The ABCs of Finance: How this Ontario teacher prepares her students for the real world

Did your school days teach you about leasing a car, the pitfalls of a payday loan, or the best investment?

Amy Smith certainly didn’t, and that’s why now, as a math teacher at College Avenue Secondary School in Woodstock, Ontario, she’s invited various professionals with financial know-how — including a real estate agent, a mortgage broker, a financial adviser, and a car saleswoman — around to talk to their students.

“I realized I didn’t learn that,” Smith said. “I don’t want my students to have this mindset like, ‘Oh, I’m signing a paper, but I really don’t understand what I’m signing for.'”

Smith teaches her students about compound interest, investing, and credit scores with the help of community experts. She focuses on buying and leasing cars with her 9th grade students.

“I know when I was younger I had no idea about leasing and owning a car,” Smith said. “I had questions like, ‘Why would I want bi-weekly payments instead of monthly payments?'”

Among other things, the students learned about mortgages, financial investments and tenant rights. (Submitted by Amy Smith)

Next week, a car saleswoman will spend some time with her students to walk them through the ins and outs of car ownership.

Smith, who began teaching in 2012 and is completing her freshman year of high school, has also worked with her students to research tenant rights, and she commissioned them to interview tenants and landlords about their experiences.

Never too early to save

Smith’s 12th grade students learned about renting and home ownership. Despite the hot housing market, she believes her students can still find a way into the market after they graduate as long as they start saving now.

“It takes a lot of time and budget,” she said.

Trish Catton, a real estate agent from London, Ontario, spoke to Smith’s class of 12 this week.

Trish Catton, a real estate agent from London, Ontario, spoke to Smith’s 12th grade students about the pros and cons of buying a home. (Lindsey Piette/Angelic Images Photography)

“I just boiled it down to the basics,” she said, noting that they talked about down payments, inflation, equity, and planning home buying through various case studies.

“There was a kid, he was so cute, he wants to be an investor,” Catton said. “By the time he’s 23, he wants to own his first home and then buy one every year.” Catton said she gave the student a copy The multi-million dollar real estate investor by Gary Keller.

“Anything we can do for our kids beyond the curriculum is so beneficial and awesome,” she said.

“They’re in great spirits,” Smith said. who is proud that her students now understand the difference between a good and bad credit score.

“You know who can get a mortgage and who can’t,” she said.

“I’m very excited to see where these kids will go and … if it will make them even more financially stable than others.”

About Bradley J. Bridges

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