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11 Surprisingly Common Student Money Misconceptions

By Brian Page Only 7% of high school students are financially literate. Fewer than 30% of adults report being offered financial education at school, college or the workplace. With limited places to turn for sound advice, many students have developed money misconceptions. Here are the 11 most common money misconceptions I’ve observed. 1. I will never be a millionaire. Most students do not believe it is very likely they will someday be millionaires. However, some quick math using a compound interest calculator reveals that a recent high school graduate who invests $7.50 a day in the market until age 65 would be a millionaire, assuming a return of the market average of 7%. 2. I can save what is left over at the end of the month. Research has found otherwise. Those who save first by making automatic savings deposits right from their paycheck save four times more than those…


Introducing the H&R Block Budget Challenge

Properly managing personal finances is critical to success in adulthood, and yet teenagers are woefully under-educated and under-informed when it comes to money matters. In response to this nationwide shortcoming, H&R Block founded Dollars & Sense to provide teens with financial management skills that will last throughout adulthood. Why the H&R Block Budget Challenge? During the 2014-2015 school year, H&R Block Dollars & Sense is focusing on budgeting, a skill that is frequently learned after costly mistakes. A recent study by H&R Block Dollars & Sense found that 57% of teens make purchases using their own money but only 17% maintain a budget. The H&R Block Budget Challenge is like a road test for financial management. Players learn how to time their student and auto loan payments, the consequences of being late on rent, how to stay under their credit limit and more, all through a 9-week online simulation. “America’s…


Meet Brian Page, Teacher and H&R Block Dollars & Sense Personal Finance Adviser

H&R Block Dollars & Sense is delighted to welcome Brian Page to the team as our personal finance adviser. Brian is a teacher at Ohio’s Reading High School, where he’s taught personal finance to teenagers for more than 10 years. His efforts and commitment to teen financial literacy and preparation have taken him far beyond the classroom, earning honors including National Educator of the Year (Milken Foundation and Ohio Department of Education), the William A Forbes award from the Council for Economic Education and Calvin K. Kazanjian Economics Foundation and being lauded by CNN Money as a “Money Hero.” Beyond his celebrated work at Reading High School, Brian also has worked in collaboration with the National Disability Institute to write financial literacy coursework for special education students. He was also a member of the U.S. President’s Advisory Council on Financial Capability Working Group and the Ohio Department of Education Financial…


How To Sign Up For Budget Challenge – Just For Parents

The H&R Block Budget Challenge is an online simulation that replicates real-world money management, designed to teach teens the ins and outs of receiving a paycheck, paying bills and saving for retirement. This school year, participants have the opportunity to win $3 million in student scholarships (up to $100,000 for a single student) and classroom grants. For more information on why teen financial education is a priority, click here. Registration for the H&R Block Budget Challenge is open now through February 6. It’s a classroom-focused initiative, so for your teen to play, you’ll need to go through their teacher. Here’s an email you can copy and paste to get the conversation started: Dear [name], As a parent who cares about personal finance education, I want to make sure you’ve heard about the H&R Block Budget Challenge. This school year, H&R Block is giving high school students and classrooms the opportunity…


Top 4 Back-to-School Budgeting Tips for Teens

With back-to-school shopping in full swing and a new school year around the corner, now is the perfect time to talk with your teenager about budgeting and saving. The conversation can be tricky, so we asked some of our favorite parent and teacher experts for their best tips. Check out these four brilliantly simple ideas for teaching students how to save money: 1.     Put your teen’s technology obsession to use: download a money-saving app like Red Laser for back-to-school shopping. “When back-to-school shopping, you can save money by making sure you are getting the best price possible for your items. The Red Laser app can help you save big on your student’s technology needs, dorm supplies and more.” –      Vicki Davis, Cool Cat Teacher 2.     Get your teen a prepaid credit card for back-to-school shopping. It’s a good way to test the waters before setting them up with a real…

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Teens Showcase the Importance of Financial Literacy at DECA ICDC

Highlighting the importance of financial literacy in a showcase of educational prowess, teams of high school students nationwide competed for more than $70,000 in college scholarships and cash prizes during the inaugural H&R Block Dollars & Sense Financial Literacy Promotion Project. Competitors created campaigns designed to educate their peers or the general public on critically important personal finance skills and demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of financial literacy. The finals were held May 4-6 at the DECA International Career Development Conference in Atlanta, Georgia. Amanda Guglielmo and Madison Light from South Forsyth High School in Cumming, Georgia won first place and each received a $5,000 scholarship. Second place went to Sarah Cadman, Keegan Tansey and Ashley Cain from Kingston CVI High School in Kingston, Ontario, who each received a $3,000 scholarship. In third place, taking home $2,000 scholarships each, were Jordyn Dunn, Brenna Franck and Brandon Schimming from Penta-Oak Harbor…


Teachers and Students Answer: How Big is a Billion?

Exactly how big IS a billion? Well, Emily McDonnell’s class figured it’s 15,432 years worth of lunch trays at Bonner Springs (Kan.) Elementary. The students of Billie Watson’s class at Annoor Academy in Knoxville, Tenn. determined it equals an hourly salary of $114,115.25 for every hour of every day for an entire year. For the sports and history buffs out there, Amanda Bowles’ students at East Coweta High School in Sharpsburg, Ga., determined that a billion pitches would be thrown over the course of 1,906 Major League Baseball seasons – or, enough to take our national pastime back to the Roman Empire of the second century! These brilliant takes are the grand prize winners of our “How Big is a Billion?” contest. Inspired by the H&R Block “Get Your Billion Back” commercials, we asked teachers and their students around the country to creatively illustrate the concept of $1 billion (the…


Teens and Personal Finance – Surprising Survey Results

At H&R Block Dollars & Sense, we’re constantly looking for new ways to help teach teens about personal finance. Our parents used to call it “knowing the value of a dollar,” but in today’s world managing finances can be a lot more complex. From applying for tax credits online to smartphone investing apps, some of us may not even feel qualified to talk to our own children, or our students, about money. That’s okay. At H&R Block Dollars & Sense, we work directly with parents, teachers, schools and teenagers to provide tips, tools and incentives to make the conversation about financial education much easier. And following the nearly five years of offering advice, grants and scholarships, we thought it was time to check in to see how they’re doing. In February of this year we surveyed over 1,000 teens ages 13-17 and found some surprising results. Whether you’re a teen,…


H&R Block Dollars & Sense Rewards Teachers Who Champion Personal Finance

As part of our ongoing commitment to teachers, H&R Block Dollars & Sense has partnered with WeAreTeachers to create a personal finance lesson plan contest. Any teacher who participates by submitting or downloading a lesson plan will receive a $15 discount on their 2013 tax preparation at a local H&R Block! Here’s how the contest works: teachers submit their best lesson plans on personal finance online. Ten finalists will be selected by a panel of teachers and Dollars & Sense staffers. Teachers with the top three lesson plans will divvy up $5,000 in classroom grants to fund ongoing personal finance education. Any teacher who wants to download one of these lesson plans can do so by visiting our contest page on or our Pinterest board. For more information or to submit a lesson plan, click here.


Introducing Scott Gamm: Family Finance Advisor

We’ve got news! The H&R Block Dollars & Sense team is pleased to announce our new Family Finance Advisor: Mr. Scott Gamm. Scott is an exceptionally accomplished college senior whose book, MORE MONEY, PLEASE: The Financial Secrets You Never Learned in School, has been helping young people grasp the basics of personal finance since April of this year. “This book puts the most important concepts into simple steps and understandable terms,” says Scott. “It’s written for young people, but has insights and advice for anyone who is looking to improve their money smarts.” Color us impressed — so impressed, we asked him to work with us. Scott has appeared on NBC’s “Today,” MSNBC, CNN, “Inside Edition” and all over the internet as a specialist in investing and personal finance. Whether you’re a teacher, a parent, or just a concerned citizen, stay tuned to the H&R Block Dollars & Sense Facebook page for Scott’s articles…