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Pathway to Financial Success
in Schools

Empower high school students to take control of their financial futures. Educators can help students and their families explore comprehensive financial literacy resources to gain the tools and skills they need to make sound financial decisions and achieve their personal goals.

Learn more about the program
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Start Your Journey to Financial Success

Take your students on a financial literacy journey this semester with a turn-key suite of resources that will give them the skills and habits they need to be financially successful when they leave your classroom. These self-contained financial literacy units are crafted for flexible use as single-class learning experiences or thematic units. Select a unit below to view more information.

Unit 1

Being Financially Responsible

Learn how to manage money wisely. These resources will provide a strong foundation for building a financially responsible future.   

Explore Unit 1 Topics and Assets

  • Topic 1

    Imagining Your Financial Future

    What does the future hold for you? How will your goals change over time? Use this introduction to personal goal setting to begin creating your vision for the future and taking steps to achieve it.

    Topic 1

    Imagining Your Financial Future

    LearnVest

    Resource Summary

    After answering a series of questions - everything from what kind of vehicle they want to have to who will watch their kids - students are given a cost for their lifestyles and an approximate annual income needed to support those lifestyles.

    FDIC’s Money Smart for Young People

    Resource Summary

    Students determine personal and financial goals and develop financial plans. (Free login required to download.)

    American Institute of Certified Public Accountant’s Feed the Pig

    Resource Summary

    Best practices for setting goals, determining milestones, and developing good money habits are shared on this site.

  • Topic 2

    Setting Smart Goals

    What are your financial goals? How can you increase your chances of achieving those goals? Make connections between personal and financial goals and reinforce why people should set financial goals.

    Topic 2

    Setting Smart Goals

    University of Arizona’s Take Charge Today

    Resource Summary

    Students explore their goals for the future, what decisions in life are goal-worthy, and how goal setting can help with money management. After learning about and practicing writing SMART goals, students learn the importance of tracking progress towards a goal. (Free verified educator login required to access.)

    National Endowment for Financial Education

    Resource Summary

    After brainstorming situations in which they might spend more than $100, students discuss the consequences of NOT having goals. Students use the Money Management Workbook and create SMART goals - first for fictional characters and then for themselves. (Free verified educator login required to access.)

    StickK

    Resource Summary

    Websites and apps such as StickK allow users to set goals, track progress, and get support.

    Edutopia

    Resource Summary

    Not all goals come true, but there is a great deal to learn from failed attempts. This playlist of short videos offers ways to learn from one’s failures.

  • Topic 3

    Examine Money Habits

    What are your current habits when it comes to money? Are they helping or preventing your future financial success? Explore current financial habits, how they may impact your future, and how you can reframe habits towards success.

    Topic 3

    Examine Money Habits

    National Endowment for Financial Education

    Resource Summary

    Individuals share videos about their careless spending and impulse purchases.

    National Endowment for Financial Education

    Resource Summary

    After answering 12 questions, users find out if they are a pathfinder, trooper, nomad or tenderfoot and learn about financial identities.

    LearnVest

    Resource Summary

    This self-assessment helps students figure out their beliefs about money.

    American Institute of Certified Public Accountant’s Feed the Pig

    Resource Summary

    Habits take time and effort to change. This resource provides suggestions for improving on a variety of money habits.

  • Topic 4

    Budgeting for Success

    How does developing a budget help you manage your money? Learn how to build a budget and harness tools to help you avoid pitfalls along the way.

    Topic 4

    Budgeting for Success

    Utah State University Extension

    Resource Summary

    Students learn the value of using a budget in this hands-on activity.

    Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency

    Resource Summary

    After entering income and expenses, this calculator determines whether a budget is balanced.

    Financial Entertainment

    Resource Summary

    Students serve as the choreographer and financial manager for Angel Alvarez, a competitive dancer trying to dance and save her way to LA.

    University of Arizona’s Take Charge Today

    Resource Summary

    In this lesson, students complete a spending plan for the Brown family and give them advice. The lesson includes a spending plan template in Excel (Free verified educator login required to access.)

  • Topic 5

    Spending Wisely

    How can you make informed spending decisions? Explore resources to track personal spending, differentiating between wants and needs, and making informed spending decisions.

    Topic 5

    Spending Wisely

    FDIC’s Money Smart for Young People

    Resource Summary

    Students learn that financial recordkeeping is a sound financial practice, prioritize wants and needs, and develop a budget. (Free login required to download.)

    University of Arizona’s Take Charge Today

    Resource Summary

    This lesson begins with students comparing store brand and name brand items and then teaches them to make informed purchases. (Free verified educator login required to access.)

    National Endowment for Financial Education

    Resource Summary

    This flowchart provides a process for determining whether or not to buy something.

    Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

    Resource Summary

    In this lesson, students learn about advertising in history and the impact of advertising in modern day.

    Federal Trade Commission

    Resource Summary

    Today’s teens are influenced by more than just advertising and peers. Online influences can play a major role in buying decisions. The Federal Trade Commission offers tips about online influencers.

Unit 2

Using Financial Services

The number and scope of services offered by banks and other financial institutions are different now and seem to grow by the day. These resources will provide insight into this growing landscape to safely and efficiently achieve financial goals.

Explore Unit 2 Topics and Assets

  • Topic 1

    Understanding Financial Institutions

    How can banks and credit unions help you achieve your financial goals? Use these resources to explore the various types of services financial institutions offer.

    Topic 1

    Understanding Financial Institutions

    University of Arizona’s Take Charge Today

    Resource Summary

    After watching a video and discussing the benefits of depository institutions such as banks and credit unions, students help a character choose a financial institution. (Free verified educator login required to access.)

    American Institute of Certified Public Accountant’s Feed the Pig

    Resource Summary

    Visitors learn why people bank, what account types are available, how to automate payments and savings, and the importance of avoiding fees.

    FDIC’s Money Smart for Young People

    Resource Summary

    These podcasts inform listeners about the basics of banking and how checking and savings accounts work.

    Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

    Resource Summary

    This 5-minute video explains a variety of banking alternatives including payday lenders, pawn brokers, and check cashers and considers the costs and benefits of using these alternatives.

  • Topic 2

    Deciding Where and How to Bank

    What factors should students consider when selecting a financial institution? Learn how to compare features and costs of services offered by financial institutions.

    Topic 2

    Deciding Where and How to Bank

    Nerdwallet

    Resource Summary

    This article explores factors to consider when selecting a financial institution.

    FDIC’s Money Smart for Young People

    Resource Summary

    In this lesson, students conduct a comparative analysis of different financial institutions and explain the differences between checking and savings accounts. (Free login required to download.)

    Council for Economic Education’s EconEdLink

    Resource Summary

    Answering questions on this worksheet helps students consider six key criteria for selecting a financial institution.

  • Topic 3

    Opening New Accounts

    What financial products will you need? How do you open an account at a financial institution? These resources can help students determine what financial products they might need and what information is needed to open an account.

    Topic 3

    Opening New Accounts

    Next Gen Personal Finance

    Resource Summary

    This complete unit plan includes lessons, activities, and projects on checking basics, online and mobile banking, selecting a checking account, and checking alternatives. (Portions available in Spanish.)

    Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

    Resource Summary

    Students follow along with a chat between Katrina and a bank representative about opening a bank account. (Portions available in Spanish.)

  • Topic 4

    Using Mobile Banking

    How can you safely bank from your phone? Explore common online and mobile banking features, and learn how to prioritize personal mobile banking needs.

    Topic 4

    Using Mobile Banking

    Federal Trade Commission

    Resource Summary

    Students learn how to protect their finances when banking online.

    National Public Radio (NPR)

    Resource Summary

    National Public Radio explains how people in Kenya are using mobile banking to improve their economic well-being.

    How Stuff Works

    Resource Summary

    This site explains how mobile banking started and what happens behind the scenes of mobile banking transactions.

  • Topic 5

    Making Everyday Purchases

    What is the difference between using cash, debit, checks, and credit? Understand the costs and benefits of using various methods of payments for everyday purchases.

    Topic 5

    Making Everyday Purchases

    NEFE’s High School Financial Planning Program

    Resource Summary

    In this lesson, students consider ways to pay for items without using cash and investigate various financial apps. Cashier checks, money orders, and wire transfers are included as methods of payment. (Free verified educator login required to access.)

    National Endowment for Financial Education

    Resource Summary

    This site explains various payment options including checks, debit cards, credit cards, and more.

    Time

    Resource Summary

    Using a smartphone to pay is new to many people. Students learn what to consider before using phones as a way to pay.

Unit 3

Financing Your Future

For many young people, the path to higher education can be a daunting one with long lists of deadlines to meet and forms to complete. Use these tools to map out the journey for your students and deftly maneuver through higher education financing options.

Explore Unit 3 Topics and Assets

  • Topic 1

    Exploring Earning Potential

    How does education and training impact future earning potential? Understand the relationship between education, training, and lifetime earnings.

    Topic 1

    Exploring Earning Potential

    Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City

    Resource Summary

    In this lesson, students learn about the relationship between human capital (education and training) and income potential and discuss factors to consider when deciding on a career path.

    Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta

    Resource Summary

    This infographic compares how long it takes people with different education levels to earn a million dollars. It also shows the impact education has on both unemployment and weekly earnings.

    CNN Money

    Resource Summary

    Students find out how much they would need to earn if they moved to a different part of the country.

  • Topic 2

    Weighing Your Career Options

    How do you pick a career? Examine factors students might consider when selecting a career or employer, such as potential earnings, job availability, opportunities for advancement, and education requirements.

    Topic 2

    Weighing Your Career Options

    U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics

    Resource Summary

    Students can access up-to-date information on current job trends including articles and graphic displays of data.

    U.S. Department of Labor

    Resource Summary

    This website allows students to learn about careers by searching, browsing by category, or completing an interest survey. (Also available in Spanish.)

    National Public Radio

    Resource Summary

    What are the chances a job you want will be done by a machine 20 years from now? Students discover the probability and learn what factors influence the answer. Spoiler alert: The chance of high school teachers being replaced by machines is calculated at 0.8%!

    University of Arizona’s Take Charge Today

    Resource Summary

    In this hands-on lesson, students discuss their perceptions of certain jobs and then independently research a career of interest. Students report back in small groups. (Free verified educator login required to access.)

    U.S. Department of Defense

    Resource Summary

    Students interested in military service can explore information about military careers.

  • Topic 3

    Choosing Your Path After High School

    What education and/or training will you need to achieve your personal career goal? Use these resources to prepare students to develop an education and career plan.

    Topic 3

    Choosing Your Path After High School

    FDIC’s Money Smart for Young People

    Resource Summary

    This lesson helps students identify career options the education and/or training they will need. (Free login required to download.)

    Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

    Resource Summary

    Students learn how one person compares jobs and considers the return on investment of higher education.

    U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics

    Resource Summary

    Information on duties, education and training, pay, and the outlook for hundreds of occupations are available through this federal government website.

    Discovery Education

    Resource Summary

    Students can take virtual field trips and meet individuals performing a wide range of jobs.

  • Topic 4

    Financing Further Education

    What options are available to finance education and training after high school? Explore various financing options including scholarships, grants, loans, work study, apprenticeships, and military service.

    Topic 4

    Financing Further Education

    Next Gen Personal Finance and McKinney

    Resource Summary

    Playing this game helps students learn about the issues involved with paying for higher education. This worksheet can be used to gather student insight.

    Oregon GearUp

    Resource Summary

    Checklists are available to download based upon their grade in school that help students plan for higher education. (Also available in Spanish.)

    Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

    Resource Summary

    This interactive infographic and the linked videos help students learn more about financial aid.

    Next Gen Personal Finance

    Resource Summary

    This unit includes multiple lessons, activities, and projects focused on paying for college. (Portions available in Spanish.)

    NEFE’s High School Financial Planning Program

    Resource Summary

    Students can explore this infographic that divides paying for college into three categories: free money (grants and scholarships), your money (savings, work-study, and jobs), and their money (loans).

  • Topic 5

    Understanding Education Financing Options

    How do you compare education financing options and make an informed choice? Explore financial aid offers to differentiate between loans and grants/scholarships, and understand specific provisions such as loan terms, associated GPA requirements, and duration of aid.

    Topic 5

    Understanding Education Financing Options

    U.S. News and World Report

    Resource Summary

    Understanding financial aid award letters isn’t always easy. This interactive infographic explains the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau’s Shopping Sheet with short video clips detailing various sections.

    FDIC’s Money Smart for Young People

    Resource Summary

    This lesson focuses on student loan management, different college financial aid choices, and the relationship between earning potential of a degree and its cost. (Free login required to download.)

    Junior Achievement and PWC

    Resource Summary

    Using the app or website, students explore careers, the education needed, and the costs of obtaining that education. If they complete the calculator, they can examine the return on investment, too.

Unit 4

Getting Paid

Following one’s passions can result in getting the job you’ve always dreamed of, but what are the other factors that your students need to consider? This unit will provide students with the tools they’ll need to navigate the working world–both before and after they’ve landed that perfect position. 

Explore Unit 4 Topics and Assets

  • Topic 1

    Preparing for Work

    How can you get the job you want? Use these tools to understand the job-search process, including networking, research and preparation of a resume, cover letter, and job application.

    Topic 1

    Preparing for Work

    NEFE’s High School Financial Planning Program

    Resource Summary

    After thinking about what they see themselves doing in ten years, students divide into small groups to investigate trends which impact job growth and then work independently to research occupations. (Free verified educator login required to access.)

    University of Arizona’s Take Charge Today

    Resource Summary

    In this lesson, students learn about ways to get a job and spend time exploring cover letters, resumes, and job applications. (Free verified educator login required to access.)

    Read.Write.Think.

    Resource Summary

    Students enter personal information to build either a chronological or a functional resume. At the conclusion, resumes can be saved, printed, or emailed, and students are given the opportunity to compose a cover letter.

    CommonSense Media

    Resource Summary

    In this lesson, students explore the online presence of students applying for college admission and discuss how their digital footprints could impact their admission offers.

  • Topic 2

    Calculating Different Types of Pay

    What is the difference between earning a salary, tips, commission, or other type of pay? Explore various jobs and how different forms of payment may impact earnings.

    Topic 2

    Calculating Different Types of Pay

    University of Arizona’s Take Charge Today

    Resource Summary

    In this lesson, students compare different methods of employee payment, analyze wage deductions, interpret a pay stub, and explain how being employed can provide additional benefits. (Free verified educator login required to access.)

    U.S. Department of Labor

    Resource Summary

    Students learn how the minimum wage varies from one state to another.

  • Topic 3

    Comparing Job Offers

    What should you look for in a job offer? Use these tools to explore income and non-income factors, such as insurance, flexibility, and personal satisfaction when considering a job.

    Topic 3

    Comparing Job Offers

    Fidelity Investments

    Resource Summary

    Students enter information about a current job and a potential job to weigh the costs and benefits of making a change.

    TEDEd

    Resource Summary

    This video from TEDEd considers the role of passion in choosing a job. After watching, students can answer questions and dig deeper with links to additional resources.

    CalXML

    Resource Summary

    Students input information about wages, time off, and retirement benefits to calculate total compensation.

  • Topic 4

    Paying Taxes

    Why is money taken out of your paycheck? How do you benefit from paying taxes? Examine parts of a paycheck and typical deductions for taxes and benefits along with the types and purposes of taxes withheld.

    Topic 4

    Paying Taxes

    Internal Revenue Service (IRS)

    Resource Summary

    With 38 complete lessons and numerous simulations and tutorials, this robust teaching tool includes sections for both teachers and students on the “why’s” and the “how’s” of taxes.

    Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

    Resource Summary

    Know Your Dough and ‘W’ is for Wages, W4, and W2 are the two lessons in this unit that focus on understanding how people are paid and the impact of taxes.

    FDIC’s Money Smart for Young People

    Resource Summary

    This lesson focuses on understanding elements of a paycheck, the impact of taxes and exemptions, and calculating gross and net income. (Free login required to download.)

    Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

    Resource Summary

    Students can follow along as Bianca gives Luis advice on how to complete his 1040EZ  via text message.

    American Institute of Certified Public Accountant’s Feed the Pig

    Resource Summary

    Why we pay taxes, how to pay them without penalty, and ways to avoid overpaying them are some of the concepts students can learn from this site.

  • Topic 5

    Creating Your Own Job

    Could you be an entrepreneur some day? Use these resources to understand entrepreneurship and the entrepreneurial mindset.

    Topic 5

    Creating Your Own Job

    Northwestern Mutual’s The Mint

    Resource Summary

    Students answer a series of questions to find out if they have what it takes to become an entrepreneur.

    FDIC’s Money Smart for Young People

    Resource Summary

    In this lesson, students investigate starting and maintaining a business. (Free login required to download.)

About the Partnership

Pathway to Financial Success in Schools is an exciting new program from Discover Financial Services and Discovery Education designed to empower high school students to take control of their financial futures. Explore comprehensive financial literacy curriculum through resources and classroom and family extension activities. Educators, students, and their families can explore standards-aligned materials to give them the tools and skills they need to make good financial decisions and achieve their personal goals.