It’s May. It’s the end of the school year. It’s graduation time. Summer-itis is taking over.

If you’re a teacher (as I know some of you are), you may have had the thought recently, “what can I do to keep these kids occupied (errr…out of trouble) for these last few days or weeks?”

Well, if this is you, I have a recommendation: Build Your Stax. I may be a bit biased in this suggestion…I am a financial planner after all…but, nonetheless, it’s a great way to introduce older kids (or even adults, for that matter) to some invaluable life lessons around personal finance and money management through an interactive, gaming experience.

It’s a free, online game that teaches kids how to invest through the experience of making 20 years of investment decisions in….20 minutes. The goal is to build the most wealth over time while interactively competing against the computer and/or classmates. Play it alone or play it in a group, but, for best results, play it repetitively.

Kids will learn why having an emergency fund is important as “life happens” via unexpected surprises, like hospital bills, loan repayments, wedding expenses, etc. They will learn that diversification matters in protecting and growing your wealth by building a portfolio consisting of savings, CD’s, stocks, bonds, and/or index funds. They will learn how compounding interest works and how crucial it is to building wealth over time. They will learn that life can be unpredictable and so can the stock market. But most importantly, they will learn that patience most often triumphs over emotion in creating wealth.

Give it a try…with your students, with your family, or even by yourself. Play, learn, adapt, then play it again!

Here’s what caught my eye this week:

MONEY: Financial Superpowers (A Wealth of Common Sense)
“While trying to boil down the many reasons for Warren Buffett’s long-term success, Alan Greenspan once told the Oracle, “Warren, it strikes me that if you did nothing else you never sell. That is, if you can grit your teeth through and just disregard short-term declines in the market or even long-term declines in the market, you will come out well.”

MONEY: How does the stock market work? (TED) *VIDEO*
“In the 1600s, the Dutch East India Company employed hundreds of ships to trade goods around the globe. In order to fund their voyages, the company turned to private citizens to invest money to support trips in exchange for a share of the profits. In doing so, they unknowingly invented the world’s first stock market. So how do companies and investors use the market today?”

LIFE: PARENTS: Don’t Sacrifice Yourselves On The Altar Of Your Children’s Education (Tim Maurer)
“Parents have sacrificed their financial futures on the altar of their children’s education. Fueled by easy federal money and self-interested colleges, the result is a student loan crisis that appears already to be eclipsing the catastrophic proportions of mortgage indebtedness leading up to the financial collapse of 2008.”

Simplicity, Clarity & Purpose in Money & Life

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