JA Personal Finance®

JA Personal Finance® focuses on earning money; spending money wisely through budgeting; saving and investing money; using credit cautiously; and protecting one''s personal finances.

Following participation in the program, students will be able to recognize the fundamental elements of smart personal finances. They also will be able to apply those elements to a personal financial plan that allows them to set specific goals for their lifelong financial needs and desired quality of life.

JA Personal Finance® targets high school students. It is composed five sessions, each 45 minutes long. Materials are packaged in a self-contained kit that includes detailed plans for the volunteer and materials for 32 students.

JA Personal Finance® enhances students’ learning of the following concepts and skills:

  • Concepts – Budget, Budgeting, Compound interest, Consumer protection, Credit, Credit cards, Credit reports and scores, Debt, Earning, Education, Expense, Fixed expenses, Fraud, Identity theft, Income, Insurance, Interest, Investing, Lifetime earnings, Opportunity cost, Personal finances, Pay yourself first, Principal, Risk, Risk management, Saving money, Savings, Variable expenses
  • Skills – Analyzing information, Categorizing data, Creativity, Decision making, Evaluating alternatives, Graphic presentation, Oral, visual, and written communication, Prioritizing information, Read for understanding, Using a timeline, Working in pairs, teams, and groups

Program Components

The key learning objectives listed beside each activity state the skills and knowledge students will gain.

Session One: Plan to Earn

Students learn that healthy personal finances take planning and managing. They begin to analyze major life events and issues that have financial implications.

Session Objectives:

  • Recognize the role income plays in personal finances
  • Evaluate the effect their educational choices have on lifetime earnings
  • Describe the importance of planning in making financial decisions

Session Two: Saving for Life

Students analyze the role saving plays in their personal finances and how having a healthy savings plan is necessary in all phases of life.

Session Objectives:

  • Recognize high-dollar items and unexpected costs that require savings
  • Review key concepts related to successfully saving money

Session Three: The Budget Game

Students investigate budgeting and why many people have difficulty staying within a budget.

Session Objectives:

  • Recognize the importance of making and keeping a spending plan
  • Consider the wide range of expenditures that might make up a monthly budget

Session Four: Credit Choices

Students analyze the importance of credit and the outcomes of wise and poor use of credit.

Session Objectives:

  • Recognize the importance of credit as part of personal finances
  • Express the need to make good credit decisions to avoid costly consequences

Session Five: Savvy Consumer

Students work in groups to create public service announcements to inform each other of risks to their finances and identify ways to protect themselves from potential losses.

Session Objectives:

  • Recognize potential risks to their personal finances
  • Describe appropriate preventative methods to limit potential losses

All JA programs are designed to support the skills and competencies identified by the Partnership for 21st Century Skills. These programs also augment school-based, work-based, and connecting activities for communities with school-to-work initiatives.

For additional information on this and all Junior Achievement programs, please visit