If you’re a financial educator, how can you teach a better money class? Here are some tips.
Tips to teach a better money class
- No matter if you’re working with adults or teens, a money class should be engaging. It doesn’t have to always be laugh-out-loud fun, but it can’t be boring. Unfortunately when people finally go to a money class, it lives up to their expectations that it’s going to be boring – and then they won’t return to another money class you offer. What makes a class boring? Lots of lecture, PowerPoint and worksheets.
- Don’t be afraid to sacrifice some content for a more enjoyable money class. In other words, it can be tempting to cram lots of facts and skills into an hour-long money class, but people don’t retain that.
- It’s important for people to feel comfortable in a money class. What makes for an uncomfortable money class?
- Partly it’s the environment: a windowless room, uncomfortable chairs, etc.
- And partly it’s the feel of the money class. If the first thing you have people do is write down their money mistakes or fill out a budget worksheet with their income and expenses, it makes it even harder for people to feel comfortable and talk about money.
- A money class that is just about how to do a budget probably won’t be well received. This can be too much math and too many numbers too quickly. Think about gradually working towards a budget, not doing it right out of the gate.
- Get people involved in your money class from the start. Just reading from a PowerPoint presentation won’t do that. Think about mulch-sensory activities. What ice breakers can you add? Can you get people to draw or create with their hands? Can you get them to talk? Think about what would make you want to be in your class as opposed to focusing on what students should be learning.
How does Money Habitudes make for a better money class?
- Money Habitudes is an engaging activity. Designed like a deck of cards and used like money management games, it’s hands-on and lots more fun than a worksheet or lecture.
- It acts as a financial ice breaker or introduction. Use it for 15-20 minutes at the start of a money class – or as a longer standalone class – and see how people react better to other financial skills like doing a budget.
- As a financial conversation starter, it helps people feel much more comfortable talking about money. There’s a big difference between a class where students open up, share and interact with each other and a teacher versus one where they don’t want to talk about money. That the money game gets people to laugh and smile in a money class is a big change versus most money classes.
- It makes material more relevant and personal – and helps people really understand their spending habits. It’s one thing to just tell someone to “save more” but it’s totally different to have someone realize for himself that (a) he needs to save more, and (b) a way to do that is by spending less on clothes and shoes every month. The card game activity helps people understand their own money personality and how to change their spending habits to find a healthier balance.
- As an introduction or standalone class, one of the most important roles that the activity plays is to put a friendly non-threatening face or a program, class or teacher. Instead of thinking, “I don’t like this,” students are more apt to say, “This is fun. I’d do more financial education with this person or organization in the future.”