In the game of life, decisions, both large and small, will need to be made. From deciding on how much to spend on that fancy haircut for prom night or whether or not to attend a four-year college, these decisions will need strategic planning and some thoughtful understanding of what is in your own best self-interest.
Being an instructor for GTA this year, I have witnessed first-hand the struggle today’s teens face when it comes to handling financial decisions. In order to confront some of these economic struggles, it is imperative that the students have a basic understanding of how our economy really works.
One of the key parts of the curriculum happens in the very first class. We ask all students to take a blank sheet of paper and write down any big decisions they will be making in the next few months or any burning financial related questions they may have. These questions range from “What is a stock” to “How does a credit card work”. It is here where the learning begins as we weave our way to answering these questions while applying economic principles such as:
- Risk Tolerance
- Opportunity Cost
- Tragedy of the Commons
This class isn’t about what’s in a textbook written by somebody that probably lives on the other end of the country. This is about ingraining high school students with a basic understanding of our financial system and being able to apply uncomplicated and rudimentary economic theory to their thought process.
I do indeed hope that the next time one of my former students is torn between purchasing that can of coke OR putting that dollar towards their higher education, they think of Game Theory Academy’s lessons and make a positive incremental change. On top of hearing of the positive economic decisions they end up making, it is also just as rewarding to witness the huge grins on the students’ faces on the last day of class when they get paid!
My next class starts in mid September. Call Dillon at (510) 463-4043 to register.
Dale Wannen is President of Sustainvest Asset Management, an investment advisory firm focused on sustainable and responsible investing (SRI). Dale has an MBA in Sustainable Management from Presidio Graduate School in San Francisco. He earned a B.A. in Economics from Rowan University and currently is a volunteer with Mentor Me Petaluma, Rebuilding Together Petaluma, and the founder of Green Drinks Petaluma. Dale is an avid fans of birds and has been known to almost get into car accidents due to his constant staring out the window searching for the next unknown species.