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Financial Literacy

Financial Literacy: Financial Firsts Can be Financial Pitfalls

The financial literacy program is designed for students in high school, college, vocational programs, and early-career jobs. This age group is coming into many financial firsts – first vehicle, first credit card, first student loan, and first job and apartment. There are four realistic scenarios presented to students to set the stage for a discussion about the life skills needed to navigate personal finances successfully.

The 90-minute program begins with a pre-test to find out where the students’ starting point is on their personal journey toward financial competence. It explores words like budget, credit score, and true cost to see if participants have a practical, working knowledge of these pillars of financial literacy. These concepts will have a huge impact on opening doors to employment, housing, vehicle ownership, student loans – and even serious relationships.

Students are broken down into small groups and presented with one of four scenarios:

  1. First Job Euphoria – Needs v. Wants. Young people going out on their own for the first time may not be skilled in distinguishing between needs and wants, which can be a set-up for overusing credit cards.
  2. First Credit Card Confusion – Read the Fine Print. Glossing over the fine print in credit card applications can have serious financial and legal consequences.
  3. First Vehicle Miscalculation – Know All the Costs. Every major purchase comes with additional expenses. If not figured into the cost of the purchase, they can derail a young person’s financial future.
  4. First Student Loan Slip Up – What to Know Before You Borrow. Spending based on the expectation of future income can set the stage for overspending, debt accumulation, and long-term financial consequences.

Half of the participants are designated as creditors in the scenario, and the other half debtors. The students will make a list of at least 10 questions, in order of importance, that they want to ask the other side. Two rounds of discussion are held, facilitated by a bankruptcy attorney, to teach financial literacy concepts as the conversation flows.

The finale of the program is a visit from a Federal Bankruptcy Judge, who will take questions from the students.

This program can be offered on location in the courtroom, or at an alternative location as agreed upon by the parties. It requires no preparation for teachers. For more information, or to reserve a date, please contact Janell Grubb at 509-458-5333 or by email at