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Introducing high school students to basic personal finances to help them design their future

Photo of Namita Simha
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Who is the target audience for your idea and how does it reimagine the cost of college?

Our target audience are high school students and freshman in colleges. We aim to create opportunities to manage finances and investments by conducting collaborative workshops with students, parents and experts in the financial sector such as bank executives.

Money Hacks aims at empowering students to make wise financial decisions. Students are asked questions to help them envision their futures, building realistic budgets based on their needs and desires and the financial potential of their investments. Then, students are encouraged to track their expenses for a week to assess the plausibility of their findings. In summary, students decide what they want their lives to look like, determine the price of their degrees, estimate their earning potential, and perform cost-benefit analysis on their educational investments.  

We will collaborate with banks, schools, and parents to create a way for students to manage a budget themselves for a week. We will also guide parents in offering a practice loan to their students, so that they can get the experience of paying a loan back with interest. This perspective will support students in making practical decisions.

Here is a brief narrative

Our Persona: Abby, lives in Brooklyn, NY. Spends time in the evenings attending Money Hacks workshop at school a few times in a month, is conscious about her decisions and wants to have the least amount of debt when she graduates.

Abby's friend: Sarah, also lives in Brooklyn, NY. Loves having fun every evening with friends, loves following latest fancy trends but thinks planning finance is boring!

Image: Journey Map

To help Abby and many students like her, we created Money Hacks, a workshop through an integrated website that helps students and their parents in planning required finances and make better decisions for higher education and ensure reduced cost of college.

Here is the link of the website.

What early, lightweight experiment can you try out in your own community to find out if the idea will meet your expectations?

We conducted a pilot workshop with undergrad and grad students of NYU Tandon School of Engineering. Students felt that the content was important and relevant to high school students in choosing a degree to invest in. They were impressed by the packaging of the website, but they felt that linked external tools needed to be visually consistent. With more time, we will build our own tools to simplify the experience. A video of the pilot workshop is attached.

What skills, input or guidance from the OpenIDEO community would be most helpful in building out or refining your idea?

We request experts from the finance sectors to provide feedback about our project and let us know how best we can enhance this.

This idea emerged from

  • A group brainstorm
  • A student collaboration

Are you interested in the Path to Pitching track we've developed for this challenge?

  • No

Attachments (1)


Glimpses from Money Hacks Pilot Workshop


Join the conversation:

Photo of Bikram Saha

Hey Namita,

I like the idea. The idea of empowering an individual to make the appropriate financial decision and the cause for investment in alignment with their career pursuit makes the journey worthwhile. It also makes the individual motivate to chose the right courses that is relevant in the marketplace, have the potential to get a good return on their invested wealth and have "option" value.  I looked an website and I think Money Hacks needs to create few tracking & analysis tools that helps a high schooler to view the effort put in towards personal finance management to make his future wealthier via focused, aligned, market driven education.

Junior Achievement have similar program they conduct in school for 6th to 8th graders, please take a look at it 

By the way I'm from Stern too, 1 more week left to graduate...

All the best,

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