March 22, 2010
Wealth Watchers in the Classroom
By Cindy Ivanac-Lillig
I had met a woman, Alice Wood, a couple of years ago here at the Bank in connection with our Money Smart Week program. She is an attorney, a small business woman, and an author. Her life story is both heart-breaking and inspiring. She has recently come out with a book, "Wealth Watchers," that documents not only her life story but also serves as a how-to for the popular tool she has come up with to help people manage their finances more effectively. As I read the book, I thought -- this could be a great classroom tool for anyone teaching personal finance!
It is a rather easy paradigm to picture, because most of us have heard of the program Weight Watchers. There is no special food, only a way to keep score. Her system works much the same way. At one point in her book she says something like -- this isn't easy, but it is simple, which made me laugh at loud. The concept is so simple; it basically requires that you journal all of your daily expenses and know what your daily limit is for disposable income.
Why is simple sometimes so hard?
Please let me know what you think -- I realize that there are many tools out there and I have by no means tried them all, but this just happened to cross my desk and I thought it was worth sharing!
Posted by Cindy at March 22, 2010 10:32 PM
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Thanks so much for commenting on the Wealth Watchers book. When we started working on this project I thought it would be for middle-aged women like me. But I was wrong. It turns out that men and women of all different ages have been interested in Wealth Watchers. We were also able to test the Wealth Watchers program in the classroom in CUSD 203 back in 2006. It went so well that Wealth Watchers is still used in their Consumer Ed classes. And the comments we've received from students are absolutely inspiring. I'm so happy to report that every Chicago Public High School student will receive a Wealth Watchers/Practical Money Skills Journal as part of Money Smart Week 2010 thanks to Visa USA. The program will reach nearly 116,000 students and it will be the largest initiative in the history of Money Smart Week.
I thought you might want to see a copy of a recent email that was sent to Dr. Helen Roberts by a UIC College Prep High School teacher who used our Wealth Watchers journals in his classroom:
Date: Fri, 12 Mar 2010 08:31:09 -0600
Subject: Thank you
From: Dan Saken
To: Helen Roberts
Hi Helen. I hope you are doing well. I wanted to send you a quick note of thanks again for the budget journals you donated to our class. Every sophomore kept track of their spending for an entire month and it was a great eye-opening experience for a number of them. I loved it when kids would tell me they would get weird looks from people when they would take their journals out of their pockets out in public, and some said their parents actually began getting an allowance just so they would have money to be responsible with. Many of them have even said that they will continue to keep their own budget journal outside of class, so it really was a wonderful tool to use in class. Thank you again. All the best.
10th Grade Social Studies Teacher
Head Boys Basketball/Baseball Coach
UIC College Prep
The LSV Campus of Noble Street Charter School
Cindy, thanks again for mentioning our work and for promoting financial literacy.
Wealth Watchers International
1111 S. Washington Street
Naperville, IL 60540
Posted by: Alice Wood at April 3, 2010 3:44 AM
Just wanted to give you a shout from the valley of the sun, great information. Much appreciated.
Posted by: Andrea at June 25, 2011 8:39 PM
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