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NJCFE Member Hosts Financial Education Boot Camp

Friday, August 1, 2014   (0 Comments)
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New Jersey Coalition for Financial Education Member Hosts Financial Education Boot Camp


NJCFE Grants Liaison and Board of Director member Barbara O’Neill hosted a Financial Education Boot Camp on July 30 that focused on financial education for educators, providing counseling and materials for use in the classroom and the community. Gary Diggs, NJDOE Education Program Specialist and a regular speaker at NJCFE meetings, began the day thanking Affinity Credit Union, who sponsored the meeting space at the Raritan Valley Community College, and other sponsors such as the NJCFE and New Jersey Council for Economic Education for not only making the event a reality but contributing to the success of the event. Mr. Diggs provided the introduction for Dr. Barbara O’Neill.


Dr. O’Neill’s presentation titled, Financial Education Boot Camp 2014: Creating Financially Capable Students, focused on how to prepare students for the rigors of finance they will face later in life. The presentation began focusing on the need for educators to be financially educated, so that students can be educated. While most teachers have a concrete understanding of finance, most are not formally trained and are still uncomfortable with certain subject matter. Insurance, saving and investing were particularly foreign to most educators and highlight the need for continued training and education of New Jersey’s educators. Those in attendance were then given a rudimentary finance quiz to not only gauge the expertise of those in attendance, but to familiarize educators with a finance test students commonly receive. After the quiz, educators shared tools and techniques they use to assess and maintain their finances, with budget analysis and net-worth calculations being among the most popular.

After sharing personal financial techniques, online assessment tools and quizzes were made available by Dr. O’Neill, with topics ranging from Personal Health and Finance to Wise-Credit Management. In addition to these quizzes, a Financial Goal-Setting Worksheet was presented and made available, to provide educators with the means to help themselves and their students financially. Dr. O’Neill then focused on net worth and how to calculate it. After additional resources were distributed, wealth and cash flow became the topic. Here everything from fixed and variable expenses to positive and negative cash flow were examined. Finally, the activity section began and educators had to calculate net worth as well as cash flow.


Budgeting was the next topic on the agenda, and educators were provided with not only tangible resources for students but also given techniques and tools for budgeting more efficiently and effectively. After educators were taught how to properly create a budget, credit cards and taxes were addressed. Individual tax brackets and their affect were one particular sub-topic with educators learning how their tax bracket could affect donations come tax filing season. Financial ratios and formulas were also presented, particularly the taxable equivalent yield formula, which allows individuals to compare tax-exempt and taxable bonds. Insurance and retirement were the next subjects to be looked at and as before, educators were provided with not only information familiarizing them with the concepts and mathematics of the topic, but given concrete resources for students and themselves. For insurance, educators were given 2 worksheets which outline life insurance benefits (both available online).  Educators were informed on social security as well as referred to the Social Securities website,, which provides information and gives individuals a rough outline of the benefits they can expect. Finally, the second activity session began with educators having to look at actual retirement and social security documents and calculating their own retirement.


Next Dr. O’Neill focused on investment. Educators were first shown how to analyze and check their own investment performance before looking at different areas individuals could invest. Risk tolerance and asset allocation were presented and educators learned the risks and benefits associated with high-risk, high yield investments, such as the stock market, as well as low-risk, low-yield investments like the bond market.


Credit fraud and identity theft were analyzed next, focusing on everything from Ponzi Schemes to credit card theft. Educators were taught where fraud might occur and how to prevent it, as well as simple steps people can take to reduce the likelihood of fraud and or theft.

Finally, educators were shown the benefits of twitter and interactive media in educating students. Educators were shown first how to use twitter and the benefits of being able to communicate with like-minded individuals all over the country, to help students. Whether sharing ideas for the classroom or discussing trending financial topics with finance experts, educators learned twitter can be a useful tool in educating today’s students. In addition to twitter, educators were shown how to create interactive games and videos for use in the classroom. By creating PowerPoint and other games based on jeopardy or who wants to be a millionaire, students can learn valuable financial skills while having fun and being engaged in the topic. Dr. O’Neill also demonstrated videos she had made, focusing on finance, so educators could make their own for students.


Following the event, Dr. O’Neill and Mr. Diggs thanked all the attendees and reminded everyone that the event offered up to 5 hours of professional education or CEUs.

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