For my Genius Hour project I plan to teach high school students about the importance of saving their money and the benefits it can have. I know my younger siblings get money during the holidays or for a birthday or for small jobs. Once they get this money they immediately spend it on shoes, sports equipment, etc. My goal would be to work with students to illustrate the advantages of saving some of this money especially in the long term.
One interactive activity that we could conduct would be a mock portfolio assignment. Students would be allowed to allocate a set amount of money into a portfolio of their design. It could include stocks, bonds, mutual funds, cd’s etc. Then the students could participate throughout the semester and see how their portfolio performs. There are many online sights that allow you to create a mock portfolio and track your progress over a period of time. The mock portfolio assignment will give students hands on experience with finances and illustrate to them the amount of money they can make by investing.
Students could also work on a project that shows the power of compounding interest on their savings. While the mock portfolio project will be fun, students will only be able to participate for a semester or two max. Such a short time frame inhibits students from being able to grasp the large amount of money investing can make over time. In order to illustrate this, I can show the kids several time value of money examples. We could do one where a student saves $5 every month from now until they graduate and invests it in the market. Using a conservative 5-6% rate of return and keeping that money invested until they retire it can turn into several thousand dollars.
Hopefully through fun, engaging projects like these students can see the power and benefits of saving their money. Buying into these principles at an early age will help ensure more of these students are fiscally responsible in the future. This is extremely important and recent statistics have shown that only 5% of millennials are on track to have a sufficient amount of money saved by the time they retire. Teaching students smart financial principles will go a long way to helping them in the future and helping them gain long term financial security.