Featured Lesson Designer
Homeschooling gives parents the opportunity to help their children learn about handling finances in a Biblical way. Since real life is about much more than just academics, it would be prudent to include life skills such as business and financial knowledge. In this interview with Paul Vasy, who is the lesson designer of Personal Finance in Bite-Size Chunks, he shares how he started his own business and tips for teaching personal finance.
TOS: What led you to the world of business and finance?
Paul: My pathway took me along the bsiness route. Originally, I wanted to be an elementary teacher, but for one reason or another, I ended up going down the high school route, specializing in business education. Once I left the classroon and after talking the talk, I decided to go into game design.
TOS: How did CashCrunchGame get started?
Paul: In 2012, I moved to the United States and was considering teaching. I looked into teaching business in high schools in California, but they wanted me to do my teaching credential again. At that time, I already had twelve years of teaching experience, was a head of department, teacher trainer, and external examiner among other things. After that bit of news, CashCrunchGames was founded. I started to create board games, card games, and other resources using the skills that I had learned in the classroom.
TOS: How does the CashCrunchGames help children learn about finance and investing?
Paul: CashCrunchGames resources have been made to create an experience and make it about the user. We all remember stories that have been told to us. I have taken that concept and made the experiences about the students – the experiences are easily remembered, and it creates a discussion. The experience also allows for further concepts to be built on top of what the user has experienced. This makes learning easier and more engaging because it is more relatable. The concepts are also broken down into smaller points so that there is very little chance of any confusion. I also believe that if you cannot explain something to someone, you do not understand it.
TOS: Do you have any tips for parents who are interested in teaching personal finance to their children?
Paul: Yes! You use money every day and know more than you realize. Teach them the value of their money first, but do not go into too much detail initially. Make the concepts that you understand into a game. The idea is for them to ask you questions. It is not about lecturing but for them to discover. Here are a few activites for you. Get a Monopoly game and take out the money. Take enough money out of the box that covers your monthly income (or make a number up), then start making piles of money for your mortgage, car payment, electricity and water, groceries, savings, and don’t forget the children’s allowance. They can now see where Bank of Mum and Dad goes. When they ask for money, go back to the piles of money conversation, and say, “If you want this, I am going to take the money out of one of those piles.” It is far easier to say no because there is justification. You can then start talking about reducing the electricity and water bills if you want to go on vacation. The kids will come up with their own ways like “turn off the lights when they are not in the room.” If you are budgeting, get them to start looking at prices in a store. Have them cut out coupons so that they can see that effort can save money. Playing board games that handle money is a great way to start teaching personal finance.
TOS: Do you have any tips for high school students who are interested in starting their own business?
Paul: Find something you are passionate about since you will be living and breathing whatever you set up your business doing. Make sure you grasp your finances on a personal level first. If you cannot look after your finances, you will not be able to look after the finances of the business. Get in the habit of saving receipts so that you can claim against them later. Sometimes friends and family will not always give you honest feedback. You will hear “no” a lot, but do not be discouraged. There will always be people who want your product. You just have to find them. Be prepared to learn. The risk is high, but the rewards can be great.
TOS: Thank you for sharing these tips, Paul!
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