What youth should know about the basics of investing

This section of the 4-H Build a Million curriculum discusses cash, stock market terms, basics of bonds and understanding mutual funds.

Michigan State University Extension 4-H Youth Development has information on working with youth ages 5-19 in money management. One of the curriculum we use is a free curriculum developed by Michigan 4-H staff and Michigan 4-H Foundation called 4-H Build a Million, a financial literacy curriculum developed to teach youth ages 14-18 years old or in grades 9- 12.

In this third part of an article series on 4-H Build a Million, we’ll focused on investing. This is one of the longer units, so more time is needed to teach this series. Also being discussed are mutual funds, bonds and stock markets. There are four lessons included in this unit.

  1. Cash and Cash Equivalents. The learning objective is to familiarize youth with what a bank is verses a credit union. What are the types of accounts youth can have, such as checking, CD, savings and money market? The icebreaker gives youth a chance to reply to some of the following questions. Do you own a CD? What is the current interest rate? Are you a bank member or credit union member? Case studies are used for discussion among the youth.
  2. Understanding and Investing in the Stock Market. This lesson familiarizes youth with stock market terms, the process of buying and selling and basic understanding of the stock market. Youth play a fun game of Jeopardy to give them a chance to see what they know. The handout, Categories of Stock, which gives a quick overview, is given out to the youth to review. Youth investigate the stock market and see the different kinds of stock.
  3. Bond Basics. This lesson provides youth with a basic understanding of bonds, how interest rates affect the selling price, how they work and if they can make money with bonds.
  4. Understanding Mutual Funds. Covered are learning the basic of mutual funds, how to evaluate and select a mutual fund and tips on comparing them. Youth work with a mutual fund worksheet on how to select them. There are icebreakers and activities included in this lesson as well.

Information on the 4-H Build a Million curriculum should be taught in the order it is when you download it. If you would like to pick and choose a specific topic depending on your class size or time, you can choose one of the one-hour or two-hour lessons within the units.

The 4-H Build a Million curriculum can be downloaded for free at the 4-H Build a Million website. For more information on 4-H, contact your local MSU Extension office.

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