Invest in What’s Next


There are many possibilities for students’ life after high school and lots of questions to consider along the way.  “What path is right for me?” “What do I stand to gain?” “What are my funding options for school?”

We have been developing Invest in What’s Next (IIWN), an interactive, online mini-course with the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond. Through three lessons, students will explore their options, budget for their future, and build a plan that’s right for them.

We are happy to announce that lesson 1 has been launched and is ready for you to assign to your students!  After completing lesson 1, students will be able to:

  • determine what jobs best fit their personal interests and the education required for those jobs
  • estimate what they want their future lifestyle to be and the income they may need to earn to support that lifestyle
  • identify the benefits of education after high school
  • assess the degree levels and school options for education after high school
  • research education options that meet their goals
  • analyze charts and data in a variety of formats

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College and Career Readiness Theme for Financial Education Day

Karen Schwartz-Decker from our communications group contributed to this post.

_IMG_9260Last week, almost 100 students and their teachers from five Bay Area high schools and one adult school convened at the San Francisco Fed to learn about the importance of personal finance skills in planning for college and careers. This was the second annual Federal Reserve Financial Education Day, which was established as a day of workshops at Feds around the System to provide tools for making wise choices when investing in education and planning for the future. The SF Fed Economic Education Group hosted the event.

_IMG_9222In a series of morning breakout sessions, the students participated in a hands-on personal finance workshop facilitated by Lorraine Thayer and learned about the purposes and functions of the Fed from Steven Fisher. They also attended a session to learn about ways of financing college though scholarships.  The presentation was delivered by Rema Oxandaboure, but was developed by Joel Bervell, a Yale undergraduate from Seattle who collected over $200,000 in scholarships before graduating from high school.

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Personal finance blog resources

Last week, we suggested a few economics blogs as resources.  This week, we’re turning our focus to blogs that address topics related to personal finance and financial literacy.

These blogs were all winners of the Plutus Awards at the 5th Annual FinCon Expo, a peer conference for the financial media community.

Best New Personal Finance Blog: Listen, Money Matters!

2014-10-1-Listen-money-mattersAndrew Fiebert and Matt Giovanisci hail from New England, and they have self-proclaimed themselves a personal finance nerd and a reformed debt addict, respectively. Together, they explore money issues and share their research and learning with the purpose of helping others along the same path towards financial freedom and early retirement. They also maintain a podcast.

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Girl Scouts visit Phoenix Processing Center

2014.07.30Phoenix-GirlScouts-tour-launch2Just a quick post today to share a photo of Troop 966 (Peoria, AZ) from the Girl Scouts Arizona Cactus-Pine Council, along with representatives of our Fed outreach team.  These young women visited the SF Fed Phoenix Processing Center over the summer and got hands-on practice with personal finance by calculating income and creating a budget, along with learning how to save towards financial goals.

The Girl Scouts also viewed our cash operations and saw the coin and cash supply for the state of Arizona, while learning about the life cycle of cash in the U.S. A treasure hunt for piggy bank souvenirs completed their visit.

If you know an Arizona Girl Scout troop that would like to participate in our Phoenix office’s Girl Scout VIP Pass program, see the flyer below for more information.

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Future leaders hone leadership, financial literacy, resume and interview skills at the Fed

Students talk with Adrian Rodriguez and Susan Sutherland (SF Fed Senior VP, Equal Employment Opportunity, HR, Statistics, Director of the Office of Minority and Women Inclusion, and Seattle Branch Manager)We’ve been busy at the SF Fed’s Los Angeles Branch!  On Tuesday and Wednesday of last week, 96 youth from the Academy of Business Leadership (ABL) visited for sessions on mentoring, financial literacy lessons, and resume and job interview skills.

Thursday saw the arrival of 42 members from the Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles for a similar experience.  Both events were designed to develop leadership skills and to encourage careers in banking, business, finance, and economics.

In his welcoming remarks to the ABL audience, Roger Replogle, SF Fed Senior Vice President and Los Angeles Branch Manager, advised the young audience: “Learn to run to the fire – that’s where you find opportunity to grow, learn, and help.  Don’t look for the easy path.  Look for the hard one.”  He shared stories of successes and failures, both personal and professional, and lessons learned.

Lise Luttgens, CEO of the Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles, provided welcoming remarks for the Girl Scouts event and stressed that “gender is no barrier to financial literacy and independence.”

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Students and Money – The 2012 PISA results

This week we wanted to take a deeper dive into the recent PISA financial literacy assessment by looking at the test framework and reviewing a snapshot of student performance across the 18 countries that participated.

What is Financial Literacy? – PISA Definition

Financial literacy is knowledge and understanding of financial concepts and risks, and the skills, motivation and confidence to apply such knowledge and understanding in order to make effective decisions across a range of financial contexts, to improve the financial well-being of individuals and society, and to enable participation in economic life. (via)

The Students and Money Framework

The financial literacy assessment consisted of a total of 40 questions organized into three broad perspectives: content, processes, and context. Under each of these perspectives, four categories of questions were then identified. These 12 categories formed the PISA “framework” for measuring financial literacy, see table below:

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OECD PISA Looks at Students and Money and Asks: What’s the Level of Understanding?

The OECD PISA international assessment of financial literacy released last week reveals that around one in seven students in the 13 OECD participating countries and economies are unable to make even simple decisions about everyday spending, and only one in ten can solve complex financial tasks.

So, to answer the question posed in this post’s title: Not very high.

What was this study about?

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A College Degree is Worth It, But Educate Yourself on Student Loans

This post is by guest writer Laura Choi, who is a Senior Research Associate with the SF Fed’s Community Development department.  Laura researches a variety of issues aimed at improving economic opportunities for low- and moderate-income communities.  Read her full bio here.

With graduation season upon us, it’s a great time to get your students thinking about the future. There’s no question that a college degree is becoming more and more of a necessity in today’s economy. A recent Econcepts blog post highlighted new research from the SF Fed showing that a college degree is a worthwhile investment for the average student as it leads to higher lifetime earnings.

At the same time, the news is filled with stories of individuals struggling to repay their student loans, and President Obama just announced new executive actions to “lift the burden of crushing student loan debt.”

But student debt doesn’t have to be crushing or scary, and a little information can go a long way in helping students make sound financial decisions when it comes to financing higher education.

Here are a few ideas that can help your students get a better understanding of student debt.

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Why financial literacy is more important than ever

It’s easy to become complacent about our finances with the vast number of websites, apps, and businesses available today that specialize in helping people manage their money.  Granted, technology can be a powerful partner in financial management, but it cannot replace a strong understanding of factors that should inform decisions about how, where, and when we spend our money.

Why is financial literacy more important than ever?

Our financial landscape has grown increasingly complex.  Before a young person approaches college or a career, he or she is faced with big decisions on how much money to borrow for tuition, how much to save, how to invest, and how to grow and protect their budding wealth.


Image via GW Today

Dr. Annamaria Lusardi, a professor of economics and accountancy at the George Washington School of Business, wanted to test how financially literate populations are, both in the United States and internationally.  What she found was surprising.  She discussed her research recently at a TEDx Foggy Bottom gathering.

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Entrepreneurship, budgeting, and how to finance college

IMG_5063Last month, we had a great day of discussion on personal finance and entrepreneurship with nearly 400 amazing students from girls’ schools in Honolulu.  We ran three interactive sessions designed to introduce students to the topics of budgeting, learning how to finance college, and understanding the purposes and functions of the Fed.   The day was capped off with a panel discussion on entrepreneurial leadership.

Students from Honolulu’s La Pietra and Saint Andrew’s Priory joined their peers at Sacred Hearts Academy for the day, supported in part by the National Coalition of Girls’ Schools (NCGS).

Manage your money.  Don’t let it manage you.

Our session on personal finance stressed the importance of creating a budget, as well as the need to understand investment options, risk, and rates of return.  Young people need to be proactive instead of reactive with their money.   We used a modified version of this lesson plan during the session; feel free to download it and use it in your own classroom.

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