Lesson: Wealth Not Cash

Wealth Not Cash – FiCycle Lesson

'Wealth not cash' is a detailed plan for a lesson that introduces students to the concept of wealth. In accordance with our vision for finance education, we believe that understanding wealth should be the foundation of any personal finance course. These materials give teachers the tools to start this foundational work with their students.

A fundamental concept in finance, students are taught to understand their financial well-being in terms of wealth, rather than simply cash. Throughout the lesson, a series of activities and applications are used to entrench this new way of thinking about finance. In addition, the lesson uses the accounting equations to get a precise mathematical model of these concepts, and students must critically apply them in varying contexts in order to deepen their understanding.

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Essential Questions:

  1. Why is wealth a better measure of financial well-being than cash balance?
  2. How can the accounting equations, and the concepts of income, expense, asset and liability, help me to measure and better understand my wealth?

Standards Covered:

Math: CCSS Jumpstart Skills National Standards for Financial Literacy
  • A-CED.1
  • A-CED.2
  • A-CED.4
  • A-REI.1
  • A-REI.10
  • A-SSE.1
  • Spending and Saving: Standards 1 and 4
  • Credit and Debit: Standards 1, 2 and 3
  • Investing: Standards 1, 2, and 3
  • Financial Decision Making: Standards 2, 4, 5 and 8
  • Earning Income: 12.1, 12.3
  • Buying goods and services: 12.3
  • Saving: 12.1

Lesson Overview:

  1. The introductory activity (worksheet 1) presents students with a scenario to get them thinking about how the amount of cash you have isn't always the best indicator of your financial situation.
  2. Students are introduced to the concept of wealth (Information sheet 1, Worksheet 2). Wealth is defined in terms of four key concepts: income, expense, asset and liability. Students must understand and apply these concepts.
  3. The whole class participates in a card game (A-L-I-E Activity) to apply their understanding to difficult cases and to facilitate a discussion relating what they've learned to their latent financial knowledge.
  4. Students use the net worth equation (Information sheet 2, Worksheet 3) to get a precise mathematical measure of wealth.
  5. Finally, students apply what they've learned to a complex, realistic financial scenario (Exit Slip 2), so they can appreciate the real world applicability of these concepts.

Wealth Not Cash Packet Contents:

  1. Lesson Plan: This provides a teacher with a step by step guide to teaching these materials.
  2. Student Materials: These are everything students will need for the lesson: this includes worksheets, information sheets, exit slips, and a quiz.
  3. Student Materials – Teacher Version: This is a copy of the student materials annotated with an answer key, and additional instructions on guiding students through specific activities.
  4. Lesson Plan Slides: This set of slides may be used as an aide when teaching the lesson.
  5. Supplemental Materials: Additional materials are available to provide further practice for students who need it, including alternative activities to fit different learning styles.
To download the lesson materials, please enter your email address.