable to work.
  • Property and casualty insurance (including renters insurance) pays for damage or loss to the insured’s property and often includes liability coverage for actions of the insured that cause harm to other people or their property.
  • Life insurance benefits are paid to the insured’s beneficiaries in the event of the policyholder’s death. These payments can be used to replace wages lost when the insured person dies.
  • In addition to privately purchased insurance, some government benefit programs provide a social safety net to protect individuals from economic hardship created by unexpected events.
  • Loss of assets, wealth, and future opportunities can occur if an individual’s personal information is obtained by others through identity theft and then used fraudulently. By managing their personal information and choosing the environment in which it is revealed, individuals can accept, reduce, and insure against the risk of loss due to identity theft.
  • Federal and state regulations provide some remedies and assistance for victims of identity theft.

Successful Homeownership: This lesson plan packet provides educators with a lesson plan and class activities designed to teach the value of a financially-wise real estate investment. Students will learn about various types of home insurance and potential pitfalls of home ownership which lead to the foreclosure process.

ID Theft Quiz: This quiz provides a fun and interactive way to teach students about the importance of protecting their identities from fraud. Students will also learn how to monitor their credit history for potential fraudulent charges and what to do in the event of fraud.

Your Digital Dollars: This lesson packet teaches students how to use online tools to responsibly manage finances. Students will also learn about the risks involved in sharing their data online and techniques for keeping their information secure. Students will read over various online banking scenarios and try to determine “What’s Fishy?” about each situation.

Personal Bankruptcy Seminar: Students learn about bankruptcy, including the difference between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy. They’ll review ways to prevent bankruptcy, including credit counseling options. Students will review the financial circumstances of an example couple to determine if they may be trouble and discuss options for improving their situation.

Good Credit: Build It And Keep It: This tutorial educates students on the value of retaining a good credit history and explains how poor credit can negatively affect their financial future. The lessons learned in this unit can also apply to lessons in the “credit” standard.

Additional Resources

My Money Five: This U.S. government-developed site teaches five building blocks for money management that can lead to a financially stable future.

High School Financial Planning Program: This six-lesson program was designed to help teachers create a thorough unit on financial planning for older teens. Students will learn about wisely planning for their financial futures via lesson plans, online quizzes and polls.

Financial Fitness for Life: This online curriculum can be used by students of all ages, as it includes lessons tailored by grade level. Each age group comes with a financial savvy-teaching game students can play (up to two players per module) in the classroom or at home.

PwC’s Financial Literacy Curriculum: Broken down by financial literacy topic and grade level, PwC’s modules include instructor lesson plans and student handouts for 12 money management topic areas, including “Stock Market,” “Paying for College,” and “Home Buying.”

Mortgage & Finance Glossary of Terms: Helpful for any unit covering mortgage and real estate investments, especially for high school students.

Survey – Financial Capability in the United States: This 2009 survey interviewed took a reading of adult Americans’ financial literacy in the wake of the Housing Crisis. The results could provide a stark starting point to help students see the types of various financial situations real-world adults currently face.

The Finance Challenge: An online game designed to get students excited about financial responsibility, The Finance Challenge is a national competition in which students compete based on their financial literacy, money management, spending & credit, saving & investing, and The Federal Reserve System.