JA Finance Park® - Virtual

Taking students deep into the world of business, JA Finance Park® is a month-long economics education program that introduces personal financial planning and career exploration.

At the culmination of this program, students visit JA Finance Park, a virtual community, to put into practice what they''ve learned about economic options and the principles of budgeting. Assisted by their teachers and a staff of trained volunteers, they have the opportunity to actually develop and commit to a personal budget. The program includes in-school activities, the JA Finance Park simulation, and a post-simulation assessment.

JA Finance Park® enhances students'' learning of the following concepts and skills:

  • Concepts – Banking, Benefits, Budgets, Buying, Careers, Choices, Consumers, Credit, Debt, Exchange, Expenses, Income, Interest rates, Investments, Government, Money, Needs, Opportunity costs, Risk, Salary, Saving, Savings, Scarcity, Social Security, Taxes, Wages, Wants
  • Skills - Active listening, Analysis, Applying information, Brainstorming, Budgeting, Cause and effect, Charting, Comparing, Computation, Critical thinking, Data collection, Decision making, Filling out forms, Following directions, Graphing, Interpersonal communication, Interpreting data, Listening, Math computation, Negotiation, Observation, Planning, Problem solving, Reading, Research, Role-playing, Self-reflection, Spending, Taking responsibility, Teamwork, Writing, Verbal communication

Program Components

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

Unit One: Financial Institutions

Students recognize the role of financial institutions and the various services they provide. Through case study, games, graphing, and other group activities, students understand the advantages of saving, investing, and using credit wisely.

Session Objectives:

  • Identify services provided by financial institutions
  • Explain debit cards and their use
  • Explain the advantages and disadvantages of using credit
  • Evaluate the risks and benefits of saving and investing
  • Identify the impact interest rates have on investment value
  • Read stock quotations and determine stock value

Unit Two: Taxes and My Salary

Students learn what taxes are, why they are important, what they are used for, and how they affect income and expenses. They discover what is meant by net monthly income and how net monthly income is calculated.

Session Objectives:

  • Define taxes and explain their purpose
  • Distinguish the differences among sales, income, and property taxes, and the purpose for each
  • Identify ways taxes affect everyone
  • Identify the basic principles of Social Security
  • Determine net monthly income

Unit Three: Budgeting

Students learn the importance of creating and maintaining a personal budget. Students create their own personal budgets and evaluate other budgets through case-study analysis.

Session Objectives:

  • Explain who uses a budget and why
  • Identify the components of a successful budget
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of sample budgets
  • Develop spending plans
  • Practice budget decision making

Unit Four: Preparing for the JA Finance Park Simulation

Students prepare for the JA Finance Park simulation by conduction pricing research, tracking stock prices, and receiving job assignments. They practice budgeting skills by evaluating hypothetical life situations and prioritizing budget items.

Session Objectives:

  • Create a personal budget
  • Calculate net monthly income (NMI)
  • Conduct pricing research
  • Assess investments
  • Receive a business assignment and account number (site

Unit Five: The Simulation

Students experience the JA Finance Park simulation where they apply classroom learning by making important spending decisions and maintaining a balanced budget.

Session Objectives:

  • Create a typical family budget using hypothetical life situations
  • Use percentages to calculate minimum and maximum spending allowances
  • Evaluate stock holdings

Unit Six: After the Simulation

Students participate in a reflective assessment of what they accomplished during the JA Finance Park simulation. The assessment includes feedback from parents/guardians.

Session Objectives:

  • Reflect with their teachers on their simulation experience

Supplemental Unit Seven: Career Goals

Students identify their abilities, interests, work preferences, and values. Based on their newly acquired financial knowledge, students consider their career goals and what steps they must take to achieve them. They investigate the training they will need for their career of choice.

Session Objectives:

  • Differentiate among abilities, interests, work preferences, and values
  • Identify their personal characteristics
  • Rate their abilities, interests, and work preferences
  • Identify their career interests
  • Perform career choice research
  • Write a letter of application to a prospective employer

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