High school teacher Sherry Brown knows most of her high school students are clueless when it comes to how to manage their money.
“They just have no idea how much goes into it,” said the government and economics teacher at Alabama’s Guntersville High School.
She’s right. A recent survey by H&R Block showed that 83 percent of teens don’t keep a budget and 58 percent worry about being worse off financially than their parents.
And on top of that, Brown said, as more and more students take on student loans, they have trouble trying to manage those payments along with all of their other bills. She said, too often, they turn to credit cards.
That’s why Brown started using H&R Block’s Budget Challenge program in her classroom.
It’s an online program that puts students in real-world financial situations. They get a paycheck every month, and have to pay for credit card bills, utilities, rent, and even have to put money into a 401k plan for their retirement.
The program is made for 9th to 12th grade teachers all over the country to incorporate into their curriculums.
Emma Fancher, one of Brown’s former students, took the budget challenge and won a $20,000 scholarship from it.
“Throughout high school, I had a part time job and I could see at the end of the month when my paycheck came in that there was a big chunk of money being taken out,” she said, “and I had no clue where it was going.”
But, through the program, she said she learned that that money was going to her future retirement and to pay for taxes.
“I’ll be able to carry those skills throughout life with me,” she said.