Personal Financial Management

Credit, Lending, & Debt

Many people use credit on a daily basis. Some use credit for daily purchases like gas and groceries while others use credit to buy houses, boats, cars and other big-ticket items that they may not have enough money to pay for all at once. This module explores best practices for maintaining healthy credit and avoiding credit-damaging debt. Some guiding questions for this module are:

What is credit and how do I use it?

What types of credit are available to me? What are the differences between the available options?

How do I afford large-ticket items?

What makes a credit score “good” or “bad?”

What do I do if I get into debt?

What protections are available to me as a consumer?

Building Wealth

Every year Forbes magazine compiles a list of the wealthiest people in America. Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, and Warren Buffett all appear at the top of the list year after year. So how did these people build wealth? They all started their own businesses and amassed great fortunes by providing a product or service in high demand. While most of us will never achieve this level of wealth, we can all create enough wealth over time to live very comfortably in retirement. Using savvy saving strategies, many of us have the ability to become millionaires. Some guiding questions for this module are:

What are ways I can save money?

What services do financial markets offer to savers?

How does the money I’m saving grow over time?

What types of things should I be saving money for?

How are financial markets regulated?

Mastering Interest Rates

When we think of interest rates, we may begin to get anxious because the topic seems difficult to understand. But really, the concept is simple. Interest can be defined as rent on money. Paying interest when you borrow money for some period is similar to paying rent to use an apartment for some period. When you no longer need the money, you return it to the owner. You usually pay the interest plus a fraction of the principal each month for several months or years. While you pay interest if you borrow money, you can also earn interest if you loan money. In other words, you can be a borrower or a saver. This module explores how interest rates affect us in our daily lives. Some guiding questions for this module are:

How do I calculate an interest rate?

How does interest work on credit cards?

How does interest work on savings accounts?

How do rising and falling interest rates affect me?

College & Career Readiness

Deciding on a career path is one of the most important financial decisions young adults make. Using this curriculum, students develop plans for achieving their personal career goals. Activities include career investigation, salary negotiations & interview strategies, and a flow chart project for short and long term career planning. The full curriculum includes lesson plans and activities for multiple days of class, as well as discussion guides, writing prompts, and assessment materials. Some guiding questions include:

What do I need to consider when choosing a career path?

How can I learn more about career paths?

How are salaries determined? How can I negotiate my salary based on my skill set?

The Basics of Taxation & Public Finance

Taxes are required by law at the federal and state levels and tax rates vary greatly from state to state. Many individuals grumble about taxes, either that they are required to pay too much, what tax dollars are spent on are inefficient, or that the tax system is overly complex and complicated. Tax revenues are used to fund government programs we need or want. These contributions are collected in various ways that can include adding the tax to the cost of goods and services, employer deductions from your payroll check, and remissions to the state and federal government when you file your annual tax return or pay your property taxes. The full curriculum includes lesson plans and activities for multiple days of class, as well as discussion guides, writing prompts, and assessment materials. Some guiding questions include:

How am I compensated for my time and labor at a job?

What taxes am I responsible for paying?

Should I consider local, state, and federal taxes when financial planning?

These curriculum are based on the Arkansas state economics standards, which can be found here: