JA Finance Park® is all that, and more. This financial literacy laboratory exists to inspire and prepare youth to succeed. There is no question about it: Financial literacy and sound money management skills are essential to success. Today more than ever, young adults need a strong foundation for making intelligent, lifelong, personal financial decisions.
To improve the financial literacy of our future business leaders and employees, Junior Achievement has created an exciting reality-based learning environment for middle and high school students.
JA Finance Park allows middle and high-school grade students to see, touch, and live the experience of personal finance by basically becoming "an adult for the day."
Before students travel to JA Finance Park®, they take part in JA's unique 14-lesson classroom curriculum, split into four main categories, taught by their teacher. This knowledge serves as a foundation in personal finance education and gives them the skills they need to take on their JA Finance Park® experience with everything they need to be successful.
Students recognize the role of financial institutions and the various services they provide. Through case study, games, graphing, and other group activities, students understand the advantages of saving, investing, and using credit wisely.
Lesson One: Plan Your Future
Students will make the distinction between abilities, aptitudes, interests, work preferences, and values. They will explore various sources of income, including salaries and wages, interest, and business profit.
Lesson Two: Careers
Students identify their career interests and goals as a way to earn future income. They set a career goal they will revisit at the end of the program.
Lesson Three: Taxes and My Income
Students learn the three main sources of government's tax on income and determine net monthly income by deducting federal income tax, Social Security, and Medicare deductions.
SAVING, INVESTING, AND RISK MANAGEMENT
Students explore saving and compare investments as a part of their overall financial planning. They also examine risk and how insurance may help protect savings.
Lesson One: Saving and Investing
Students are introduced to various short- and long-term saving and investment options such as savings accounts, stocks, and mutual funds.
Lesson Two: Managing Risk
Students recognize that insurance policies are a common way to minimize risk for accidents and unforeseen circumstances.
DEBIT AND CREDIT
Students compare financial institutions and their services. Through discussion and a game activity they also weigh the advantages and disadvantages of debit and credit. Lastly, students examine the role of credit scores and credit reporting have on personal finances.
Lesson One: Banking Partners
Students identify the types of financial institutions and the services they provide.
Lesson Two: Personal Spending
Students become aware of the advantages and disadvantages of debit and credit cards.
Lesson Three: Savvy Shopping
Students participate in the Savvy Shopper game and see first-hand the costs and benefits of debit and credit.
Lesson Four: Managing Credit
Students explore credit reports and credit scores, discover why they are important, and learn how to build good credit.
Students discover the importance of spending money wisely and recognize a budget as a valuable tool. They create personal budgets based on saving and lifestyle goals and day-to-day situations.
Lesson One: Think Before You Spend
Students define what good money management is and why it is important. They discuss how setting financial goals and being an informed consumer will help them better manage their money.
Lesson Two: What is a Budget?
Students identify the components of a successful budget.
Lesson Three: Who Uses a Budget?
Students practice budgeting and learn how this tool can help them responsibly manage their daily finances.