HSFPP Stories of Impact

Appreciating Presents Takes on a New Meaning

HSFPP Stories of Impact

real teachers real stories

by Teja Phillips, Mathematics Instructor, Philadelphia, Pa.

This year, my entire personal finance class is made up of high school seniors. When we were in the module on investing, I remember teaching lesson 4-2: How Investing Works.

One of my students, Gabriella, seemed particularly interested and intrigued. When I assigned the 4.4 activity, and showed them the chart that clearly listed the advantages of investing at an early age, it was almost like a literal light bulb went off in Gabriella's head. She began to ask question after question faster than I could answer! After teaching the class everything from buying stocks and bonds, to the importance and benefits of delayed gratification, I knew that even if no one else got it, Gabby did!

After class, she told me that her 18th birthday was a month away and she was going to ask her parents and grandparents to go to treasurydirect.gov and buy her government bonds for her birthday instead of the new phone and other gifts that she had asked for. She also told me that she was planning to begin taking money from each of her paychecks and, instead of just putting it into her savings account, buy stock in Amazon.

She was more excited than I had ever seen a 17-year-old about the prospects of investing, and what it would yield for her in years to come. Gabriella left class that day with a contagious excitement.

Sure enough, a month later, she told me that her parents and her grandfather had not only purchased government bonds as gifts for her 18th birthday, but they were so delighted that she had the maturity and forethought to consider her future that they each bought her a $1,000 bond, which was much more than the face value of any tangible gift she would have gotten.

Gabriella's excitement and initiative actually encouraged me as the teacher to give my own children bonds for their birthdays from now on, rather than depreciating gifts that they probably won't even remember in years to come.