Teachers: Personal Finance for your Classroom

Posted in Children & Family, Retirement on

Summer is coming to a close and school is back in session. This return to the classroom was the inspiration for this post. I first heard of some of the resources and statistics, mentioned here, this summer at a financial planning conference organized by The Garrett Planning Network, of which I’m a member. This is a group of fee-only planners who are, “making competent, objective financial advice accessible.” When I heard about resources for teachers I was excited to share them!

Preparation For Adulthood

According to Vanguard, “66% of americans between 25-35 don’t save for retirement.” This statistic makes the case that it is important to teach personal financial concepts. Unfortunately, our education system hasn’t caught up to our current economy and retirement options. In order to have a successful retirement we no longer depend on a pension or even Social Security. However, 25-35 years of age is the most important time to save for retirement. If you don’t believe me here is a powerful example from The Simple Dollar:

Let’s say you’re 20 years old right now. You want to have $2 million set aside for retirement at age 65 and, magically, there’s an index fund out there that will return 7% a year (I’m using this index fund as a convenience, basing the 7% on what Warren Buffett suggests is a good number to use for average stock market returns going forward).

– If you start investing at age 20, you’ll need to put aside about $510 a month to reach this goal.

– If you start at age 35, you’ll need to set aside about $1,530 a month to reach this goal, but you don’t have to save anything from ages 20 to 35.

– If you start at age 50, you’ll need to set aside about $5,600 a month to reach this goal, but you don’t have to save anything from ages 20 to 50.

If our children are going to start saving for retirement early they need to be taught the importance of retirement savings and other personal financial planning concepts well before adulthood.

My Classroom Economy

My classroomeconomy.org is a free resource and experiencial learning program. It complements curriculum currently taught and makes personal finance relevant to other classroom topics. There are age appropriate activities to match all grade levels, including high school. “Renting a desk,” might sound funny at first. However, Rafe Esquith practiced this for over 30 years in Los Angeles classrooms with proven success.


Jump$tart is another free resource. They are a coalition of diverse financial education stakeholders. According to their mission, these organizations work together to educate and prepare our nation’s youth for life-long financial success. Each year they hold a National Educator Conference, which will be in Southern California this fall.

Please share this post with teachers, or start programs in your classroom, so that today’s kids have the education they need to SaveUp!

This post was written by SaveUp’s personal finance contributing writer, Catherine Hawley, CFP®.

Share this Article with Friends and Family!

Leave a Comment!

Written by Catherine Hawley

Catherine is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER (TM) who offers accessible and objective financial advice to individuals and families. Her aim is to help clients gain clarity and confidence so they can pursue their definition of financial success. You can find more information about her independent practice at www.catherinehawley.com. She has worked at Rhodes & Fletcher, LLC as a Personal Benefits Specialist and at the firms of Bernstein Global Wealth Management and Barclayʼs Global Investors. Catherine has a bachelors degree in communication studies from the University of California, Los Angeles where she was a scholarship athlete and captain of the womenʼs tennis team.