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Old 08-31-2010, 02:00 PM   #41
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I think identifying target audience is #1.

The school does both continuing education for the community as well as vocational school for high school aged kids.
You have already gotten a lot of good suggestions, so I won't try to add any.

After the target audience has been identified, you need to try to think like the majority of the audience. I would think that the needs and interests of, say, a post high school audience would be very different from those of baby boomers. If you get too heavy with investment, financial independence, and retirement topics you may lose the younger ones, while boomers might not be interested in, say reconciling a check register (well, maybe a bad example as there are a lot of boomers that don't, for whatever reason, reconcile).

At 23, one year into my second job, I was invited to the "retirement plan enrollment" party and was told it was very possible for me to be a millionaire by the time I was 65, and retire. Yeah, right. #1 I thought I would never get old, #2 I thought I'd never retire. Thinking ahead 42 years was something I was just not capable of. Enrolled anyway. First job was in the public sector and enrollment was required.
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Old 08-31-2010, 02:14 PM   #42
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Originally Posted by halcyon View Post
Did anyone read the comments at the end of the "iwillteachyoutoberich" blog post? Some excellent points here....

"Couldn’t agree more. I’ve often thought that until the Personal Finance industry gets better at Marketing, they’ll always be on a losing streak. The likes of Apple, Nike et al are light years ahead of the PF industry and will always have instant gratification on their side. Delayed gratification is never going to be sexy.

But wait….how do people in the PF industry make their money, is it actually on the number of people who become better at managing their finances or the number of products they sell to them that promises to deliver this? Let’s not forget that a world full of financially literate people would soon stop borrowing, getting into debt and buying all of the cr@p that they don’t really need. The Govts of the West are very worried about this as it will halt economic growth in its tracks….hence very low interest rates to encourage borrowing, Quantitative Easing (printing money), etc.. The fact remains that the Govts of the West (and the big banks that fund them) want most people to be financially illiterate to encourage our mismanagement of money and keep borrowing and spending recklessly to keep the economy buoyant.

Unfortunately it will all end in tears sooner or later as even a child can tell you that you can’t solve a debt problem by spending more money!

Ramit – I wish you luck in your continued quest to open people’s eyes about the proper management of their finances (albeit wrapped up in a nicely Marketed IWTYTBR package). I do feel however that bigger powers are working against you….not that this is any reason to stop."
I read the blog, and part of my theme when teaching a class like this is that

it is OK to get biased advice, just know that its biased all the time, find out why, and ask if you can live with that bias. No advice is truly objective.

Financial planners cannot make a living doing planning unless LOTS of clients come to them- once a person has a financial plan, its not like that person needs another plan in 6 or 24 months, so that well is not a deep one, better have lots of clients... so you better believe that advice won't be out there for free.
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Old 09-02-2010, 12:59 PM   #43
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The FDIC has a program called MoneySmart that covers lots of these topics. You can get it for free. I use it in my volunteering to teach personal finance to people that are part of county housing assistance programs (i.e. low-income people who would otherwise be homeless).

You can read about it and get it free here:
FDIC: Money Smart - A Financial Education Program
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Old 09-02-2010, 01:29 PM   #44
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The FDIC has a program called MoneySmart that covers lots of these topics. You can get it for free. I use it in my volunteering to teach personal finance to people that are part of county housing assistance programs (i.e. low-income people who would otherwise be homeless).

You can read about it and get it free here:
FDIC: Money Smart - A Financial Education Program
this was linked earlier in thread
makes for good use for out of class work

not the best or fastest paced material for in class, though
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Old 09-03-2010, 01:13 PM   #45
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Financial planners cannot make a living doing planning unless LOTS of clients come to them- once a person has a financial plan, its not like that person needs another plan in 6 or 24 months, so that well is not a deep one, better have lots of clients... so you better believe that advice won't be out there for free.
Most hourly planners I know have either quit their business or allied with a wealth management group. Hourly planners that don't get compensated any other way will be extinct in 5 years.
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Old 09-03-2010, 07:03 PM   #46
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Suggestion~ Write "LBYM" in large letters on the board (if they still have these in the classroom) but do not reveal what it means until the end. This way you will build up suspense and assure that you will have 100% attendance for the entire term.

Without LBYM all financial models fall apart.
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Old 09-03-2010, 07:37 PM   #47
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You say it's a vocational school. Does that mean some will be going into contracting?

If it looks like it, some of them may work 1099 or even as a cash business. I would hit hard on things that a big-employer job makes easy for the rest of us and a pain for people on their own and that trip them up big time, like:

Saving for estimated taxes, keeping records;

Getting disability insurance, life insurance, medical insurance (kids aren't going to think that they need 'em, so scare them a little);

Reporting a reasonable percentage of their income for taxes (I know, I know), because otherwise they won't be able to qualify for a mortgage or earn Social Security, etc.

I've talked to a bunch of contractors nearby who over the years have declared little of what they earned and then say they can't invest because it would be a red flag. It's a justification I've seen contractors in their 50's kicking themselves for, because even though they were earning plenty they are finishing up with little saved. What were they going to do, keep cash in the mattress?

And of course the ol' if you invest from 21 to 31 vs from 31-65 thingy. That may make them sit up a little.
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Old 09-03-2010, 09:50 PM   #48
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Interesting subject. I have thought about doing it but have not taken action.

I haven't seen any mention of basic math skills that will be needed. This is a stumbling block for many who are in need. It is much like illitercy in that it has a stigma and people will hide it. Will you list the math proficiency needed in the course description?

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Old 09-06-2010, 02:43 PM   #49
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If you have time, I would suggest teaching them how to work problems using a financial calculator (like the HP 10bII which can now be bought for <$30). Once they have this skill, they can calculate the answer to almost all of the financial "whether it is better to do x or y" or "how much interest..." type questions life will throw at them.
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Old 09-06-2010, 03:38 PM   #50
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Some excellent ideas from former Vanguard folks:

The Elements of Investing
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Old 09-07-2010, 10:04 AM   #51
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All-

I have my meeting with vocational school tomorrow. Below is the 2 page list of topics

3 categories
1) Classroom discussion topics. Depending on length of course, and how many hours per day, this list shrinks
2) Problems to solve. These are the types of questions the students should be able to answer when completing class.
3) Outside resources- this is a list of places students can go for further information.

Quote:
Subjects to cover

1) Income- sources like W-2 vs 1099 and the pros and cons of each
2) Budgeting
3) Emergency fund
4) debt management
5) financing things vs paying cash
6) investing (buy something which goes up in value)
7) knowing risks
8) investing in the stock market and bond market
9) Compound Interest
10) Asset allocation while investing
11) retirement and financial independence
12) Income taxes (personal income taxes)
13) the impact of investing on taxes (IRAs and similar)
14) small business (s corps, LLC and similar and how they impact all of the above)
15) Calculating interest rates and rates of return
16) Financial fraud and contracts (like cell phones and other services with a contract)
17) Banks vs credit unions vs other financial institutions (like brokerages)
18) Flexible spending accounts and Health Savings Accounts
19) Car Insurance (Liability vs deductable vs collision)
20) Credit Scores
21) Life insurance
22) Inflation
23) Net worth
24) Social Security, 1099, cash based business


Problems to solve at various points in the course:
1) pay down mortgage or invest
2) which debt to pay off first
3) how much money will I have after X amount of time
4) How do I open an account
5) How much will a payday loan cost, and what is the interest rate being charged?
6) How much does a tax refund loan cost?
7) Setting financial goals
8) Buying a car and negotiating prices
9) How to open a 401k
10) How to open an IRA
11) How to roll an old 401k into an IRA
12) Roth Conversions

Online materials for course
FDIC: Money Smart - A Financial Education Program
Covers
1) Banks
2) Borrowing
3) Check it out (Checking accounts)
4) Money Matters (tracking money)
5) Pay yourself first (how to save)
6) Keep it safe (consumer rights)
7) To your credit (credit history)
8) Charge it right (make credit card work for you)
9) Loan to own (how to borrow)
10) Your own home (home ownership)

Planning & Research - T. Rowe Price
Covers
1) Investing 101 (how investing works)
2) Asset Allocation
3) Retirement Planning
4) College Planning
5) Tax Planning
6) Estate Planning
7) Publications and Videos (opinions on financial markets)
8) Research and Analysis
9) T Rowe Price insights (T Rowe Price fund managers commentary)
10) Charitable giving
11) Tools and Resources
If you see other points to add, feel free. I plan to spend a decent amount of time focusing on these topics

1) Budgeting
2) compound interest (both with debts and with savings- same concept)
3) rates of return and interest rates on debt (calculating them and seeing tax implications)
4) income taxes (basics)
5) risks (like interest rate risk, inflation risk, market risk) to point out NOTHING is risk free.

Special thanks to all which replied, I went through each post as I built that final list.
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Old 09-08-2010, 07:53 PM   #52
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Make sure to include lots of pictures of scantily clad celebrities. TMZ is generally an excellent source. Important not to lose the audience. Bonus points if you can connect them to personal finance.

Seriously, this is one course that I think would be fun to teach. So I am curious how it goes.
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Old 09-09-2010, 09:34 AM   #53
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A few issues cleared up

Class is for adults
Classes need to be flavored for occupations- meaning I have to relate topics to various occupations to help people see if they are interested in a career in that field.

I proposed two courses and suggested that insurance agents, financial planners, stock brokers as well as heads of households would be interested in taking them. For the personal finance course I also added bankers and mortgage brokers to the list.

Once course was on Personal Finance for Individuals and the second course was Retirement Planning for Individuals. About 5 of the topics overlapped, but the level of detail each topic is covered would be different in the courses, and neither course has any pre-requisites.

The proposal was sent to the school admin, and I am now waiting to hear if the courses make the docket for the quarter which starts in Mid October.
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Old 11-09-2010, 06:15 PM   #54
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jIMOh,

Any news on your course? It is a darn good idea.

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Old 11-10-2010, 07:45 AM   #55
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jIMOh,

Any news on your course? It is a darn good idea.

Free to canoe
They did not pick it up this semester... but I have a few other leads I am chasing down for 2011 using same material.
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Old 11-10-2010, 11:20 PM   #56
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Most hourly planners I know have either quit their business or allied with a wealth management group. Hourly planners that don't get compensated any other way will be extinct in 5 years.
Given that discount brokers have elimiated the shills of the full service brokers (brokers), then who gives advice. Clearly then there are not enough people needing advice to justify it, or perhaps estate planning lawyers are getting to them first. (Law and a CPA provide a good way to provide one stop service give advice and draft documents)
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Old 11-11-2010, 07:56 AM   #57
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A lot of really good suggestions. One thing I would add is that people learn and see things differently, not everyone can engage with the numbers. Include alternate readings like The Richest Man In Babylon or YMOYL. Give advice for those who are not numerically inclined like, LBYM, or like the sig line from a fellow on the VG site:"Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen and six, result happiness; Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery." My Dad was not much with numbers but he essentially communicated that debt is slavery. He never had any debt his whole life, including saving & buying a fixer-upper house for cash. Not that I believe this is the only way to behave financially, I have borrowed money for a mortgage, but it is a good lesson to hate debt to counter the market inducements to live on credit.
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Old 11-11-2010, 08:44 AM   #58
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Given that discount brokers have elimiated the shills of the full service brokers (brokers), then who gives advice. Clearly then there are not enough people needing advice to justify it, or perhaps estate planning lawyers are getting to them first. (Law and a CPA provide a good way to provide one stop service give advice and draft documents)
So, you want CPAs to give financial advice? First, most of them are not licensed to do so, and secondly, many of them are concerned about conflcit of interest and liability............

Same thing with estate planning attorneys...........
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Old 11-11-2010, 09:00 AM   #59
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Given that discount brokers have elimiated the shills of the full service brokers (brokers), then who gives advice. Clearly then there are not enough people needing advice to justify it, or perhaps estate planning lawyers are getting to them first. (Law and a CPA provide a good way to provide one stop service give advice and draft documents)

The advice most people need is spend less than you earn. If you put the rest in a savings account, 50-75% of the people in debt now would be so much better off.

CPA or attorney's would charge too much for such simple advice.


Most lower income people get advice not from attorneys or CPAs, but either from their HR block tax professional, or Dave Ramsey/ Suze Ormon.

The advice from a place like HR block would hardly be "objective" and the advice from a radio talk show host would be more to effect of one size fits alls and the purpose of a course like this is to make people see what size they are and fit advice to their situation. See a problem, and know what type of person solves it. 90% of the solutions are "personal" (as in spend less, manage credit, know your budget), 10% are "get help"- mortgage broker, bank loan, car loan, investment advisor etc...


My understanding is many churches have classes like this available and the courses are often taught within the community, you just need to find them.
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Old 11-11-2010, 09:48 AM   #60
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Most lower income people get advice not from attorneys or CPAs, but either from their HR block tax professional, or Dave Ramsey/ Suze Ormon.

The advice from a place like HR block would hardly be "objective"....

My understanding is many churches have classes like this available and the courses are often taught within the community, you just need to find them.
As a newer H&R Block tax professional, I must say that so far, requests / opportunities for advice have been very limited. Most do not seek it.
Block is completely out of the financial products business as of last year so it is now strictly tax preparation.

I have not seen any courses of this type offered in this area. It is hard to get community info out here so I could be missing them. Good idea, though.

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