Archive for the ‘Young Adults’ Category

Money Lessons

It is never too early to learn about money.

If you expect your children to receive gift cards or other types of monetary gifts this holiday season, you may want to use the occasion as a teaching tool.

The American Library Association has created a list of children’s books on the topic of money.

“This list was developed in May 2012 by the Quicklists Consulting Committee of the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association, in support of the Money as You Grow website, developed by the President’s Advisory Council on Financial Capability which provides essential and age-appropriate financial lessons that kids need to know.”

The Money as You Grow book list offers age-appropriate reading for years 3-13.  Many of the titles such as the How Economics Works series and Money Madness by David Adler are available at the Newton Free Library.


Graphic Teaching Tools

Visual guides and comic books are creative formats that can entice young people into learning about financial literacy.

A College Student’s Guide to Credit Cards at is an infographic that helps students think through whether or not they can handle credit, credit card terms, and alternatives such as debit cards or prepaid cards.

Saving the Day is a Marvel Digital Comic featuring Spider-Man and the Avengers which teaches kids about financial terms, spreadsheets and more. The 21-page comic book  is free and can be read online. A Teacher’s Guide and versions in eight different languages are available.

Students Show their Smarts

High school students often think financial literacy is a dull subject. To liven things up, a consumer education group has turned a ho-hum subject into a fast-paced team sport with its  LifeSmarts: The Ultimate Consumer Challenge national competition.

LifeSmarts is an extracurricular activity that is coached by a teacher and begins at the local level. Teams first vie online, and then advance to state-level live competitions.

In Massachusetts last year, over 800 high school students took part in the online component of the competition and 700 went on to the state meet.

This year’s live competition will be held at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston on March 8th and is open to the public. The 16 top teams will go on to the national meet in Philadelphia in April.

For more information, go to LifeSmart’s main website at or contact Deb Bloomberg,  Economic Education Specialist with the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston at

College Costs Calculator

How much will college cost?  The answer is not always a simple one.  While colleges give a “sticker price” for tuition and fees, the amount any student will actually pay can be quite different. Financial resources of both the family and the school are factors.

The total cost will not be known until late in the college-decision process, often after the student has been accepted for admission.

Fortunately, new regulations now require every college to have a financial aid calculator on its web site.  Applicants will be able to target their search to those they can afford.

To use the calculators,  input data on parents’ financial information from tax returns, bank accounts, and investment records, plus information on student grades and assets.  Using the data, the calculator will show how much grant and scholarship assistance a student is likely to receive from the federal government and the college plus the “net price” the family is expected to pay, either out-of-pocket or from loans.

Although the intention of the financial aid calculators is good, critics say that the calculators can be difficult to use. In addition, they can vary considerably from one school to another. With no standardization, easy comparisons are difficult.

To read about the experience of one high school senior at using a financial aid calculator, see The Boston Globe article College Aid – The Daunting Calculus:  New Tool to Help Make Sense of It All.

To see a sampling of net price financial aid calculators, go to the National Association of Independent Colleges (NAICU) website.

For more information on Paying for College, see our blog post and video  from MEFA‘s presentation at September’s Financial Literacy at the Library event.

Health Insurance Quiz for Millennials

Let’s say you’re an unemployed 24-year-old.  Which is your best choice for health care insurance: get added to your parent’s policy or buy your own plan from a private insurer? You may be surprised to know that a private policy can actually be the cheaper option.

This is just one of the health insurance topics included in Kiplinger Magazine’s quiz, What Young Adults Need to Know about Health Insurance.  Other questions range from the effect of preexisting conditions on premiums to the distinction between health savings plans and flexible spending accounts.

With the passage of the federal Affordable Care Act, the number of uninsured young adults has dropped from about 28% to 25%. But that still leaves too many 20-somethings at risk of financial devastation from a medical crisis.

Take the quiz, plus consult a Guide to Open Enrollment for 2012 and  How to Save Money on Health Insurance When You’re Young.