The trial and error of teaching personal finance
One constant topic of conversation that we have at La Luma Salon & Academy is one of personal finances. If you are a twenty-something—or the parent of one—then this post is for you.
As a post-secondary institution, we offer excellent information, training and personal leadership skills in our lessons and classes to properly prepare our students to enter the workforce, but there is one thing missing that cannot be taught: experience.
There is a disconnect between what is taught at the college level and what the students really need to learn. Your hope as an instructor is that your students will remember what you said or taught them when they enter the workforce and start experiencing these lessons firsthand. It’s difficult to stress the value and relevance of a topic or lesson until they experience it for themselves.
One of the disconnects is with personal finance. Most students live at home and do not have the experience of generating an income and relating or connecting that to the amount of money needed to finance their life.
Training post-secondary graduates to connect the two has been a long process of development for us, with limited success. We have had them create personal budgets, increase their financial literacy, set goals, and connect sales goals with personal ones. But all of this great stuff but not quite enough.
In my experience, a way to get through to them is to create a series of impacts that directly tied behaviour with a financial consequence, both positive or negative. Don't bail them out or fix the situation no matter how upsetting or emotional. Put it in real terms. Use play money to create the experience. Tie a goal and reward system to it so students can experience the impact of being able to get the impact positive or negative. Use real salon KPI data to relate how they show up at work to what results they get to their personal budget and professional goals.
I have come to realize that if we really are committed to preparing post-secondary graduates for the workforce, then we have to get creative in how we integrate knowledge, skills and experience in education.